How’s That Podcast Coming Along?

Today I was telling the story of skunks and escaping horses, and someone said, “You need to have some kind of ranch adventures blog or podcast!”

“Um, I do,” I said, and said to go look up The Hermits’ Rest. I actually saw people write it down.

Look, here I am having ranch adventures. I’m in one of the horse pastures.
More ranch adventures: we found WHITE verbena on our county road! That’s research!

So, it appears that I have not been doing the greatest of jobs at publicizing my funny ranch stories and personal rants. That’s probably because I don’t really enjoy self-promotion, though I make myself do it anyway.

On that note, I did start a podcast of verbal versions of this blog. I have found it to be surprisingly fun to record and put together. The people who have listened (all 21 of them) find it at least slightly interesting (and they love the theme song, by my talented son). I mean, whoa! That podcast is GREAT. That’s better.

I told myself that if I got a hundred plays of the episodes, I’d do more publicity. Today is that day. Time to get self promoting!

Look, here’s the podcast!

Just click that Play button and you can hear me yack about the horse and the skunk. I talk just like I write, too. The podcast is like a free bonus to this blog, which also, you may note, costs you nothing other than annoying ads. So far, the ads have raised a whopping $59.80 over the past two years, all for me to squander as soon as it hits $100 (maybe by the time I retire!).

If I’d had any hopes of paying for my blog hosting fees with those ads, I was foolish. I mean, I have plenty of followers and readers, but I’m no influencer. I guess they’re the ones who make money. You know, because they influence. I have tried to influence people to be kinder and more peaceful, but I’m not sure how well that’s worked.

So, Does the Podcast Have Ads?

It turns out that the Anchor platform where the podcast is hosted also has a deal where you get paid for ads. I had to make one, for Anchor (so far it’s my only sponsor). But, I DO get paid for it! I’m up to a DOLLAR! That’s right, kids, a dollar since March 10! I’d rather not have to put ads in, but to do that, I have to do the OTHER thing.

That thing is to get supporters. You can actually support the podcast (and the blog, since they are the same content in different forms) by making a monthly donation. What? Yes. Like being a patron on Patreon or something. Or like funding some startup. Only it’s me, talking about dogs, horses, plants, knitting, bias, and such. I do support a couple of other people this way, and it feels good, plus you get “bonus content” and such. It appears I can create bonus content on the podcast. The possibilities are endless.

I’ve made no bonus content, because I have no supporters. [insert frowny face.] But, that can change!

In fact, I’ve shared in a couple of spots that the first ten people who becomes a supporter get to have dishcloths made by me! And the first person to support at any level higher than $.99 a month will get a lap blanket made by me, and I’ll discuss the pattern with you and everything! What a deal!

UPDATE! The lap blanket has been CLAIMED! I’m still ready to knit on those dishcloths!

I could even knit a heart.

Why on Earth Are You Doing This, Suna?

I’m doing this, because podcasts with supporters get shared and recommended more than ones that don’t. And they get more offers for sponsors, too. Like maybe I could have a more interesting ad! Or rotate them! My mind is boggled by the possibilities. I could make fun and funny ads!

I can only do those things with sponsors. They will make Lee happy that I’m not “wasting” money on WordPress fees, and help support me in my old age. Who knows, if I get a couple of sponsors, I might be able to get a better phone with a better camera, or one of those nice microphones…

Raise my self esteem! Or tell me I need to STFU. Either way.

To sum up, the podcast has been more fun than I thought it would be to create. I’d love to have you check it out, on most podcasting platforms. And I’d be honored to have a supporter or two, who will be lauded, I promise! And get prizes if you hurry! AND I hate self promotion, so this will be IT for a while. I hope I get a supporter!

No podcast will be created from this post. (hooray)

Book Report: A Short History of the World According to Sheep

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I buy most of my books from Amazon, and they, of course, keep track of your buying history. They know I like books on wool, sheep, knitting, and so on, so I got this book, A Short History of the World According to Sheep, by Sally Coulthard (2020), on Amazon’s recommendation. I also thought the cover was pretty.

Beautiful cover, isn’t it?

Absolutely, I was right; the cover is great, a pastoral scene of grazing sheep by Nathan Burton, beautifully printed on textured paper. The book is a great tactile experience all around. These days you don’t often get books bound this well, so kudos to the Head of Zeus Press, whoever they are. I guess quality bookbinding is still alive and well in England today.

This sheepy little tome is indeed quite British, which lends a lot of charm. There are so many mentions of the names of tiny towns and villages in England, Scotland, and Wales that I got an urge to go look up photos of the whole lot of them. Sadly, there are no photos of sheep or villages to be found, though each chapter begins with a really lovely etching of something to do with sheep or wool.

