For Immediate Release


Click on EcoNOOZ at or TODAY

The beautiful, hopefully soon to be more bountiful, backyard butterfly; just one of the many subjects that award winning photographer and producer Dee Finning of Ventura, California and award winning writer and producer Linda Lou Crosby of Ingomar, Montana will cover to share the special things everyday people are doing to spruce up our planet. Their web series is called ©EcoNOOZ, The Global Gazette. “It will feature stories that pique our interest,” offered Finning, “stories that we can identify with, and share.” The butterfly story was a natural as one of Dee’s nearby friends has created an official butterfly sanctuary in her own backyard.

“We got curious. We started searching the web for other butterfly experiences.  There are many out there,” added Finning. “We would never have known about them if we hadn’t begun our own butterfly adventure. Videotaping butterflies was one of the most wonderful things I have ever done,” reflected Finning, who has traveled the world with her videography and photography. EcoNOOZ also features the many talents of animator, Andy Atkins also of Ventura, California.  He added whimsy to our title with his special logo.

Keep your eye on the EcoNOOZ tab at (Dee’s company) and (Crosby’s website for her whimsical book “Adventures with Ragweed.”) ” Looking for these neat stories is a lot of fun,” added Crosby.

Finning and Crosby have worked together for 20 years on projects ranging from transforming garbage into ash, to “Eyes on Africa” – a story of one woman who brought eye glasses to Africa with her charity, to a video on the newest predictive weather models.

“We are friends, who have had many exciting adventures with our projects and wanted to do something fun and wonderful that could make a difference,” said Finning.

“From straw bale houses to solar ovens, from songbirds to hugelkultur gardening, we are looking for what you are doing in your own way to create cool things for our planet,” says Crosby, who is working to build a based hugelkultur in her eastern Montana plains “backyard”.

What’s next? “I want to learn how to make a solar oven,” mused Crosby. “And I want to learn more about good bugs,” emphasized Finning. Whatever the next adventure brings, it will be interesting, fun, informative, and a perfect fit for ‘EcoNOOZ, The Global Gazette’. “We can’t wait to hear what you folks are doing out there,” said Finning. “Drop a note…hmmmm…..maybe we could do something  about songbirds.”


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Cathy’s Garden

The following was submitted by my friend Cathy from Missouri, who a couple of years ago filled in her pool….the rest is herstory!

I just thought I would share some garden news! Still learning and experimenting, but into the 4th year things are beginning to take shape! You could never tell a swimming pool once dominated our landscape! We took out six cedars to offer better light into the space. One new challenge this year! The raccoons ate my strawberries!
Dwarf fruit trees haven’t matured enough to really put on fruit yet, but they are coming. Grapes are finally going up the arbor. Red and sweet potatoes are in the big beds. Cucumbers yet to be planted!  Soft pots are great with tomatoes, beets, turnips, peppers, and watermelon. English peas are growing up the pea arbor. The knockout rose hedge is really beginning to take shape, and the swamp milkweed are beautiful this year. We’ve had enough lettuce and spinach to turn us green this year. Lavender is in full bloom, and onions are nicely producing.
Eight varieties of blueberries coming. Tried honey berries this year, and the raspberry is taking off. The berry plants will need to mature a couple of more years before they really produce. And the crêpe myrtles happily came back this year! My neighbor Tracee and her husband John who is a landscaper have been tremendous help! And we have planted, pruned and weeded everything by the Almanac now. Great fun! It is beautiful here in central Missouri, and we are so very blessed!
Cathy's-Garden-Spring-2016-beds-and-pergola    Cathy's-Garden-Spring-2016-bench-and-beds

Ragweed Humor Book Contest Winners Announced!!

Blog Contest Award Winner 2016Ingomar, Montana, March 29, 2016-We have our winners for the Ragweed Humor Book Contest!!!!

Wahooooooo and congratulations to our wonderful winners: Gwen Petersen, our Grand Prize Winner, and Aimee and (father) James Dziadulewicz, our first place Picture Book winners.

We were looking for a fun book, that made us laugh, and we got it. Gwen Petersen is a remarkable person and author, and we highly advise you to get a copy of her Grand Prize-winning, “Older Than Dirt–The Musical,” and you can keep in touch with her at Gwen Petersen gets a $100 Amazon gift Card, as the Grand Prize Winner, and both winners are getting a copy of Linda Lou Crosby’s award-winning book “Adventures with Ragweed,” and “$ell more ebook$” by Lucinda Sue Crosby and Laura Dobbins.

