Where’s Walnut?

Some of you may have been wondering what has happened to Black Walnut Dispatch over these last few months. Why so few posts? Has Mary been ill? Has she been writing a book? Has she been involved in some amazing new garden project?

Loyal reader, I shall now reveal to you the reasons for my blogging negligence. Without further ado, here is what I have actually been doing lately instead of blogging:

When I first started my blog, the hours between 8:30pm (when Junior retires) and 12am were my prime writing hours. Many a sleepy evening I spent at my keyboard, snoring dog at my feet, composing “fresh content” and snacking on carb-based foods.

Lately, though, rather than writing, I have opted for an hour of reading followed by sweet, sweet sleep. Occasionally I have even managed to have brief, drowsy conversations with my husband in the evenings:

*yawn* whtrrruridng?


I said what are you reading?

Oh, this new *yawn* young adult dystopian action *yawn* romance thing….

Is it good?


I have to say, the extra shut-eye has been fantastic. I don’t even have to set an alarm. I wake up naturally with the sunrise, or occasionally when my husband knocks on the door and goes, “what are you doing? Don’t you have to get ready for work???”

The other thing I used to do was sneak in a little writing time during my lunch “hour” (25 min) at work. Then, during third period I would discreetly eat a banana and a pack of honey roasted peanuts as I delivered the day’s lesson. It was a great system, until I discovered that my co-workers are a delightful group of people to eat lunch with, and that a hot meal taken at mid-day is surprisingly rewarding.

Every once in awhile you just have to look around and take stock of your living quarters. Inevitably, your first thought will be “dear God, how did it get this bad?” and then you will either a) take out your frustration on whoever happens to be standing nearby, or b) go to the library and check out a bunch of cleaning/organizing/decorating books in the hopes that their mere presence in your home will somehow transform it.

A couple of months ago I chose the latter course of action, and so my weekends have been consumed by cleaning and house improvement projects rather than writing. So far I have deep-cleaned my living room, dining room, three bathrooms, and half of my family room. I am talking full-contact cleaning here — moving furniture, scrubbing baseboards, the works.

Guess how long it has stayed clean?

I will give you the answer: about 10 days.

Turns out there is a whole “maintenance” routine you are supposed to follow if you want to keep your house clean on a regular basis. It is outlined on pages 23-29 of Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, if you are interested.

All of this has led me to a Great Realization that I will now share with you. At age 41, I think I have finally discovered the secret to Actually Getting Everything Done That You Need and Want To.

That’s right, there is really only one way you can fulfill the commitments of your full-time job, take care of your kids/pets/spouse, keep your house clean and attractive, cook high quality meals, exercise, maintain friendships, and devote time to your hobbies and passions. The answer is….


Yes, I’ve decided that the only way I can possibly summon the energy to manage all of the above PLUS my blog is to develop a full-on drug habit that gives me 24/7 mind-blowing energy…but, since I have heard that drug use can lead to unexpected consequences, I probably won’t risk it.

Instead, something will have to be sacrificed. Sleep? Lunch with co-workers? Clean bathrooms? I don’t know.

But I miss writing. Expect more Dispatches from Black Walnut in the New Year!

25 thoughts on “Where’s Walnut?

  1. One of my little blog reading pet peeves is when someone doesn’t post for a week or so and then comes back with an over-the-top apology for being a bad blogger and promises to post at least twelve times a week forevermore. As if their lack of posting was somehow making everyone of their readers lives miserable. This however was very entertaining!

  2. Cocaine is fine if you are some sort of urban sophisticate, but if you are more suburban or rural, I hear methamphetimine is the thing. Also perfect if you are Amish and on Rumspringa. Isn’t it funny how you blog to talk about the things you DO, and before too long the blogging is also something you must do? Maybe a hobby would help you get away from your other activities and responsibilities. Yes, definitely a hobby…get yourself some Mary time.

    • Thanks. I will put “look into meth” on my to-do list. I agree that blogging is tricky because it can be very gratifying but then there comes a point where it feels like a chore. All the good things in life have a price, though, don’t they?

      • From what I hear from my local constabulary, methamphetamine is very popular in my parts, both on the manufacturing side and the retail, and is also somehow related to mail theft. Still, I have been working very, very hard to get up to my winter weight; so hard I may have to ‘look into meth’ myself. Or cut out the chocolate-dipped-peanut-butter-stuffed-Bugles, and that “splash” of organic eggnog in my morning French Roast. Or stop lurking about your blog and get back to work customizing my forest.

  3. You mean speed. Cocaine. Not a good option, either.

    Winter is for hibernation, Mary. Don’t fight nature. I, for one, have been assiduously re-reading garden magazines, ripping out articles of interest for the ideas file (which is currently a teetering pile on the edge of the tub). I can proudly state I am up to the turn of the century – and did you know they were still ads for Kodak film in 2000?

    -Naomi http://www.verdantlandscapes.com

  4. Remember the wise words of she who has departed: “Crack is whack.”

    I feel you on everything you said in your post. Blogging, cleaning, and especially sleeping has fallen by the wayside for me, too. I recently read an article in Smithsonian about sleep that shows just how important it is to sleep regularly.


  5. I’m so glad you cut back. Even though a stranger, I was amazed and a little concerned with the quantity of your output and I didn’t know you had a full time job. Take life in small bites and chew very slowly. Twenty years will pass more quickly than you can imagine.

  6. You are a hoot! I truly enjoy your sense of humor and this was a gem! Sometimes life eats you up, but make room for eating life! Whatever that means :)) I look forward to your next post. Thank you for a light under the leaf! Linda

  7. Personally, I turn to Pinterest to keep my home lovely and organized.

    (My teenagers used to claim that we only had them to do all the work — this is because at the end of meals we would ask them to take their dishes to the dishwasher.)

    Enjoy your blogging break and Happy New Year!

  8. You show your true innocence when it comes to narcotics, Mary. Admirable ignorance. I could have named the uppers, myself.
    My dirty-house syndrome was such a downer that I sucked it up and hired a pro. Cheaper than therapy, right?

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