How To Compost On a Small Scale

Composting on a Small Scale

Spring flowers in a container garden fertilized with compost

We’ve talked about composting before, but compost is so vital to healthy plants and beautiful gardens that we are going to talk about it- again.

This time, however, we are going to talk about composting on a small scale.  Many of us in Galveston do not have a large yard, if any, so a large composting bin or pile will not work.  At my home on Winnie Street, there is no soil to dig in, it is all concrete.  So, I have container gardens and a container compost bin. So, if you find yourself in a small gardening situation or even an apartment, this method will work for you.

The average kitchen produces plenty of green matter for a compost pile.  Green matter is fresh vegetation that is high in nitrogen.  Fallen leaves and old newspaper or boxes provide plenty of brown matter.  If you are using paper or cardboard, the smaller you tear or shred it, the better.  The brown matter is dried vegetation that is high in carbon.

What I use for my container is a large plastic pot that housed an ornamental tree from the nursery.  When I first began the compost bin, I layered leaves 2-3 inches thick with kitchen scraps about 1 inch thick then topped with another layer of brown matter.  You want a lot more brown matter than green matter.  I wet this down and left it alone.  In a few days, I stirred it.  If it got dry, I watered it.  My pot does have a few holes in the bottom so that it drains.  Given time, the ingredients break down and look like black soil.

There are a lot of myths about compost.  If your compost smells, you are doing it wrong.  Add more dry brown matter to the pile to correct the smell.  Rodents are not attracted to a compost pile unless you are adding meat scraps or cooked food- which you shouldn’t do.

Regardless of the size of your garden, compost is essential. Feeding plants is crucial to their health, all soil can be depleted regardless of the type of gardening that you are doing. In a container, the soil can be depleted much faster than in a garden bed. So, adding compost is a great way to feed the soil in a container garden.

Composting also keeps garbage out of the landfills. By converting your kitchen scraps such as vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds, and egg shells into black gold for your flowers and plants, you are helping the environment in so many ways.

There are many other ways of composting, including vermicomposting, but a simple bucket and some old leaves will get it going. You can also turn your compost into the best liquid fertilizer- compost tea.

As I have created gardens and grown all manner of plants for over a decade, people always ask how I get the great results.

COMPOST is the answer.

Here are some of the results:

Do not spread the compost on the weeds.”

William Shakespeare- Hamlet

Compost does make things grow, but thankfully weeds detest fertile soil. So, the more compost you use the more fertile your soil and the less

weeds you will have. Beautiful!

Here are some common kitchen items that make GREAT compost:

  • eggshells
  • vegetable trimmings
  • coffee grounds
  • old coffee
  • old tea
  • newspaper
  • paper towels
  • tea bags
  • old lettuce from the drawer of your refrigerator
  • any old veggies from the drawer of your refrigerator
  • banana peelings
  • paper egg cartons

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Holly K. Ross, where happily ever after is a way of life. Writer on Galveston Island
, ga

Book Release! Compliments to the Chef is LIVE!

Compliments to the Chef is LIVE on Amazon- Action Romance Holly K. Ross Island Inspired Writer

Today is the DAY! Compliments to the Chef is live and available at Amazon. It is a Kindle book but you don’t have to own a kindle to read it. The Kindle App is free and will work on any device such as a phone, laptop, or tablet. Just download the app and you can search by my name, Holly K. Ross.

I love romance, a good love story, a good story, and a happy ending. This book is all of those things. The world is filled with angst and anxiety, my books are not. There is danger, but strong men and women face the danger, trust each other, and love wins. This is what makes a great story, a great love story, and the best kind of romance. Of course, every one gets a happily ever after.

As with most all my writing, it is island inspired. Regan LaRue is BOI (born on the island) in Galveston. She heads off to the University of Texas in Austin on a golf scholarship. She chose Austin because the city had the same vibe as Galveston along with great music and food- just like Galveston. She then passes on the MBA route for culinary school. Running her own business is her passion which leads her to cross paths with Chance Blakely- an easy going, pretty boy, lobbyist- at least that is what Regan thinks he is, and he is, but he is also more.

