Our own personal gateway to Faerie

Our neighbors are very Steppford Wives when it comes to the ornamental horticulture in the subdivision. They get upset if people don’t edge their lawns and water them during dry spells; everything’s very homogeneously landscaped and tamed within an inch of its photosynthesized life. I prefer a more wilderness approach to flora. I suspect if our neighbors ever looked into our backyard, they’d be scandalized. fosteronfilm keeps the front and sides scrupulously mowed, and the walking bits of the back likewise sheered, but we have a section of our backyard that we let grow as it will. It’s hidden by a six foot privacy fence, so it shouldn’t bother any of our neighbors unless they’re being nosy (which I suspect happens). We love the secluded view it gives from our kitchen windows. The sylvan glade-esque ambiance makes it feel like we’re nestled in the middle of a deep forest. It’s a soothing vista that has inspired a number of my stories.

This is the view to the right. Past the sapling thingy and the white picket fence (yes, we have a white picket fence), it gets more cultivated, but it’s still pretty lush–there be wild blackberries.

I think of the shadowed area right beneath those three trees in the background as our portal into Faerie, where pixies and hobs come from who want to play with Hobkin. For anyone who’s read “The Storyteller’s Wife,” this is what inspired Janie’s backyard toadstool ring. Next winter I’m making Matthew remove the garish thermometer (installed by the previous owner) as it’s totally wrong. But we can’t get to it easily during the green season.

And here’s Hobkin eating a hardboiled egg. It’s only an occasional treat food. He loves “egg days.” Tends to get a bit messy, though.

Writing Stuff

Got my check from H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror for “Within Your Soul I Sightless See.” Yay! Need to make a bank run.

Also got a rejection from Cricket for a reworked concept they’d rejected before, but suggested they might look at again if I wanted to re-visit it. Bummed at not making the sale, of course, but my Cricket editor always has such nice things to say: “. . .we editors couldn’t keep ourselves from commenting, again, on how well you write.” Takes the sting right out. And she reads my blog!

But now I really need to get myself in gear on the folktale rewrite so I can send it out to Cricket ASAP. Toward that end, I rolled up my sleeves and went through all of the Critters critiques. My wingstubs started aching just from cutting and pasting them all into a Word document! Wrote thank you notes too, but only made a dent in them. Decided it would be better to save my keyboard time for actual writing rather than polite gestures of etiquette. Hoping to have the rewrite done and the manuscript out the door by *checks calendar . . . Monday’s a holiday, so . . .* Saturday. Or Tuesday.

New words: Editing. Many passes.

Club 100 For Writers
(Starting over again. WAH!)

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32 Responses to Our own personal gateway to Faerie

  1. Yes, very lovely! And what a great editor at Cricket too 🙂

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Thanks! And yes, I adore my Cricket editor. She’s a joy to work with. She’s also the one that gave me my “big break.” My first fiction sale ever was to Cicada, which she’s also the editor for.

      • jimhines says:

        Any idea how long those Cicada responses should run? I’ve had one there since December.

        Love the backyard! Any time you feel like branching out, you’re more than welcome to come landscape ours 🙂

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Any idea how long those Cicada responses should run?

          Erm, according to my logs, the average response time for my submissions to the Cricket group folks is 112 days, although the range goes from as short as 32 to as long as 222 days.

          Love the backyard! Any time you feel like branching out, you’re more than welcome to come landscape ours

          Hee! I have such a black thumb! As soon as I start trying to cultivate and pamper anything green, it dies. But if I just leave them alone to do as they will, they thrive.

  2. dean13 says:

    Ah, wilderness!

    I hope that patch of overgrown forest beyond your backyard is still there. As I recall the wild things where reclaiming a small shack hidden in that thicket, safe from the meddling hands of your Stepford Wive neighbors.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Yep, it’s still there. I love looking out and seeing all the trees behind our fence. And the shack’s still there too, although I believe a homeless man was squatting in there for a couple days a few months back, which had the neighbors in a tizzy. I didn’t care, except I was concerned the roof might come down on him as it’s not exactly a structurally sound construct.

  3. sartorias says:

    Faerie indeed! I LOVE that forest!

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Thanks! I’m not normally a big outdoorsy type, being allergic to just about everything, but I absolutely adore our backyard, even the stagnant koi pond (otherwise known as the mosquito-breeding cesspool) that’s on the other side of the picket fence. A turtle hibernated in it one winter before going on his way in the spring, and I went out to gaze at him floating serenely throughout the season. I hope he ate a lot of mosquito larvae before he left . . .

  4. grommie says:

    Yay Hobkin! I’m sorry, I love your skunk. The elfin grove is lovely and all, but – skunky eggy cuteness! Squee!

    Side question: do skunks need their nails clipped like ferrets do? Does putting something on the belly work?

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Oh most definitely, skunks need their nails clipped! But it’s much harder to trim Hobkin’s nails than it ever was the ferrets’. Skunkie nails are thicker and larger than a ferret’s, and there’s a deeper quick. I’ve nicked Hobkin several times (which makes me feel absolutely terrible), and I very rarely ever did that with the ferrets. And putting something on his tummy so does not work. He gets frantic trying to reach the goodie on his belly, and thinks that by restraining his paws, you’re trying to keep him from it. I think it’s because skunks use their front paws to hold their food, so they associate their paws with eating. Or something.

