Our One Plant Vineyard

Today, I’m very proud of our one plant vine growing like a champ.

We got grapevine cuttings from a friend  I have spent the last two months babying these two last cuttings into growing into strong plants.  One has agreed to bring out leaves, but the other cutting remains dormant.  I thought nothing was happening with the dormant one but when I checked it a few days ago, it has roots.  So, we’re in the waiting period with that one. 

Meanwhile, we might end up with a one plant vineyard, and it’s oddly exciting. I can’t wait to see what happens next.  Yes, the little leaves on the one plant have me imagining grapes growing on a vine, maybe making wine out of them. hahaha. Here’s to hope!

The Villainous Neighbor

It was less than two years after three children lost their daddy to a car crash.  The rawness of such a loss still fresh in their minds, the world seemed like a battlefield with every step.  Strangers turned to friends, while friends they had known left, not able to withstand the sense of grief clouding around the three children and their little mother.  It was a hard time for the small family of four.

Now, their home was a farm at the end of a stretch of land with a very muddy access road.  On very rainy days, a lake of sorts would form in the middle of the access road.  The mother of these three children would then have to find a way to get them across daily in order to get them to school.  There were two pairs of shoes to be worn.  Gumboots and rain coats to get through the massive swamp and school shoes to wear when the three children got to the bus stop.  The family that owned the property closest to the main road was kind and allowed a small path at the driest part inside their own farm away from the access road.  But even this little path would sometimes get hard to pass through.

In any case, the little family survived the best they could through the very rainy season and the massive swamp lake that formed in the middle of their access road.

One day, the neighbors who owned property opposite the little family’s farm opened a small gate on to their access road.  They wanted a second exit they said.  One that would allow them to have two gates.  One gate on their main road on the other side of their property, and the little one on the muddy access road with the swamp in the middle.

The mother of the children had no problem with this development.  In fact, she thought it would be a blessing.  Perhaps the kids would have an easier time going to school now.  They might use that small access to get to the drier road on the other side, and their path would be easier to school. 

In the dry season, this little gate never came to play for the little family.  Their access road was fine, and they went about their lives as usual.

Then the swamp in the middle of the road returned after a particularly rainy day.  It was holiday time, and the three children did not need to go to school.  However, their mother did want to send them to the shop, so she handed the three money and asked them to get a kilo of sugar from the shop.  They had seen others using the small gate made by the neighbors to escape the swamp, so they thought, ‘Oh, we can also try this gate.  It will be easier to escape mud and swampy water.’

They were nervous about it, after all this was a new route, but they thought they would try it and see if they could get to the other dry road.  After all, the owners also use their access road in the dry season.  All would surely be well.

They were wrong.

A panga is a Machette, very popular farming tool in Kenya

They barely made it to the opposite gate of the quiet property to the other road when a man came out swinging a panga from his house.  The panga was sharp, his words sharper and he chased them as one would chase thieves.  He screamed insults at them, and threatened to cut them to pieces, fear grew and the three children screamed running back home at the speed of light.  They forgot why they had ventured outside their home and went to find their mother.

When the three children ran home, their little mother was in shock at their crying faces.  She asked if they had been robbed off the money she gave for sugar, and tried to soothe them, wiping away their tears.  In minutes, she discovered their story and a burning anger fueled her to confront this villainous man who would dare threaten to cut her children with a sharp panga.

When she got to his gate, she asked him why he would do this, and he threatened the little mother, telling her to shut up or he’ll kill her.  This mother was not one to take insults quietly.  She screamed for help and the neighbors came.  As she was calling for help, this villainous man wrapped his hands around her neck and tried his best to rob her off breath.

It took three men to pull this villainous man off the little mother.  Her voice was hoarse from the assault. Her neck damaged. The three children were in shock.  Not less than two years ago, they had all buried their father after a car accident, now here was a man doing his best to turn them into orphans. Sinister yet, he was not sorry about it. 

It became clear that a path to the dry road on the other side was not worth this hefty price of death.

In any case, the courts became involved.  The villainous man was tried with attempted murder and the illegal path into the muddy access road was closed by a judge.

Life continued, as it often does.

Three little children grew up and in a blink twenty years passed.

Their little mother still struggles with neck problems, as a result of the assault on her neck.  Some nights she has to sleep with a neck collar.  The children often make sure it is new and available even when she travels. This was a price they paid for daring to think that all neighbors are made equal.

