Blogging is a Little Like Playing Chopped

Blogging is a little like that television/Netflix program: Chopped?

Did you every see Chopped? A bunch of chefs would line up and they each had a basket with weird ingredients in it and then, with the clock ticking and random badly behaved judges, (there purely for their entertainment value), the poor cooks had to make a meal from the mystery ingredients.

Those poor people took it all SO seriously!

It was on years ago and I remember watching it while visiting in California.

I was thinking that it emulated every night in my house where I pulled open the fridge door, walked into the gardens, dug about in the freezer and turned whatever I found into a meal. Applause!!

Banks of storm clouds rolling over the prairies.
Dark Storm clouds moving into dappled cloud  after a fine spring day.

Anyway – blogging is a bit like chopped. Sometimes (actually often but don’t tell) I wake up to begin my post with not one single useful thought in my head.

Then I open my basket of mystery images. And I look at the photos and they become the ingredients for a great blog post.


The weather is taking a nosedive – we are literally at the high for the day and it is 6.30 in the morning.

It’s all downhill from here. So no more wallows for a few days. We do not want chilly hogs.

Big Jude the Rescue Hog. Mature Berkshire. Digging in his wallow with his nose.
FreeBee the rescue hog. Mature Hereford Hog. Big Jude. Mature Hereford in back ground. Partial Stock trailer home to the side.


And it is Sunday.

What do you think Wai?

Wai, rescue pot belly. Head of pig. With roller and barn in background.
Rescue Pot Belly Pig Wai. With dog Boo, in front of small feed shed.  Old Barn to the left

Bed. Wai says, Back to bed! Breakfast then Bed with a good book, he says. OR, he lifts his head and looks in my direction; Bed and WRITE a good book. How about that, he says dropping his heavy head again and wandering off.

That pig.

Writing on SubStack

I am going to tell you very quietly – I have begun to write my stories on SubStack. This Monday will be my first real story. Every Monday will be a new piece of writing. This is brand new virgin territory for me. I am not even sure I have set it all up correctly but you know how I am!

My first series is Letters to My Mother. this link will hopefully take you to SubStack. (I always write better when I am writing TO someone which is why I love TKG because I am writing to YOU. So the first Act will be written to my mother who missed out on most of my life – she died young – poor lovey).

It will be chronological starting right at the beginning with The Beach stories, (otherwise know as The Early Years – snort). The chronological bit will be the hardest actually – we do not remember stuff in that kind of order.

It is a lovely rainy day today – perfect for writing Chapter ONE.

I will be writing stuff like this:

A Story.

This is a good way to corral all the stories into a series of documents – just in case a big shot publisher rides in on her dark horse and offers to publish me!

Which one of the TKG stories was your favorite so far? (TKG means The Kitchens Garden you will remember – my fingers get tired). Finding the stories I have written for you, here on TKG will be a mission in itself!

There is an option on SubStack for people to pay a subscription of $5 a month to read the stories and listen to the podcasts (soon). (Plus the Free option – not everyone has money to throw around you know).

I will leave a link here every Tuesday morning too.

Charlotte Rains Dixon writes on SubStack too – in fact it was her that introduced me to the platform. Do any of you write there?


Sometimes the High is the temperature that I watch sometimes it is the LOW.

Today is the Low. Tonight is going down to freezing so all the tomatoes and little seedlings have been brought back inside.

At lest they are all watered with the rain overnight.

Weather in Central Illinois April 16 2023.

Have a great day


PS It is Raining! Oops – no – false alarm.

38 Comments on “Blogging is a Little Like Playing Chopped

  1. All the rescue stories would be in my top ten, but also the arrival of Charlotte and Sheila …and of course Tima.

    • Oh that is interesting. The series I am writing now is more about living on the Beach as a kid. I love that you were drawn to the rescues. I will get those into the line up. Jude, and Wai.

  2. I love the rescue stories, too. You brought us right there each time, so we were heavily invested in the outcome of each situation. What a difference you made in each little, or not so little, life!

    • Good question. Such a good question.

      I am at a point in my journey as a writer where I am ready to take myself seriously and lock down a style and consistency in my writing. That is not dependent on the farm or location. Or my ‘brand’

      I have so many short stories and early days stories written that have no outlet.

      What good are unread words.

      See how I wrote this comment? All in short choppy form. A prime example of why I want to enable/retrain myself to get back to that long gorgeous sumptuous lilting writing again – I think Substack may be a good place for me to develop that. What do you think?

      I think setting a Monday deadline and maybe developing a small cadre of paying subscribers might enable me dig deep into long form writing.

      I will be launching there with only words – no pictures. I am taking my crutch out from under myself.

