Rusty wears a hat

Spring Cleaning Inside Your Blog Site

Things are changing for bloggers. Throughout the Internet forum topics are

Blog is a Four Letter Word
Blog is a Four Letter Word

bristling with anxious bloggers about Google Domains, Google rankings, and Blogger who originally hosted all BlogSpot.com web site blogs for free. Check out Google Domains and see how the dynamics of your blogs will determine if you wish to transfer over to Google Domains or manage the transition yourself.

It seems that free isn’t anymore.

Rather than pout about changes coming in the world of blog hosting and other Internet environments, I felt it was important to save all of my blog posts to an archive on my own computer. For those of you who thought of this in the early process of creating your blog, congrats, you are well ahead of us on archiving and cleaning house. I bet you never leave your Christmas lights up all year, either.

It would be prudent to begin copy and pasting all your individual blog posts to a personal folder on your computer. Although it is time consuming, the alternative is worse. I made a basic folder called Archived Blog and kept each title as the file name with its original published date plus the date I archived it. I began back in the 2008 with a simple journal and by 2011 I have several blogs to juggle.

I was either creating my blog posts directly into the Dashboard, like most of you do, or I was creating in MSWord then copy and pasting into the Dashboard. Sometimes my MSWord document fought me with its hidden document coding against the evil code shield that WordPress uses to protect itself. Other times, nothing was wrong, I created by post then I went to bed early.

In fact, WordPress’ updates and beta changes were good enough that I wasn’t panicking about loss of data. I was getting comfortable. Yet in the back of my mind was an itchy feeling that I should save and protect often. Was Archiving happening automatically? Well, I lost a few blog posts, thinking that all was well and good in the background. It wasn’t. I still save often.

What if you couldn’t access your blog page anymore? What if it happened overnight?

I highly suggest that you become the “motel maid” for your blog. Clean and search often for problems showing up in your view panes and the Dashboard, check you archive folders and see if you have any breaks in photos connections or active links that are important to you, and always make a backup file of each post. The housekeeping you do know will help eliminate any surprises later.

 Rusty LaGrange

Lovely Spring Gift Ideas from High Desert Gardeners

Gift Ideas We Love

 

"Valentine Pink" blossoms
Pretty pink blossoms

Do you really want to receive a dozen roses that will only last a week? Why not ask for a cactus that blooms for you each year? Just go to your nursery and pick out the prettiest. And as for color, you’ll find a good variety.

Many of the varieties offer different shapes and heights, while others bloom in hues of white to cream to yellow, pink to red to rose. All of them are easy to water and easy to grow in typical desert temperatures.

Another feature that I enjoy is their slow growing nature. You can plant them in a 10″ pot and it will be years before you’ll need to transplant them into a half whiskey barrel or directly into your yard. Many of them can grow for decades, often dropping “babies” or allowing their arms to be cut and replanted for the new generation of cacti. I have a night blooming cereus that is over 40-years-old and has been inside all of its life.

“Christmas cactus”, known for blooming in winter with bright red or fuchsia colored pointy blooms, can be more temperamental because they are a tropical cactus. They don’t like their roots too wet or too dry. A trick for forcing their blooms is to place them in a closet for a month prior to the holidays. Once out of the dark, they want to herald in the New Year. Healthy and happy plants will blossom all year.

Those combination cactus sampler dishes, that nurseries often place near their check out stands, are a really smart way to try some cactus plantings. Each dish holds a selection of tiny cuttings. if you’re not sure which ones to try, try all of them. They take little water and often produce a few flowers or even double in size during their first year.

Some cactus plants for sale at nurseries are not really cactus at all but are succulents with spiky skins. Their interiors are mushy pulp and don’t have the fortitude to make it through a dry, hot desert summer. You can try growing them in a portable pot or inside near a window. Be careful of direct sunlight scorching them through the double- and triple- panes of your windows. I tried that and more succulents and aloe vera plants succumbed to being bleached to death by the sun. It doesn’t take long to broil them in the intense heat.

My favorite tropical/ desert species is called the Carrion Plant. It grows large, slim, columnar arms  on thin stems that look more like sipping straws. It produces flowers only once a year. The bud is a large yellow pod with purple lines and polka dots but covered in hair. In a few days, the pod bursts open into a giant yellow and purple star with the most horrific odor you’ve ever smelled. This rancid perfume is designed to attract insects — especially the fly that helps propagate its pollen. It smells like dead, rotting meat — hence the name “Carrion” plant. It only takes one visit to a Carrion Plant to instill that smell into the sensory part of your brain. Whew!

So there are some of my favorite cacti and plants that make a good gift and have the longevity to last more than a few days or weeks. Once you have cacti in your garden, you’ll have a fragrant  friend for life.

Fresh Starts

Historically, this site has been running since early 2008. It’s had its ups and downs. I allowed myself to get side-tracked several times but knowing more was in store.

At this site you will find my continuing development of a non-fiction book close to publication and a new project, a creative vision that I’ve been working on for a year but, until now, was putting the infrastructure in place.

I’d like to think that even though we have great ideas, sometimes the timing is not right. I don’t call it procrastination … rather simmering in anticipation.  I’ve been treating myself to some self-discovery in digital magazines and marketing. I’m itching to get it uploaded.

My newest creation will be a digital magazine with a regional Southwest flavor, an appeal to the tastes of vintage and antique collectors, and crafters, as well as those who wish to read more about the Southwest deserts — in particular the Mojave Desert in poetry, short story, history, and family outings.

I know books that obsess on Route 66 and I know a few authors that will be introduced here as well. For me, I enjoy the balance of a readable experience with many topics with a common thread. You can find numerous titles on Mojave Desert trails, its colorful history and the legends that still survive. But VintageWest Magazine will bring you singular focus on sites and sounds that bring you directly into the desert that we call home.

For living out in the middle of nowhere are artists, authors, photographers, and poets who arrived here and never chose to leave. Some are entrepreneurs, some just downright creative sorts who love to do what they do without apology — those are the truly gifted desert dwellers, “desert rats”, non-conformists who will do what others never would allow themselves to do. We know you admire them for their freedom and spirit.

I plan to capture that.

This digital magazine is  — VintageWest Magazine. Don’t search for it yet. It’s coming. In the meantime, if your curiosity is overwhelmed, you can email me and I may tell you what’s in store.

And, to be sure, I plan to have the first 100 subscribers to the magazine named as Charter Subscribers. As Charter subscribers, a few bonuses will come your way. As we grow, you’ll become the Old Guard, the ones who took the daring step to support my dream of being an editor/publisher of a magazine full of the stuff we love to read.

Within the pages, you will find regional advertisers who offer the best of what the Mojave gives. More on that later. Advertising will allow me to venture past the basics and, in time, offer pay for authors’ insights and creativity. We work hard to express ourselves in the form of creativity we enjoy.

I’ve also been growing a cadre of creative writers and bloggers who love the Mojave Desert and wish to share even more of their aspects of what the desert can offer. You’ll see items on foods, recipes, and hospitality. Read about their passions, their history, and their dreams.

Welcome to my digital universe & live it through VintageWest Magazine.

 Rusty LaGrange