They all learned that the kindness of one family cannot be carried to the next family.  Their access road still gets terrible in the rain, but they endure and find ways to pass through it without complaint.  Muddy shoes are a much easier price to pay than death from murder by a villainous neighbor.

A few years ago, the villainous man’s family opened a path to the muddy access road again.  They use it unstopped by the little mother and the three children.  No pangas raised against them or hands wrapped around their throats in a grotesque picture of murderous intent. None of the villainous man’s family help fix the muddy road, after all they still have the other side to use during the rainy seasons.  This lesson is that the nature of a family’s values remains and does not change.

Recently, the little mother was helping one of her daughters transplant a tree from their gate into their farm.  She saw a woman pass their gate heading for the now illegal path at the end of their access road and said, “Ah, that’s that villainous man’s daughter. You should know her in case she comes to yell over electricity poles near their fence.”

Yes, the spectacle of a woman screaming over electricity poles has happened to the little mother, but that is a story for another day.

The little mother’s daughter spared the woman in question no glance.  After all that woman’s daddy almost cost her a mother.

“It’s better not to know or interact with them,” the daughter said. “Nothing good can come from it.”

“True, ” the little mother said, touching her neck.

In the end, the little family lives on, but the question still remains, what makes people so unreasonable as to want to murder over a small moment?

Can you forgive someone who tries his best to choke you to death because you asked a question about your children, who tried to pass a path this person’s opened, that others have used unstopped, but your children had to face a machette on the first attempt?  What would you do with this reality?

Life continues, as it always does.

Happy and Grateful for having a Reading Culture

Happy New Year! 2020 is currently very beautiful. My Sunday is full of perfect sun, and birds chirping on the trees around our compound. Peaceful perfection.

This post is a gratitude post. I was on Goodreads deciding on my 2020 reading challenge number, and got to check out last year’s accomplishment. It suddenly occurred to me that I ought to be very grateful to my parents. Very grateful because they gave me the gift of nurturing a reading culture.

It’s a small action, really, but also the most powerful gift ever. My dad had a serious obsession with science fiction. He gave me my first Arthur C. Clarke books, (Rendezvous with Rama), and my mom has a thing for literature, she had a stash of African plays, and a box full of reader’s digest romance books. When I was done reading theirs, they bought me fiction books, one every month, and made sure I learned how to borrow books from my school’s library. The biggest challenge was taking care of that book and returning it in good condition. Better yet, learning how to keep books they bought so that my sister and brother could read them too. These small lessons have turned into the biggest blessings now.

I am grateful for my parents who taught me how to be a collector of books.

The Goodreads reading challenge is a great way to track books on the shelf at home, or in your virtual library. That’s a thing now by the way. My kindle has an endless list now. This year, I plan on 120 books, as opposed to the 200 from last year. I’m anticipating a busy 2020 in terms of actual activities on my time, so the number has reduced. I don’t know why it’s so exciting to see Goodreads make a report and list of books I read through the year. It makes me want to have a more impressive review for this year.

I’ll tell you that real world obligations can take over and suddenly you’re in March and haven’t started the reading challenge at all. I’ve found downloading a book every week on my kindle app helps me keep track. Read during a commute, when waiting for someone, or instead of scrolling endlessly on social media.

My first book this year is going to be finishing Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo.

What’s yours?

I wish you a wonderful 2020!

Nanowrimo and Picture Perfect

November is here! You know that means NaNoWriMo! Have you started writing your novel for the month yet? The NaNoWriMo: Kenya Region has an exciting whatsapp group, that keeps you going even on the days you want to stop. If interested, join the daily writing sprints. Here is the link to the NaNoWriMo whatsapp group. Get in and write your 50,000 words this month.

My project this year is called Kipepeo. I hope to get about 50K words of it done. It’s Nov 5th, I’m at 6K. 44k to go!

Picture Perfect

More News! Picture Perfect finally has a cover and a completion schedule which is this Month (November 30th). I’ve had a long journey with this story, and you’ll find a chunk of it on this site. I’m excited to finally finish this and get it out there on e-book platforms. Please look forward to it. Here is the cover!

November is exciting!

Olympus Art by Mike Omondi

Mike Omondi Mulinya is an artist focused on painting on Canvas and Mix Media. He is the owner of Olympus Art and is based in Ngara, Nairobi. He often documents his progress on canvas on Instagram. You’ll find a work-in-progress post and project-complete post on his feed..