      I will develop a platform that is not dependent on the farm for subject matter. Or travel or sustainability. Athough all these will be corner stones.

      Plus there is the paid subscription option. The kitchens garden blog has always been free. And will remain so. Same with the Sustainable Home Newsletter.

      Which led me to look for a platform where readers expect to pay someone to write. I think it might be worth a cup of coffee a month?

      • Thank you for the thoughtful answer. This seems more a ‘writing for yourself’ venture. It will enable you to offload and store a lot of great memories. I think that is a very good thing. Sharing those with others is valuable. Maybe it can be of enough value to pay for more than one cup a month. I hope that is true. But, I suspect the prospect of some money is not the main driving force for you.

        • You are right/ it is not about the money though it would be be an incentive to stay the course. And the little farm needs its income. It is more about writing new stuff. And allowing people to choose to read if. Most everyone is here for the farm. And these old stories are not farm related/

  3. Oh my gosh, my favorite stories from the Early Years?!?!? There are so many! The stories with you taking care of your siblings as your mom was ill. The ones of you in The Nunnery, alias Home for Wayward Girls. Your early mother years, and the story where your baby was crawling away under the walls of a dressing room while you and your mom were inside laughing hysterically because time was so short and your love for each other so strong. Another when you were hanging clothes and covered your head, hiding tears and your kids, several of them, watching you did the same, as if it were a game. So many beautiful stories Celi of a wonderful life. Can’t wait to read them!!! xoxo

    • Thank you – you have remembered some I had forgotton – but I remember now – so clearly – now we need to go and find them. Was that one The Washing Basket moment or Sitting in the Washing Basket or something like that? I will try to find those two. Thank you – keep remembering!

  4. I also enjoyed the stories of the rescue animals most and their dear Nanny Boo..who was also a rescue..correct? Who doesn’t love those stories of kindness to an animal that has been lifted out of a terrible life? I do, however, love stories that are accompanied by photos but again, not necessary as they create a visual that is different for everyone and is in itself, part of the story. Ok, not sure how much sense that made. lol. Those stories of your early life experiences of living more simply will resonate with all of us of a certain age/generation, as we all grew up without all those “modern conveniences”. (run on sentence)… They just weren’t there..One difference in the milk being delivered to us in glass bottles by the milkman was that ours often froze in the winter and cracked the bottles if we didn’t get to them soon after they were dropped off..I’m sure beach milk never froze. Hah! But maybe got too warm? 🙂

  5. More adventures for C! I love it. I do not know Letters to My Mother stories, were those TKG blog related? If so how did I miss them? I do remember and took part in the letters to our daughters published work- which later became my inspiration to begin a blog just for my kids.

    I am so glad you are branching out as a writer!

    • The Letters to My Mother are new. And may be misnamed/ I just like how it sounds.

      I will write one a week and publish them on subStack. Because they are not really TKG stories. These will be different.

      • Thank you! I thought they were something I had missed from earlier collected writing that you were simply putting on a new format. Look forward to reading!

  6. How very interesting. I just signed up to do a memoir writing course for my winter project… adding to the other projects, wips, stuff I’ve started and parked, and don’t have enough time for… anyway it’s a plan.
    I love your stories -the washing basket moment is indelible- and the recent story where you were lost, and found by your uncle is a cracker.

  7. Blogging is joining hands across the globe . . .finding each other know how we feel wherever we live . . . love when we understand and find commonalities and make friends, sharing happiness’s and troubles happening as they do . . .

  8. The Day Timatanga Moana Came Home. The Day Wai Wai Found the Good Lady and Got a New Skin. The Day Sheila Bit Her Boyfriend. I love those stories. But I also love your hiStories, what shaped you, how you came to be the Celi we love. More of all of it, please.

    • Thank you Kate! It is late for you /- why aren’t you in bed!? I am focusing on the hiStories ( love the S) – I will definitely put Sheila and the boar on the farm story list though. Her running into the trailer was so funny!!

      • It was only 10pm-ish. It was what we call a pyjama day today, which means I can go to bed late because there’s no crack of dawn start, he’s on night shift today. Thank you in advance for the Sheila story!

  9. I have finally caught up! Your wonderful blogs have been coming out so thick and fast that I feel like a little sister running behind and crying out ‘Wait for me!’

    What a rich and fabulous read. I am thrilled that you are writing you stories on Substack. You deserve to be discovered and published. (entering short story competitions is what new writers in NZ like to do: any competitions going your way?.

    I’ve been waiting for a rainy day. Well the sun is shining but I have such a sneezy cold that it feels like I am making my own rainy day. I love your return to the Farmy and the blog, which I have followed for many years – decades even? So hello and keep writing!! I am an admirer; no, better than that, an enjoyer of your stories and images.

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