What do the Barbie doll, Richie Valens, and I have in common?

photo of Donna Brown/alias Cygnet Brown, Author
photo of Donna Brown/alias Cygnet Brown, Author

Barbie was first sold by Mattel in 1959, and the song Oh Donna, written by Ritchie Valens, became popular after Valens died that year in a plane crash in February when he and other musicians J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Buddy Holly crashed outside of Clear Lake, Iowa, killing all on board. Oh, Donna, which was first released in 1958 hit Number 2 on the Hot Billboard Hits in September 1959. I was born Donna Swanson in July of the same year.

Who am I?

Garden 2020/photo by author

The Original Plan

Bush Beans with their first true leaves

Beans are legumes which means that they fix nitrogen in the soil and if eaten as dried beans, mixed with a grain makes a complete protein. Many types of bush beans exist and there’s something for almost everyone. Beans can be eaten (or canned) young as green beans and yellow wax beans or can be allowed to go to seed and eaten as a high protein food.

Bush green beans, unlike pole beans don’t need special supports and can be grown in almost any climate. They are easy for new gardeners to grow successfully. They are relatively small plants that…

The stories you can share while sitting at the table. photo by Kevin Curtis, Unsplash

Grandpa’s Ride

Back in the nineteen-teens, before Dad was born, Grandpa was driving his cows from the pasture to the barn for milking. Because his pasture was across the road from the barn, he had to cross the dirt road at the front of his property several times. He unlatched the door on the barn side of the road first and opened the gate. Then he went to the other side of the road where the cows were that gate. He then herded the cows across the road. When the cows were back across the road and in the cows…

My family said I was selfish, but I believe I was just standing up for myself

Girl walking down a road
Girl walking down a road
Does your family say you are generous and kind? Photo by JP Pau on Unsplash

I Confess that I am from a family Pushovers and I was the misfit. ! My parents or the rest of my family.

Being less of a pushover than the rest of the family put me in a rock and a hard place. Some people do take advantage of my good nature, but my family thought I was too pushy and outspoken and rather selfish. I agree. I am more selfish than most of my family.

I remember one time when I was a kid my uncle was making hamburgers and they were raw inside. I said, “This hamburger is…

Confessions of an abused wife

Man and woman staring into one another’s eyes, dog in background looking away
Man and woman staring into one another’s eyes, dog in background looking away
Photo by Vlad Shalaginov on Unsplash

Over the years I had a recurrent dream. It started differently each time, but it always ended the same. I was in a room, usually in a restaurant with friends. We were having a good time and then this good-looking man came into the room and sat down and started talking with us. He had charisma and I enjoyed listening to what he had to say. Next thing I knew, all of my friends were leaving the room, and I am left alone with this guy.

That’s when his whole demeanor changed. He started telling me all the things that…

Sorting out the plot and the characters of my NaNoWriMo manuscript

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

My first book took me twenty years to write. My second took me about a year. I can thank NaNoWriMo for that. I didn’t waste time editing while writing the first draft. When the draft was done, I had something to edit.

Edding’s Advice to New Writers

“My advice to the young writer is likely to be unpalatable in an age of instant successes and meteoric…


What I have I get from you

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

I know that you are called by many things. You are called the universe, you are called Mother Earth, you are called Jehovah, you are called Allah, and you are called God.

For me, you are the Creator of All Things Created and I am grateful for all your creation and all that you have given me.

I thank you for this beautiful blue ball upon which we live. I give thanks for the intricacies of the systems you put in place. How each star and planet is hung by its balance with the other stars and planets around it…

A few simple disciplines make major changes in your productivity

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Time is the one thing that when we spend it, we can never get it back. We can’t save it, we can only use it. We only have so many years to do the things that we want and need to do. The hours in a day can get away from you as can the months, years, and decades and before you know it, you’ll looking back and wondering where all the time went.

In order to accomplish more in the time that I have, I have created SOFF. SOFF is an acronym I created to help me plan and…

A different kind of side hustle

Photo by Author

My freelance gig is going in a different pattern than most freelancer’s gigs are. I spend Saturday mornings at farmer’s market. I love selling at Farmer’s Market. Even if I didn’t make the kind of money that I do there, I think I would go anyway. If for no other reason, than to learn what I can about entrepreneurship. However, I do make money, more than I would have doing most side hustles by selling cookies and books.

Learn from Mentors

Donna Brown

Author of The Locket Saga, a fictional American Historical Family, gardener, homesteader, chicken farmer, teacher.

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