About Dani Haviland

Dani Haviland, formerly of Connecticut, Arizona, and Alaska, recently semi-retired from selling tractor parts, tools, and roses. She moved to a more temperate climate in western Oregon to pursue her passions: writing, gardening, and photography.  View website

Alternate Ways of Gardening Part 1

Too hot, too cold, too wet. I’ve lived and gardened in the heat of Arizona, the iciness of Alaska, and a very wet part of Oregon. I’m also nearly seventy years old and have fibro myalgia that causes joint and muscle pain.
I’ve learned to adapt. Here’s one alternative way to get plants to grow.

Fish totes and plywood boxes: awesome raised ‘beds’


Fish totes are the three-foot-wide plastic containers crabbers and fishermen use to keep their catch. They’re sturdy and have forklift pockets for ease of movement – if you want or have to move them.
My husband drilled drainage holes in the bottom of ours and lined each with a pallet bag to keep the initial fill of soil in them. The bags decompose after a year or so, but that’s long enough for the soil to settle. When I needed more area, my husband built plywood boxes and set them on pallets to get the same versatility. I use a four-in-one garden soil mix from a local sand and gravel company. There’s pit run sand, compost, and a couple of other components. All I know is that it’s great stuff.

From my garden last year

I couldn’t bear to toss the weak tomato (left). It was struggling in its two-gallon pot. The ground was too low for me and hard to dig by mid-summer, so I put it in a new fish tote with a few pepper plants. Deer ate the peppers but forty days later it didn’t matter. The tomato plant had grown over where they had been.
As the summer sun moved across the sky, what was once the sunny site in the yard was now in the shadow of the garage. No problem. My husband put the forks on the tractor and moved it (and the other containers) into the sun.
I’ve planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and loads of other plants in these super pots this year. So far, we’ve had a very chilly and wet year: only three days in the seventy-degree range. The extra warmth these ‘raised beds’ get has put my tomatoes way ahead of my neighbors’ plants. It’s not a competition thing. I grow for food. Any extra goes to bless the local food bank where they have a very efficient distribution system.
What tricks do you have for growing in your part of the world? Let me know in the comments section.


After the day is done or when it’s too hot to go outside, read a book! Here are a couple of box sets you might enjoy.
Murder is to Die For: Cozy Mysteries
Cute But Crazy – Quirky Careers
Unforgettable Blessings
Unforgettable Courage

Chill Out in the Garden!

April 11, 2022, Willamette Valley, Oregon (my yard)

In the northern hemisphere, it’s springtime! Or, depending on where you are, summer! Here in Oregon, USA, we’ve had a very long winter. We had snow on April 11 and only last week, there was frost on the windshield in the morning. It looks like I won’t be getting any cherries, plums, or peaches this year. The apples and pears bloomed late, so we may be okay there.

Gardening is great exercise!

What does the warm weather mean to you? To me, it’s gardening season. That also means I need to get in shape. Here’s a chart that should make you happy about spending time weeding and trimming. Need a butt lift? Move loads of soil or compost around!
Before you commit to your garden project, be sure to have your gear. Plenty of water to drink, a hat, sunscreen, gloves, and of course, a camera to take before and after pictures. Stretch all those muscles first, too. I have a five-gallon bucket with a swivel seat on it that holds my tools. Very nice to have portable accommodations. I never have been a fan of the kneeling pads but my chair/toolbox combo with a handle is great.


MOST IMPORTANT: Audio gear! For me, it’s my Echo frames. Not only do they hold the lenses that help me see, these also have little speakers above the ears and a mic somewhere in front. Since they’re linked with my smartphone, phone calls come through, too. Gloved hands are dexterous enough to tap the right temple, and it’s answered. Need tunes? I tell Alexa, “Shuffle music by Led Zeppelin” or Leonard Bernstein, depending on my mood. I wear scrubs so the phone’s nearby in a big pocket.

Tunes are good, but my go-to request while working and always while driving is, “Alexa, read my book.” Whatever book I’ve been reading on my Kindle device, continues. It DOES NOT have to be an AUDIBLE book, either. Alexa’s voice is pretty cool and way better than the first generation of book readers.

Any story that is ‘Text-to-Speech: Enabled’ on Amazon will work on your Echo. You can do so much more work when you’re listening, waiting for an exciting scene to finish. Even when I’m spent and finally go inside, the story follows me. No Echo frames? Any Kindle or Echo device will keep up with your place in the story. Just ask, “Alexa, read my book.” Smart stuff is awesome!

MURDER IS TO DIE FOR: Diehard Dames Amateur Detective Series

Looking for a long read to listen to for the road or a special project, check out MURDER IS TO DIE FOR. This cozy mystery set won’t make you blush (it’s not spicy) but will keep you intrigued.

