Dungeons and Dragons, gardening, Story Experiments

Fiction Snippets: Lothatio Part IV

Nobody knows much about Shairkash, which is odd, seeing as how his industry is trade and he’s the richest guy around. Still, he meets the criteria for shut-in, as he is so sly and cunning and slippery. You can have a conversation with him without ever looking into his eyes. How I long to wrap my hands around his neck.

His humble home lay at the center of Merchant Town, a disheveled two story piece surrounded by a collection of things. The plant life is really above board this year. The barrelstalks that line the streets of Merchant Town are full and pulsing and looking quite odd. Some street folk were sharing wine on a hammock and busking. I took a swig. Alfengrape wine. I threw a few gold their way, but nobody even noticed. They just stared despondently up at the skies, singing a hollow tune.

” The day is coming soon
The day we all turn blue…”

Before he became a sea trader, Shairkash was renowned for his gardening skills and made some of the most potent tinctures known on the sea. Many assume he settled here because he became too old to handle travel and used his connections at sea to create his estate. Though it’s right in the middle of the Sailor’s City, it is definitely his domain. Shairkash draws in the desperate and impoverished and once they get here, they never seem to leave. Barrelstalks provide plenty of water, glowing Alfengrapes are made into wine and light the streets at night, pomow grows everywhere, stoneshrooms gather under every soarwood tree, lish nut trees also abound. You would have to be dumb and lazy to go hungry in this place. Somewhere, shrouded in protective darkness, there is a field of Arkas grass that provides the majority of Shairkash’s income, as I understand it. The rest comes from goods he takes from his pile of wares and shines up, much of it custom attuned for the buyer.

When you enter Merchant Town, the vibe changes considerably. People on the street are listless and despondent. Everyone seems drunk and not particularly interested in anything, almost as if in a trance. The Bilge Rats (Murann’s sect of the Shadow Thieves’ Guild) won’t touch Shairkash for some reason. They are reluctant to touch anything on land. Still, everyone’s avoidance of him seems odd, as he is clearly parasitic to his own people here in this microcosm of scum and villany. As a lone traveler, I could sense a pack forming behind me as I made my way toward Junk Mansion. I could feel the hostility building in my newfound followers.

Finally reaching Shairkash Manor, I opened the gate. I barely caught the scent of telltale witchweed when an entire patch of choke mold just inside the gate released spores that rendered me immediately useless. Things went white, and then black.




( Plant information provided by:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?479663-Magical-Plants-and-Where-to-Find-them )

Book Review, gardening

Z’s Book Club: Groundbreaking Gardens by Niki Jabbour

My adventures carried me into gardening this year and now I have more starts than I have space (Seriously, if you want some summer squash, call me). I tried to garden as a child and always failed. This year’s success is a pleasant and welcome surprise and has led me to start planning a bigger, better garden for next year. I sold my entire library when I lost my home last year, including my dusty old gardening books. A search for inspiration led me to my local library, where I found this little ditty called Groundbreaking Food Gardens by Niki Jabbour, who is a gardening inspiration all by herself. She must have called all her friends in the industry and asked them to design an amazing garden for this book.

You could not ask for better advisors than those whose plans are featured in this book. There are 73 different plans, all from professional gardeners. These include award winning landscape designer Jessi Bloom, Roger Doiron (founder of Kitchen Gardens International), and Paul Zammit (Director of Horticulture at Toronto Botanical Garden). I mean it is just really cool to see the ideas of people who make their living growing things. Plans span from urban rooftop ideas to country garden plans complete with natural pest control strategies.

Particularly relevant to me were plans that included chickens. Jessi Bloom’s “Eggs and Everything” plan is brilliant. It provides versatility in free ranging and the blurb has a few great ideas for composting and making the most of your chickens’ amazing gardening abilities. The illustrations are clear and easily understood and each blurb contains golden nuggets of tried and true advice from some of the best in the business. I am in love!


Jessi Bloom’s “Eggs and Everything” design


Many plans also include composting options. From a natural comfrey tea tower that becomes the Keurig of compost tea, to a more traditional waste management program, there is something for everyone in this book. Whether you are a newbie like me or an old thumb looking for some inspiration from today’s great gardeners, Groundbreaking Gardens is worth a look. You will definitely learn something new and garner inspiration no matter what space you are working with, whether you are gardening for beauty, food, or both. This book is just fantastic and so is Niki Jabbour. She is an award winning author herself. Her book The Year Round Vegetable Gardener is a must read. She can also be found on twitter @NikiJabbour. I highly recommend her twitter if you have fallen in love with gardening. She is very supportive and inclusive of her fellow gardeners and her page is a wealth of information and inspiration.

Emma Cooper’s ingenius comfrey tea composting tower