What I love most about his work is the color that explodes on canvas: so vivid and authentic. Read on to discover more about Mike and his art, in the following interview.



Don’t give up on your dreams. As an artist, stand up bold and be what and who you want to be in life because we live once.


Q. Tell us about yourself and what you do.

My name is Mike Omondi Mulinya. I do Art and Design to satisfy my spirit of creativity and adventure.

You’re an artist, what is your experience in your industry in Kenya?

The art industry in Kenya though not so tough, is also not an easy walk through. Though the industry has prominent artists, not many of them are willing to sit and have a chit-chat of encouragement and prosperity (with new artists). I think there is a fear of overtake in their monopoly market of art. To add to that, I started up with four paintings in 2017 and went to ask for a chance at Alliance Française. They told  me that they don’t exhibit the paintings that I was doing. They (the paintings) were kinda small I guess. So, lucky for me, they were bold to my aunt who bought them all.

What Inspires you? What inspired your most favorite artwork?

My dream and passion of having the Olympus Art Gallery is my wheel that I push daily. This dream inspires me every dawn and dusk. What inspired my most favourite work is nature. God was creative with the world, so God is an Artist and so nature inspires my paintings.

How or why did you start making art?

I started making art in high school to preserve the art culture that I see is almost coming to an end. I also started making art since I’m art coherent. It’s in me and I really wanted to bring the art culture to bold light and say Art is what I dream and I paint my dreams. In this world, one can’t survive without cash. I had to look for a source of income. I chose making art as my source of income.

What is your most important artist tool?

My important artist tools are my paint brushes, since they help me create vivid artistic images for the future and for utilization purpose.

Do you only paint on canvas, or can you make art in other forms?  For example, painting murals, making greeting cards, or even on clothes?

I paint on canvas and any hardware material that paint is compatible. I can paint and make things to order.

What are your thoughts to aspiring artists in Kenya?

My thoughts are don’t give up on your dreams. As an artist, stand up bold and be what and who you want to be in life because we live once.


There is special magic in a painting on canvas hanging on a wall. If you’re looking for an artist to get art for your walls, your place of work, your …insert preference…do check out Mike’s Art. His contacts below:

  • Email: omondimike88@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @olympus_arts_mike
  • Phone: 0708825023 (based in Ngara, Nairobi)

Ocean trinkets – Art & Craft

A burst of inspiration struck this afternoon.  We collected shells on the beach during a trip to Diani, and we had this huge bag of shells we didn’t know what to do with.  Anyway, the inspiration came from browsing pinterest, and finding these great seaside jars made over at Completely-Coastal.

So, got to work collecting glass jars in the house.  Impromptu arts & crafts, hahaha.

Made quite a mess of it at first.

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Memories in a Jar!

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But the end result looks awesome.  These are now going on the bookshelves.  Memories in a Jar!

All in all, a productive Saturday afternoon…at least it was a great save for the shells.  Hope your Saturday was great!

Up next, Life on the Fast Track – 22.  Jasmine is to face Dad and make a stand for her little brother! Oh boy!

Cheers.

Chasing the Sunset to Eldoret

Took a road trip to Eldoret, KE this week.  There were so many pictures that I thought it’s best to just share them on the blog.  So, here are sights from our beautiful, lush countryside!

always meet them having lunch, hahaha!

A lake to purposely visit

The sun painting the sky.

Where did the riders go? ^_^!

Shades of Sunset Gallery.

We were heading west, so each town tended to have it’s own moment.

I was in charge of photos for the trip…caught this selfie moment among the three ladies doing baking training at our destination.

I’mma take a selfie!

Checking out the Kerio Valley in Iten.  Home of the Champions!

Training hard to run for KE

 

Massive Kerio valley!

Along the way, caught sight of this billboard and it made my day.

I had fun on this trip, collected quite a few stories.  Until next time.

 

Saturday afternoons in the Flower garden

Today, our favorite companions, two white cats, with the most expressive eyes.  I, most times, believe they understand every word we say.  They’re both girls and get those moments when they huff and walk away…..clearly, they’re speaking here.

I saw them playing in the flower garden and it reminded me of another Saturday not too long ago.  As mentioned before, I love gardening, flowers growing around the house, digging fingers into the dirt…all of it is therapeutic and a great mind-clearing exercise, as Mum says.