Brighten Up Your Life!

If life seems dull, do something about it! You don’t need a lot of money, either. If you have a fabric stash and a sewing machine and/or serger, there’s zero cost.
Make throw pillow covers! If you have a theme you like, you can use that. I made vibrant Day of the Dead pillow covers for pillows my daughter already had. It looked like she had redecorated the whole living room after she put them on her couch.
Here’s how I put these all together:

Press fabric, measure, cut, make a narrow hem on the two back/reverse pieces, arrange the top and back sections, sew around the whole outside, and take a breath. I always make a diagonal cut across the points of the corners, close to my stitches. That reduces the bulk of fabric when the project is turned right side out. Press, urging the rounded corners of the pillows into sharp angles. Don’t skip ironing! This is what makes homemade look professional.

If you have lots of spare blankets or throws, you can fold them, estimate the size pillow it would make, and make covers/containers for them. The spare room can be decorated with pretty, functional storage units.

What an inexpensive way to decorate for the seasons and holidays! Swap out colors or themes of the covers, bringing Christmas or the seasons with a quick twenty-minute project. If you have too many blankets or throws, bundle them up and make a cover for them, too. Remember to share your pillowcase creations with the gang, too.

Looking for a new read? Check out these deals. MURDER IS TO DIE FOR, a #CozyMystery collection is #99cents. DEAR SANTA: A CHRISTMAS WISH is on sale until April 19th for only 99cents or read for free with Kindle Unlimited. HEROES FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE is $2.99 but ALL of the money earned for this set goes to Ukrainian Refugee Relief.

They didn’t start out to be heroes

What’s a hero? Are people destined to be courageous, ready to step up to danger, protect others or their pets or property? At what age does it begin? Or does it ever show up? Are muscles necessary or will innovative ideas work, too?

Small acts of compassion are the beginning. Stephanie Queen came to her fellow authors with the idea of creating a box set filled with heroic romances. One hundred percent of the sale proceeds would go to Ukrainian Refugee Relief. The response was fantastic. Within hours, eleven more ladies joined the venture, donating their time and skills to the project. All are my heroes of the female persuasion – selfless and generous.

Depending on how much this set earns, we have at least three different vetted organizations that will receive 100% of the earnings.

BUY NOW! This fabulous collection of twelve stories by twelve authors is a limited-time release…and a terrific bargain, too!

Here are the authors, titles, and quick synopses of the stories included:

Stephanie Queen – The Beachcombers: Ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise never wanted a partner, but he owed the governor. Working alongside gorgeous Scotland Yard detective Shana George to find a missing heiress would either drive him crazy–or get someone killed… And now the human traffickers have their sights on Shana.

Desiree Holt – Rogue’s Return: Transitioning from being a SEAL to civilian life was tough enough without romance bumping in.

Zoe Dawson – Ruckus: Seal Team Alpha: Gratitude for saving her takes a back seat to falling for the alpha male who’d risk everything to see her safe.

Stacy Eaton – Mission: Believe: The wounded warrior and the idealistic doctor join forces to overcome physical and emotional odds to build a better environment for returning soldiers.

Suzanne Jenkins – A Greektown Wedding: What does a lawyer using a cop as a beard, a beautiful detective in love with a member of the SWAT Team, and a guy with a broken heart have in common? A Wedding!

Tamara Ferguson – That Incredible Kiss: After ten years apart, will unveiling their families’ dark family secrets heal Two Wounded Hearts?

Dani Haviland – One Arctic Summer: Sparks and sutures fly as the Inupiat medico and brash college student work together in America’s most northern city. Twenty years later, would the magic still be there?

Patricia Rosemoor – Rescuing the Virgin: Will the young American woman’s special skills help him bring down the human trafficking ring he’s been after for so long?

Susanne Matthews – The Tigress: There’s a new villain in New Orleans and Detective Ellie Taggart wants to take him down alone. Multi-talented Steve Cassidy insists he can help. Will their feuding – and desires – get in the way?

Christina Tetreault – Born to Protect: Sixteen years ago, he disappeared from her life. Now, he’s the only one who can protect her.

Two Bonus Stories:

 Mimi Barbour – Special Agent Francesca: This special agent flies her own plane, drives like a maniac & jumps at the chance at real undercover work. Nothing scares her except for one thing… MEN.

Suzanne Eglington – High Priority: Gun-toting Tiffany is convinced she’s always right. She was born wealthy, but her hero self has no time for materialism. She was in control until a stop for cat food changes everything.

Available on Amazon, Nook, Apple, Kobo, and Google Play.