Gwen’s advice for those who want to write humor books is, “Watch comedians, read humor. Figure out the difference between clever, intelligent wit and stupid, tasteless garbage. Listen to stories around you. Avoid associating with Debbie Downers. Do not put up with woe-is-me cling-on folk. Listen to music. Have lunch often with those who love to laugh. Ride your horse ’till you’re too stove-up to climb in the saddle.” ’nuff said. If you would like to see Gwen performing in the near future, she is”…doing poetry at the annual Hell’s-A-Roarin’ Horse Drive in May. Go on line to Hell’s-A-Roarin’ Horse Drive and learn all about it. Sounds like fun to us Gwen.

Our Whimsical, beautiful, intriguing Picture Book winner is “1000 Eggs–A Mystery Adventure.”It is a father/daughter creation with wonderful artistry, and a captivating story. Find out more about James (Jim) by emailing, or visit his website at How did the “1000 Thousand Eggs” book come to beAccording to Jim, “when Aimee was six years old, she was watching me do computer animation. She is creative and asked me if I could make anything she could imagine on the computer. I said ‘yep, pretty much.’ Aimee was making her own little story books at the time, with drawings. Faye, my youngest, does the same thing now. I told Aimee, ‘if you write a story, I will make the pictures and creatures you describe to me. Then we will print a few nice copies.’  Aimee wrote the basic story, over 1,000 words, and I made one image. It was an image of the Snorchel creature that Aimee described to me. But, …the story was hidden in my desk  for several years.” In 2014, Jim turned towards the story again. “I really got into it. Since I worked in Hollywood for a good spell and spent many hours watching the newest 3D Disney movies, I wanted to do something different than all these movies.” Well, we are sure glad it is out there for readers world wide. A great effort for father and daughter!!

kindleBookPromos is doing a cool social media marketing for the winning books and authors. Each book also received a special award certificate.

Grand Prize Winner: 

Gwen Petersen for the book “Older Than Dirt–The Musical.” A fun romp into old age. Gwen’s Cowgirl Poetry, quotes, tunes and funny quips. Humorous, fanciful photographs of Gwen add mischievous fun. Petersen is a talented humorist and writer. The book caught our eye and definitely made us laugh, a lot. A wonderful humor book Grand Prize winner!! Congratulations Gwen. Gwen’s website is at Her email address is sagebrsh@itstriangle

First Place Picture Book: 

Aimee and James Dziadulewicz for the book “1000 Eggs–A Mystery Adventure.” A spell-binding mystery adventure about the farm boy Mack, his father Jack, from the town of Yak.Whimsical and fascinating with outstanding, beautiful drawings, told in poetry. Fun, beautiful, and entertaining. Congratulations Aimee and Jim. James’ (Jim’s) email is His website is

About the Ragweed Humor Book Contest: The Humor book Contest was offered by Neon Lines of Ingomar, Montana in coordination with KindleBooksPromos, Judges looked for quality, attention-grabbing prose that made reader’s smile through the use of humor. The contest encouraged picture books to include the audiences of Children, Young Adults, and Adults. Besides prizes mentioned above, the winners will be listed at social media sites with book reading followers totaling over 60,000. For more information about Ragweed and Neon Lines, please email





Start the New Year Right–Win a $100 Amazon Card! Really!!

Contest January 2016Enter your incredibly humorous book in a Ragweed Humor book contest. You have until March 1st. Complete the contest rules and prize information @ You can send your fun book creations as a PDF, A kindle gift copy, or send the hard copy to:

P O Box 116
Ingomar, MT 59039

The entry fee for the contest is $25. Please include a check for the entry fee with your book contest submission and make checks payable to Neon Lines. The winner of the contest will be announced March 1, 2016 at the website listed above as well as on the Adventures with Ragweed Blog.

Christmas with a Friend

Cathy's tree 2015

I have a very good friend who celebrates Christmas, or almost anything, with great gusto. Gusto can translate into packing huge 12-foot Christmas trees into the house…vertically…and then having to cut a couple of feet off to even stand them up. Christmas trees weigh a lot more than you would imagine, and they are quite unwieldy while horizontal, I might add.

I should have known better, but I always say that after the fact.