There are fireworks as his Alpha male ways clash with her fierce independent streak. With four older brothers and a father, she knows just how to handle an Alpha male. He blows it up more than once, but his comebacks are legendary.

Love wins and it is one fun ride.

It was tough wrapping up this book because I knew that I wouldn’t get to hang out with these people that I love every day. I know I sound weird, but if you hate for a book to end because you will miss the characters, trust me, the writer gets just as attached. But, I am so delighted to share them with you!

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So What Happens When You Write A Book?

So many things and, at the same time, not so much. Compliments to the Chef goes live on Friday and once I completed the editing and formatting there isn’t much to do. Except marketing- which is super important because if no one knows the book is out there, how can they buy it? But still, compared to the huge amount of work that went into writing 66 thousand words, it doesn’t feel like much.

Compliments to the Chef- Book #2 in The Pride of Galveston Series- action romance
https://www.amazon.com/Compliments-Chef-Millionaire-Pride-Galveston-ebook/dp/B08VGDHXX4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=holly+k.+ross&qid=1620136321&sr=8-1 You can pre-order now!

Once Friday comes, I will stalk the reports page at Amazon for about a week by then I will be engrossed in the next WIP (work in progress) and I will only be checking the reports page about once per month.

Of course, the process for me is different because I am self-publishing and I am very NEW to the whole process. I know there are other platforms so research is on my list of things to do and I am working on learning how to go with the paperback. Honestly, but the time Hard Thunder, the second book in the Hard Company Security Series, is out- my process will be completely different.

The learning curve is actually part of the fun for me, I like challenges and I like learning new things. So, improving my process and my marketing are pieces of this business I actually like.

What I do NOT like is editing! As I mentioned, this book is 66,000 words- I have read these words at least twenty-five times. I think I have just about memorized the whole freaking book. I have an editor in my daughter and she is so great. She has read the book that many times, as well. It’s not even her favorite genre. As the business grows, I will hire a professional who does this for a living and Savannah will be very grateful.

You know what I learned through editing this book? I never spell the word caramel correctly- LIKE NEVER. Spell check catches it every time. It just did when I typed it out in the previous sentence. So, its always a learning process and that is a good thing.

In a nutshell, here is how it goes:

  • Write the Rough Draft
  • Re-write
  • Re-write
  • Edit
  • Edit
  • Edit
  • Edit
  • Edit
  • Promote
  • Publish
  • Promote

It’s very simple, and yet it is not.

I have heard some say that writers hide behind the pen. This is such a lie. Writing reveals who the writer is, what they dream of, what they love, how their mind works- a writer is very exposed when they publish their work. That is what makes it hard to hit the publish button or the submit button if you are submitting it to an agent or publishing house.

I love this process. I love writing. I enjoy writing my books as much as I enjoy reading books- this surprised me. I will keep writing my happy books with happy endings and I hope you enjoy reading them!

When you do read them, please leave a review on my website, Amazon, or Goodreads- even better, leave a review at all three. Even if it is just once sentence.

I write the characters I love meeting in real life. They are never boring.

just don’t be an idiot. if her love was tough to win, i assure you her forgiveness is harder

JmStorm

Chance had to learn this the hard way. Love wins, but the fireworks along the way are spectacular!

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Write about what interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things
and nothing

My Biggest Fan- Restoring Home

Who’s your biggest fan?

Do you know who mine is? My husband.

He is my biggest fan and relentless supporter and I am his.

For me, being his biggest fan is easy. Tony is Mr. Steady, he rarely finds himself in a bad mood and his continual optimism is inspiring.

Me? I am a hot mess most of the time. And yet, he focusses on my strengths and praises me. He is convinced there is not a better writer, mother, wife on the planet.

You should be your spouse's biggest fan. Restoring Home, Marriage, and Love
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This means the WORLD to me. I struggled this past weekend. I had a writing deadline (which I met) and this had me in a funk. Not because I was behind and there was too much pressure. I thrive under pressure, I was struggling because of the onslaught of self-doubt that comes every time I meet a goal and whenever my work is about to be published. I get sideways and have a hard time picking up a pen or typing a sentence. This sort of behavior in its various forms has been present my whole adult life.

But, does my husband roll his eyes or tell me to get over it?