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So, on this Saturday, we (Mum and me, worked in the flower garden, while my sister baked) spent time weeding, loosening dirt for the flowers, kneeling right in to pull out weeds. It doesn’t take long.  Afternoons are the best around three p.m., going into dinnertime.  It’s funny, but when we start working, everyone in the compound gravitates to that spot, and wild conversations arise.  The last time, my sister (the bakerette), was reminiscing on when we were kids and each of us got a small patch to dig and plant.  We each had digging tools, and even planned out what to plant.  Of course, Our Mum would be supervising, and we grew flowers mostly, while she planted veggies, but it was a fun way to keep us occupied. Many years later, looks like we’re all still tending to flowers, and pretty grass.  Of course, our little helper, Bindi the cat, always inspects the job, to make sure it was done right.

Afterwards, we all sat on the stairs having tea with pancakes made by our in-house bakerette. Thinking about gardening today, I went to check the flower gardens thinking next Saturday, we need to do some garden work…the cats seem to agree.

Read a Story:

Save My Heart is available here, get the pdf, and read away.

 

 

The Liebster Award

Starting my year with a bit of fun!  Thank you Dora of Nilichoandika for the award nomination.  It was a great surprise to discover as I jump back into the blog for 2018!

What’s The Liebster Award all about?

The Liebster Award is a blogger award for new bloggers, those with few followers, who are still getting the hang of this dynamic industry. It is a fantastic way of giving exposure, recognition, and motivation to these talented newbies so as to keep their blogging fire blazing!

Rules of the Liebster Award

  1. Create a new blog post with the graphical image of the Liebster Award as the one above.
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you while also providing a link to their blog.
  3. Answer the Questions you had received from your Nominator(s).
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers and share your blog post with them so that they can accept their awards.
  5. Create a set of questions for your Nominees to Answer.

Fantastic, let’s get started!

  • What would you say has been the highlight of your blogging experience this year (2017)?
    • The best  part of blogging in 2017 was getting personal messages in my email from readers who discovered my stories.  I can’t begin to express how exciting that gets, and I felt truly happy.  Getting fiction out there is hard work, and it was good to get such positive feedback from readers.
  • If you could pick a theme to blog about, any theme that scares you or you know very little about, what would it be and why?
    • Stocks and Bonds!! Hahaha…Okay, to be serious, anything IT oriented.  Stuff is changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up I think.
  • What’s the best and the worst part of being called a blogger?
    • The best part comes from someone following your blog, and connecting with you, truly.  The worst part…I haven’t discovered it yet.  Honestly. I will update that when it comes to me.

My Questions:

  1. What Fantastic thing do you want to accomplish with your Blog this year 2018?
  2. What is your favorite topic to blog about?
  3. If you were to go on an adventure then blog about it, where would you go?
  4. How has your passion influenced what you blog about?

I would love to know more from these great bloggers:

  1. Kenyan TrepLady
  2. Vincent de Paul
  3. Child of Destiny
  4. Vinz Poetry
  5. Wild Ventures
  6. Kevin Wanderlust (This blog gives me wanderlust, so beautiful)
  7. Maremma Gee
  8. Demogorgon’s Fiction
  9. The Social Crazies
  10. Humphrey Osoro

Art Adventures at the Hotel Waterbuck-Nakuru

 

It feels like it’s been a while since I went on a road trip, so this was incredibly fun.  Nothing on the mind, but being on the road, noting random things, lush green scenery and that family of zebras, having their lunch.

 

Nakuru was rainy when we got there, so our contact sent us a tuk tuk man.  I now believe everyone should have Mr. Ngugi when you first hit Nakuru.  He got us around town and answered a billion questions with patience.

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View from inside Mr. Ngugi’s Tuk Tuk.

We had a stress free transport time thanks to him.

The trip was a fun day out, but it was also for a conference, organized by Topserve Baking Accessories and supplies, who have relaunched their shop in Nakuru.  The Conference was held at Hotel Waterbuck, Nakuru.  While the event continued, it was hard to ignore these gems on the walls of this hotel.  So much art, there is no chance you will be bored checking in to this hotel.

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Join the Jazz Band

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All that and a Cup of Coffee

Nakuru is about 3hrs away from Nairobi.  Very quiet, very laid back, and definitely a lot of fun to be had.  New Goals after this trip –> Not to take everything too seriously, gotta take time to have fun.

Check out Hotel Waterbuck next time you’re in Nakuru.  If not to stay overnight, then to eat, at their delish restaurant.