It was early December, a few years ago. My friend lived in Maryland at the time, with a neat house and five acres of woods. She invited me to help put up Christmas decorations…seemed simple enough, especially for her. She is a master decorator, with amazing talent, who also can get into some amazing challenges. “But what the heck? What are friends for? “, I thought.

So, I flew in for a few days of holiday fun. Well it was certainly holiday something. At least we had some warm hot chocolate before we began. It was almost 20 degrees outside, with lots of cloud cover. But, I figured that was no problem. Decorating happens indoors…right? Wrong. Plus, I did not want to be the one climbing up on a ladder to decorate “monster tree,” as I affectionately began to call it.

I was very grateful that the tree was already vertical. At least that was done. Stand close enough and you could almost not see the top. I hadn’t seen much of my friend’s husband…but what the heck…he was probably taking a nap after wrestling the tree. And then I got my chore: holly. I love Christmas holly, especially when it is in the stores at Christmastime. It smells good and looks pretty from a distance. Turns out it’s fairly prickly up close. And getting close can be a problem in itself, especially when visiting my friend.

Well, my friend gave me a set of shears, a pair of gloves, a basket of sorts and told me BE CAREFUL. Hey, I had already figures out that holly had stickers. I wasn’t going to be on the pointy end of one of those. I marched outside with grand confidence, no jacket and began the search for holly. My friend lived right on the edge of the woods…and apparently so did the holly.

Took me a while to find out where it was, which was on the very top of a fairly steep little hill, that zoomed off pretty much straight down into the woods. If you didn’t watch your footing, so would you…I suddenly understood BE CAREFUL. But I knew from experience that I would be coming back with holly. It just had to be! I studied that holly and that hill for quite awhile. Without a jacket, I grew pretty cold, pretty darn quick. I finally figured out that if I hung on to a pine tree branch and sort of swung out at an angle, I could get that holly, bit by bit. And the nice thing was that the stickers stuck right into my arm, so I never dropped one sprig.

I returned with my treasure, which I was pretty proud of, and took a quick sip of lukewarm chocolate, and we were off again to string lights. Where you ask? That is actually what I should have asked. We were stringing lights all across the entire front of the very, very tall house. All of a sudden, it looked a lot bigger than it had when I first got there.

My friend toted a large box off strings of lights outdoors–a really big box, which sort of looked like a bird’s nest. We were off and climbing ladders, and stringing lights, and testing each string; well, you get the idea. And my friend’s little dachshund barked all along the way; giving directions I surmised.

All of a sudden, about in the middle of this massive project, we found a defective string. Toss it out was my idea. But no, my friend had an extra battery, or bulb, or something, and we retested it. I was told not to worry, it was fine; I was wearing out. And my friend’s husband had just appeared to see what we had almost done (funny about that)…and we were instantly , without warning, plunged into total darkness. Did I mention that it was still cold?

I had no doubt the offending string was the very one that we had jerry rigged. It had failed. I asked my friend to tell me which one to remove, but she couldn’t remember. Her husband quickly smiled graciously and retreated into the house, to stand next to the Paul Bunyan tree, I guessed. It was depressing, to say the least. We couldn’t figure out how to get enough light to see what we were doing, because there were no lights. You get the drift. And then we started to laugh. We were laughing so hard, we were crying, and the dog was howling, and it was dark and getting cold…and my heart was warm. It was a great adventure, which I obviously never forgot. I must admit when asked recently to come decorate my friend’s new home in Missouri, I realized that I was just too busy…

How SWEET it is!

Sweet Success

Thought we would check in with our creative gardener, Cathy Partusch, in Sturgeon, MO, to see how her garden had grown. Success! Cathy harvested many crops, including a HUGE amount of sweet potatoes (in size and number).

Cathy shared pictures of her sweet potatoes, vines, raised beds (that once were her pool), roses still blooming as MO heads into Fall, along with tips on growing, cooking, curing, and storing sweet potatoes once you harvest them.

Congratulations Cathy and thanks for the update!–Linda Lou Crosby

Straight from Corgi Acres and Cathy Partusch of Sturgeon Missouri:

This is the first Corgi Acres sweet potato harvest. These giant sweet potatoes came out of one large raised bed, and one large pot! They are now in their little greenhouse to cure for several weeks so that they will be nice and sweet by Thanksgiving! It is so wonderful to have a kitchen garden instead of a swimming pool!