No, he tells me how brilliant I am. He focuses on my strengths and loves me through it. He accepts me the way I am and pushes me to believe in myself and to keep pursuing my goals and dreams.

I pray to God, that I am the same for him.

This world is nasty and mean, we have an enemy whose ONLY purpose and goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. Our home should be the safe harbor in the storm. Everyone in your home should feel safe, loved, and encouraged.

So, be your spouse’s biggest fan and relentless supporter.

If you are sitting there thinking that there is nothing to praise or support- you aren’t looking hard enough.

If you both go at each other like you are each other’s worst enemy- go get help. You are destroying your marriage and your kids. Grow up, stop seeking the drama and get help with breaking the dysfunctional cycle.

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 18:20-21

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18-19

We have the power to build a happy marriage, well-adjusted kids, and a happily ever after and that power is in the words we use.

We have the power to wreck our marriage, destroy our kids, and trash our happily ever after and that power is in the words we use.

Watch your mouth!

Watch Your Mouth! Be careful with your words in your marriage. Speak kindly to your husband, wife. Holly K. Ross
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Kind words are like honey, marriage, romance, love, happily ever after
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Where to Eat in Galveston- Koop’s BBQ Kitchen and Catering

Wow, this place is so freaking good and so far from “normal”! Yes, they serve mouthwatering BBQ but that is just the beginning. But whatever they are throwing down, I am picking up- and then stuffing in my mouth.

Hamburger from Koop's BBQ Kitchen & Catering. Great food in Galveston TX, Holly K. Ross. Galveston Island
Cheeseburger from Koop’s BBQ Kitchen & Catering. Great food in Galveston TX,

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Harriet Van Horne

You can tell that the folks at Koop’s love this food they serve! Everything is made from scratch and you can’t beat the flavors. Not only will you have a huge selection of BBQ in various forms such as tacos, lasagna, sandwiches and more, but on certain days you can find crab and shrimp mac & cheese, chicken spaghetti, and whatever else comes out of the creative minds and talented cooks at Koop’s.

There are two things you need to know:

#1- If you are offered Bacon Jam- say YES!

#2- Come early because they sell out fast- EVERYDAY

Seriously, they do sell out of the day’s specials but they do allow you to call ahead. The best way to keep up with what is available for the day is to follow them on Facebook.

These folks are fun and they make great food. You can beat the local food scene and Koop’s is definitely a star on the island.

Koop’s is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and open from 11:00 am to 4:00pm Tuesday- Saturday. You won’t be disappointed when you put this local eatery on your list.

As I said, you can call ahead and place your order. The only thing better than their BBQ is eating it on the beach which is just a few blocks away.

Koop’s BBQ Kitchen & Catering- 409-539-0059, 1110 Tremont, Galveston, TX 77550

For more good eats in Galveston, go to Texas Travels.

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The Garden That Love Planted

We all want someone who loves us this way.

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What is a Home?

What is a home?

What makes a house a home?  That question may be slightly different for each family, but it is the family that is essential to the home.  The structure could burn down, but the home would survive in the family that took it with them to the new location.

Home is much more than bricks, wood, or mortgage payments.  It is atmosphere, memories, unspoken or unwritten rules, it is essential.  Think about what you remember about your home growing up- you may have concrete memories of activities but those memories are wrapped in emotions.  That is the crucial key- emotions, atmosphere, the spirit of the place.  Was it a loving home, a home filled with fear, a home filled with laughter?  If your home was not a happy one, the good news it that you get a second chance.  You did not get to choose the home your were born in to, but you do get to choose the home you have now.  Now, you get to make your house a home and choose what you want to fill it with- laughter, happiness, good food, warm aromas and certainly the Spirit and peace of God.

To help women understand and to encourage them to make their house a home has been a long time passion for me.  Not that I have all the answers or make no mistakes, but I was fortunate to have a full time mother in my home growing up and she taught me many invaluable lessons.  I took those and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  improved upon them and set out to create a home in which my children could hear God speak, could be safe and free to be themselves, and would make many happy memories to look back on when they left home.  Not every home has children in it. Children are not what makes a house a home; however, if they are in the home they become a huge focus for as long as they are in your care.  The most essential element in the making of a home is the marriage.  If the marriage is not healthy, the home will not be, either.

