Island Life: Thistles and Nettles and Vines, Oh My

We have a deer fence on our property, which encloses the house, the front lawn and garden (and part of the pond), the back lawn and garden, and what I like to call the “back forty.”

The back forty is a sort of no-man’s land, worst of both worlds: unplanted, un-landscaped, yet also un-nibbled by deer; a protected area of…well, thistles and nettles and vines, as it happens. Never intended to be part of the garden, as far as we can tell. It’s kind of steep, and the soil is kind of sandy, and it’s where the septic tank vents are, and (until we had a tree cut down) it was pretty shady. In short, just an ugly mess.

It wasn’t so bad when we first moved here, four years ago. Clearly, the previous owners had at least kept it mowed. There’s a wonderful hammock at the edge of the field, strung between a couple of tall cedar trees. Nice weeds grow too, here and there: bracken ferns and foxglove and wild strawberries and a local geranium.

But, four years of complete neglect will really take its toll. So a few weeks ago, I decided to do something about it.

More words and lots more pictures at my website!

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About Shannon Page

Shannon Page is a Pacific Northwest author and editor. Her work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Interzone, Fantasy, Black Static, Tor.com, and many anthologies, including the Australian Shadows Award-winning Grants Pass, and The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. Books include The Queen and The Tower and A Sword in The Sun, the first two books in The Nightcraft Quartet; novel Eel River; story collection Eastlick and Other Stories; personal essay collection I Was a Trophy Wife; Orcas Intrigue, Orcas Intruder, and Orcas Investigation, the first three books in the cozy mystery series The Chameleon Chronicles, in collaboration with Karen G. Berry under the pen name Laura Gayle; and Our Lady of the Islands, co-written with the late Jay Lake. Our Lady received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014, and was a finalist for the Endeavour Award. Forthcoming books include Nightcraft books three and four; a sequel to Our Lady; and more Orcas mysteries. Edited books include the anthology Witches, Stitches & Bitches and the essay collection The Usual Path to Publication. She practices yoga, gardens, and has no tattoos.

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