The sweet potatoes were panted here in mid-Missouri late May. They really like to have warm soil and temperatures as warm as possible! I purchased some slips and planted approximately 12 or 15 slips. That’s all you have to do! By the end of summer, the vines are running all over the garden! I included a photo of the vines. They are related to the Morning Glory and bloom with a beautiful purple flower!

I chose to use a raised bed for my sweet potato plantings. I also stuck a couple of slips into large pots that produced four or five smaller sweet potatoes. This year, I would say we harvested between 40 to 50 pounds.

Sweet potatoes require some time to cure in a warm space before storing. The ideal temperature for curing sweet potatoes is 80-90 degrees, which is why I bought a small greenhouse. It will take about two weeks at those temperatures. But, my greenhouse in the garage does not get that warm, so it will take a few weeks longer for them to cure at Corgi Acres.

Curing sweet potatoes is relatively simple.You put them in on racks not touching each other in a warm area and leave them there for anywhere from 10 days to a few weeks depending on how warm it is. Then they can be stored in paper boxes, with shredded paper in between the layers. And the boxes should be placed in a relatively cool area, such as a larder.

Sweet potatoes are very nutritious, and can be used in many recipes. They can be baked, steamed with brown sugar and cinnamon, and even made into sweet potato pie. They also are great fried or sauteed in butter, and will make a wonderful soup similar to pumpkin or squash soup, only sweeter!

Because sweet potatoes are tropical, they do not like cold weather. When the first frost touches the leaves, the vines must be immediately cut off and the potatoes harvested as soon as possible! I chose to harvest on October 29 because that was a harvest day by the almanac for root crops. It worked out beautifully! It frosted the night of October 28, and we were up early the next next day snipping vines, cleaning out the area and digging the potatoes.

This crop should be cured and ready for Thanksgiving! The rest of them will be stored in a cool spot in my larder throughout the Winter.”

Duct and Covered!


I am pretty sure that almost everyone has at one time or other been faced with a challenge that only duct tape would meet. I am one of those people. Things that stick to things are good. In fact, at one time I even used contact paper instead of wallpaper to brighten my kitchen–I am just that kind of decorator.

I love duct tape. It’s easy and it works. I am convinced that duct tape and bailing wire would solve the world’s difficulties in no time. Years ago, I lived in a grand little place about five miles away from the mountain community of Wrightwood in California. The little town of Pinon Hills was small–population 500–and I always thought of my house, with its stone fireplace and tiny rooms, as my hobbit house.

My daughter and I took care of six ducks and a goose, a golden retriever dog, my daughter’s horse Spirit, and basic repairs. When you live in the middle of nowhere, you better be a creative “fixer.” I had left my reporter/producer job in Los Angeles and moved to the high desert because I thought it was better for my daughter and me. We basically had to start over. It was fun–most of the time. I was working at a deli in Wrightwood on the weekends and sanding wings on a Burt Rutan composite airplane during the week. I carefully managed our finances and looked for DIY opportunities at every turn. Gathering wood wherever possible was one of the activities I focused on. Winter got cold at 4,000 feet. Whenever I had the chance to get free wood, I took it. I know this has nothing to do with duct tape yet, but it will.

A friend of mine knew I needed wood and said if I worked with him and his friend limbing and rounding a giant fallen fir tree, I could keep my share of the wood. A great opportunity that was about the most tough work I had ever done. And, it probably would have been infinitely easier if my friend and his friend had not been drinking. Whatever work we were doing was instantly doubled as some of the rounds rolled back down into the canyon below. I couldn’t waste the wood, so I went down and towed each of the fallen rounds up the hill. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement.

I finally got back home and was basically catatonic on the couch. My daughter asked, “Mom, are you dead?” and scrambled to get me some warm bowls of soup. Then she broke the news that our air conditioner was teetering off its platform on the backside of the house. It was summer. It was warm in that desert. And something had to be done. The folks who rented to us were out of town, and I was out of ideas. But, just as I had run out of ideas, there it was–a gigantic roll of duct tape. So, I went outside and duct taped every inch of that thing to the platform. That was years ago. It never budged while I lived there, and I am quite sure that it never will.

When my former neighbor, and future husband returned from his fire-fighting work, his eyes bulged out at what I had done. I don’t think he ever got over it. He is one of those perfectionist kind of guys. His garage is categorized and organized and utterly devoid of character. I thought my duct tape solution was genius, of course. To this day, he never lets me fix anything without his guidance. It might be because my next duct tape fixit job was the pipe under the sink–it was leaking, and then it wasn’t. Some people are so particular.