Beginning with the end in mind is probably my mantra. If you want a marriage that stood the test of time, you must begin that journey with the mind set necessary to last the journey. If you want your children to leave home with a certain skill set or mind set or both, you have to begin parenting them when they are toddlers with those attributes that you desire in mind.  So that is what I did, I sought God and what he had in mind for my children and that is where I began.  Now, my four kids are 21, 19, 13, & 11.  I am seeing the fruit of all of our hard work- my husband is most certainly very involved- and it is good.  So, I desire to share what worked for me, what did not, & the lessons I learned as we have been on this journey.

Today, I am updating this post as I turn it from a page to a post. I love what I wrote 6 years ago. Those four kids are now 27, 25, 21, & 19. Two are fantastic mothers and business owners, one is about to graduate and go on to law school and one is currently beginning boot camp to become a United States Marine. What I have written is standing the test of time.

I pray that you will find the information in the pages and articles helpful, informative, and inspiring and I also hope you will laugh at the funny parts!  Without a sense of humor- life, marriage, & parenting will eat you up and spit you out!

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Talk About It! The Biggest Hurdle in a Marriage

On this Marriage Monday, I want to talk about the biggest hurddle you have had to overcome in your marriage.

For me and my love, it has been communication. I am betting, that this has been yours. Even if wasn’t THE biggest hurdle, I can guarantee it was key to you overcoming that hurdle. Communication is key when building a marriage and probably the most challenging aspect early on.

With us, it wasn’t even that one of us didn’t want to communicate, it was that we didn’t understand the other’s communication style. Every person comes from a nuclear family- even if they spent the majority of their childhood in the foster system. That nuclear family, for better or for worse, defined how that person communicated. Mostly, the ways of communication are defined by all the unwritten rules.

The unwrittten rules of communication.

Those little devils can really make communication hard. Its been said that the devil is in the details and the unwritten rules of communication are the details.

Think about it. For those of you that grew up with your mom in the house, what did it mean when she huffed? I know exactly what it means when my mother huffs. I have a whole vocabulary of sighs that my kids and my husband understand. However, a stranger would have no idea.

But this is what we bring into our marriage with us.

In my family, we communicated loud. Like all the time. If you wanted to be heard at a family gathering, you had to be louder than the person sitting next to you. I am telling you, it is an introvert’s nightmare. I married an introvert. I thought for a long time, that he hated my family. He didn’t, he just needed a nap- but that is a topic for another post!

So, in the beginning Tony would say “Stop yelling” and I was like, “I am not yelling. Would you like me to yell so that you can see the difference?” Tony on the other hand is a man of few words. I had to learn what his body language meant. After 28 years, I am pretty good. I still miss it sometimes, so I am still a fan of using your words.

Another example of different communication styles is the phrasing that is used. Tony, being a laid back guy who is, well, nice- would aske me, “Are you ready to go?” To this I would reply, “Yes” or “No”. In the early years this caused problems because in his mind, he just told me he was ready to go. In my mind- he asked me a question. Where I came from, I watched all the men in my family walk in and say, “I am ready to go.” I thought all men did it that way. So, we had to hash that out in the car.

As time went on, I still expected him to be more direct, but I also realized that that wasn’t his way. I needed and loved the steady love he gave me, with that came an indirect approach to communication. I choose to acknowledge that when he aske me if I was ready to go, that he was politely telling me that he was ready. I then showed him love and respect by leaving then, or at least communicating when I would be ready.

It’s funny, but because he didn’t grow up with direct communication- everything that was said had underlying meanings- he didn’t take what I said as what I meant. Trust me- I don’t know any other way to be. If I don’t want to have a conversation or I want to avoid conflict- I just don’t say anything or I make noises of agreement. I don’t speak in veiled meanings because I don’t know how. Now, learning how to phrase things so that it doesn’t sound like you are attacking the other person is important.

How something is said is just as important as what is said when you are communicating with your spouse.

Regardless of where you came from, learning to communicate in your marriage is essential.