      I’m also the only one that can manage it with Hobkin. If Matthew even tries to help, Hobkin snarls and struggles frantically to get away. But if I just pick Hobkin up, grab a paw, and start clipping, he lets me know he doesn’t like it, but is putting up with it because he loves his mommy. But man, I’m so owing him a cookie when it’s over!

  5. Oh, your backyard is beautiful!! I want to come over and play. 😉

  6. Your backyard is lovely and I’m always up for more skunk photos! 🙂

  7. aimeempayne says:

    The view from your window reminds me of home! Unfortunately, we do not have that much wilderness in our yard, but we tend to be a little more wild within the confines of our designated areas than is the custom in our neighborhood. We don’t have a HOA, though.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      I really wish we didn’t have a HOA! It wouldn’t be so bad, but the louder, more meddlesome members really need to get a hobby or something. They spend far too much time worrying about other people’s yards. Sheesh.

  8. kaoslyon says:

    Wow… and I thought ‘ and my backyard was a bit wild. That is gorgeous.

  9. keesa_renee says:

    Oh, Eugie, it’s lovely! Makes me want to put up pictures of my own “backyard” (no yard about it; we live in the middle of the woods) but I have no clue how it’s done. I’ll just have to enjoy your pictures. And lovely pictures they are, too…and that’s where the toadstool-ring-inspiration is. 🙂 I love it!

    Too bad about the story rejection, but hopefully the check from the other magazine took a little of the sting out.

    So…for this Club 100, do you have to sign up somewhere or can you just commit to doing it and keep track of it day by day?

    • Eugie Foster says:

      You live in a real woods? How wonderful! Do you get wildlife? We see a decent number of birds, the occasional stray cat, and the rare squirrel, but I’ve often wished we might get larger beasties, like deer and raccoons. Unfortunately, the fence, (and the suburb location undoubtedly) keeps them out. I do value our privacy fence, but it has its trade-offs.

      So…for this Club 100, do you have to sign up somewhere or can you just commit to doing it and keep track of it day by day?

      You can join the Yahoo group (click on where I link to it in my post), or you can just commit to it and keep track of it however you like. I joined the group, and some of the members post status reports to keep themselves motivated, but I stopped having them send me group emails when my intray became too unwieldy to handle the luxury of casual online community postings. I find it just as motivating to simply keep track of my progress on my LJ. Join us Keeeeeeesaaaa . . . you know you want to!

      • keesa_renee says:

        Oh, yes! We have our share (more than our share?) of deer, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, flying squirrels, and possums; besides those, I’ve seen raccoon footprints in the mud after a rain; supposedly there are bobcats in the area (I’ve never seen them, but a neighbor has) and once I saw a gray fox darting across the driveway. Then, of course, there’s a pantheon of wading birds, most noticeably Thomas, the great blue heron. And I can’t forget the hawks, the eagle, and the osprey.

        Club 100 it is, then! That should be fun.

        • Eugie Foster says:

          I’m so envious of your wildlife! I’ve never even seen a flying squirrel in real life, and I adore possums! I love the black around their eyes. It’s so sad that the majority of the ones I’ve seen are dead beside the road. And you’ve got wild foxes too? *squee*

          • keesa_renee says:

            Flying squirrels are cute. They’re tiny, little furry things with eyes too big for their heads. They’re also destructive, especially when they live in your roof; our insulation is a shambles, and the whole ceiling needs to be redone from where they’ve chewed and ripped and made messes. Personally, I think they’re a lot cuter out in the trees. 🙂

            Both foxes and coyotes, which I forgot to mention in my comment; to me who’s never heard a real wolf, the coyotes sometimes sound like wolves at night. It’s very cool!

  10. anaparenna says:

    I love wilderness landscaping, especially with native Texas flora. I love going to quiet, long-established neighborhoods around here where the occupants have 100 year-old Texas oaks, ivy, and let green things grow. I also like the secluded feel of it all, and the little treats of hidden benches, fountains and etc that people scatter throughout. There is something very magical about these private glades — much like yours.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      I totally agree. So many times, the newer area are so impeccably groomed, sculpted, and planned that all the majesty of nature is sucked right out. It’s why I love our house so much. It has all the “modern” architecture features I want–vaulted ceiling, great room layout, etc–but the builders left enough of the established trees and plant life around when they erected the subdivision to give the illusion of wilderness.

  11. nojojojo says:

    Beautiful. Do you ever let Hobkin out into it?

    • Eugie Foster says:

      I’m afraid not. He won’t tolerate a harness and leash, and I’m worried he might startle at something and bolt away before I could stop him. Domesticated skunks aren’t known for either their homing ability or their wilderness survival instincts. He’s defenseless against predators like cats or dogs without his spray. We’re beside a road too, which can get fairly busy, so if he escaped, there’s a real danger he could be hit by a car–being both myopic and slow-moving. Plus there’s the concern about bringing fleas and tics in. I’ve carried him outside in my arms a couple times, but he hasn’t been particularly impressed by the big brightness and has always seemed relieved to be back inside where it’s comfy and safe. He’s a pampered house skunk. Inside he stays.

      • Eugie Foster says:

        Oops, I meant to add before I hit “post” that our fence has gaps in it. It’s secure enough to keep big animals out, but I don’t trust it enough to keep a determined skunk from escaping. Especially since skunks are such determined and efficient diggers.

  12. cricketshay says:

    I love it! Very pretty.

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