On marriagetoday.com, Jimmy Evans shares this:

That’s how you overcome conflicts: You talk through them. Talk about money. Talk about sex. Talk about parenting issues. One study showed that 86 percent of divorced couples admitted they had communication problems in their marriages.

https://marriagetoday.com/the-six-levels-of-communication-in-marriage/

86% of divorces might could have been avoided if they had learned how to communicate. If you are having trouble in your marriage, get some help. There are a plethora of articles online to help improve communication. Apply what you know from communicating with people at work to your spouse. If you wouldn’t call your coworker an idiot, then don’t call your spouse and idiot. If you wouldn’t tell your boss that he was the biggest loser you ever met, don’t tell that to your spouse.

Sometimes, communication is hard because we think we should get to say whatever we want to our spouse. We don’t. That person we promised to love and cherish to death do us part should get the best of what we have to offer- especially our words.

So, what has been your biggest hurdle to overcome in your marriage?

My Leading Man

Every writer has to have an inspiration, a muse, or archetype from which they draw. Because I am an incurable romantic, I write romance. In real life, I WANT everyone to get that happily ever after.

When it comes to the leading man in a story- regardless of the genre- I am only drawn to an Alpha male. I have absolutely no use for anything less. Power is a tricky thing, but one thing that it always is is attractive. I truly believe that is the appeal of a uniform, it represents power and strength.

Now, here is where we get into arguments. So many assume that an Alpha male is a bully, a brute, or abusive. Many book reviews I have read stated that they did not like the male lead characters because they were Alphas and Alphas were toxic. Here is where they are wrong. A true Alpha is a leader, a protector, a warrior, and a good guy. I wouldn’t follow anything less and I wouldn’t trust my future to anything less. This also means, that I wouldn’t write anything less.

Those men that are bullies, brutes, and abusive are actually weak men who act out loudly. They don’t have what it takes to lead and let others around them succeed so they beat them down either emotionally, physically, mentally or all of these above. This is not strength. A fearful man is just as dangerous. A man who shrinks back in fear cannot be trusted to protect or fight for what is important.

I have had the pleasure of being married to an Alpha male for nearly 30 years. When we met, I had a lot of unhealed wounds. He was the safe place for me to heal. He loved me as I was, took my anger (even when he wasn’t the reason I was angry), let me be myself without criticizing who I was. He even took the physical punches I threw, but not for long because he wouldn’t tolerate abusive behaviors. He never raised a hand to me but he scared me good and I never hit him again. That is what an Alpha looks like.

I have also raised an Alpha male. I have seen how the heart of a warrior develops by watching it emerge early on and seeing what it looks like through each stage. My son has a very different personality from my husband, but their hearts are the same.

There is a misconception that Alpha males don’t feel deeply or get attached. This is so wrong. They do feel deeply. They are loyal. They are driven. They love deeply, so deeply that they would sacrifice their own safety or life in order to protect what is theirs and who they love. I have watched Tony do whatever was necessary to ensure that our children had what they needed and I have never had to wonder if I was loved.

Because of their strength of character, they aren’t afraid to get physical. Both my husband and my son will settle an argument with their fists- if it’s needed. However, it is rarely needed. I feel safe knowing that if anything went down, my husband will take care of me. Honestly, I could be as wrong and wrong could be and Tony would defend me. We might have a serious talk when we got home, but he will have my back no matter what.

So, it is easy to see where I get my inspiration for the leading men I write. In each and every one of them, there is a piece of Tony Ross. The characters have different personalities, but that warrior heart is the same. My characters talk a lot more than my husband, so much of what he says is in what he doesn’t say.

He also isn’t very reactive. This is a good thing because I am VERY reactive. But in a good story, people need to react. So, I write scenes that would cause Tony to react. This means that the love interests gets physically attacked or threatened, and/or quite often shot at- but nobody dies because in my world everyone gets the happily ever after.

Everyman needs a battle to fight and beauty to rescue- these are the men I write. I simply write him again and again and thank God that every night I sleep next to Tony Ross.

Don’t let that easy going smile and quiet personality fool you, mess with me or one of his children and he will rain down hell.

I adore him.

A Marine For Christmas- Cover Reveal

As I promised, this is the over reveal!

Well, sort of-

I have two covers and you get to vote on your favorite!

#1

#2

Leave your choice in the comments!