The illustration of the chapter on wartime wool use.

I guess I should get around to Sally Coulthard’s content. It’s quite charming, and just full of fun tidbits about sheep, wool, word origins, and such. There are a LOT of English place names that refer to sheep and wool. And a bellwether was not a type of stock originally, but a very tame neutered ram who wore a bell to lead sheep where the shepherd wanted them to go. I want a bellwether. Well, I want any kind of wether, actually. I am so fond of them.

Each chapter in the book moves along through history and tells how sheep and humans have coexisted throughout history. There’s no doubt about it: sheep have shaped human life in many ways. They are darned useful animals, and Coulthard’s delightful way of telling stories about them makes for a pleasant read. I admit I could have used more details, but then, I’m a detail-oriented reader.

If you’re like me and enjoy reading about history through the lens of one particular commodity (after all, I’ve read books on salt, the pencil, various colors, and so on), you’ll get a lot out of this charming book. If you get bogged down by a bunch of place and people names with which you’re not familiar, or really aren’t enthusiastic about sheep and wool (how could you?), then you may want to go find another topic.

I’m glad to have read this one, as it cleansed my palate before starting the last unconscious bias book in my current stack of books.


An Offer!

Speaking of wool, I have a wooly offer for those of you who listen to the podcasts I make from these blog entries. The first person who sponsors my blog on Anchor for over the minimum $.99 a month will get a knitted throw by ME (and you can choose colors). The first ten people will get TWO knitted cotton dishcloths. Now, don’t you want to run over to subscribe?? Go to anchor.fm/sue-ann-suna-kendall/support to get set up!

Of course, you can make me (and maybe yourself) happy simply by following the The Hermit’s Rest podcast on any platform you like (here’s the Spotify link) and listening to an episode or two. My friend Mandi said it’s so much like talking to me that she kept trying to answer me back.

What? Podcasting?

First, I’ll get this out of the way. I’ve decided to do a podcast to go along with this blog, since a lot of people would rather listen than read (like my husband). Some posts will work better than others. I’m still working out the kinks (like adding a consistent intro and ending blurb, but I do have three of them up at this site.

I have not gone overboard on this design.

Currently, it appears to be on Spotify, but maybe you can find it elsewhere. I did one post with an “automatically translate” feature, but I haven’t listened to it yet. Let me know if you listen. I can re-record if it’s totally awful.

I plan to slow down my speech (I do actually know how to record things, since I did it for my job for a long time), but I was having a lot of equipment issues at the ranch, due to my fancy headphones and/or something preventing me from playing back sounds.

Podcasts and Me

It’s sorta funny that I have resisted doing a podcast for so long, given my long history with them. Back when I was working for the nonprofit organization, one of my dearest coworkers, Elisabeth Lewin, was a podcasting pioneer, and she got us all set up doing podcasts from our international conference. I was (and still am) in awe of her equipment. I learned a lot from her.

I took what I learned and was able to help my musician housemate, Jeff Tveraas, get a website and all the accoutrements needed to set up a podcast of his own, which was called the Austin Connection. I really enjoyed those and was sad when he had to stop producing them, and wish the old episodes were still available.

I’ve watched as every single radio show I listen to has developed its own podcasts, as every vaguely famous news person has done, etc. And I’ve seen some of the blogs I read move to podcast-only format. I even pay money to a couple of people to support their blogs or YouTube channels that I actually don’t listen to. It’s obvious where the trend is going.

Nonetheless, I am apparently NOT an audio learner, so I never enjoyed listening to them, myself. I’ll listen to some of the ones Lee shares, but for some reason, I have no patience with wading through the sponsorship information, the plugs for how to obtain them, and the listening itself. I blame the fact that I read so quickly on my impatience with spoken media. I can zip through a blog, unless I pause to enjoy photos, while a podcast takes, well, as long as a podcast takes (same with learning off YouTube; I can’t stand all the blather).

Still, as I mentioned, I recorded e-learning videos for many years, which were like podcasts with accompanying slideshows. I’m not afraid of microphones, audio editing equipment or anything like that. I could easily make podcasts, but didn’t want to bother with all the uploading and editing.

So Now

When WordPress started hounding me to turn my blog posts into podcasts, I ignored it for a while. Then I started thinking about my husband, who will not go onto Facebook unless he has to say something for work and who hasn’t been able to figure out how to get my blog posts mailed to him. He does listen to podcasts, pretty much all the time, including when he is sleeping. What better way to reach him than to speak to him in his sleep! Creepy fun, right?

Plus, it’s something else to do! I love me a good project! The Anchor software that WordPress promotes makes it easy to do a podcast, as long as you have a microphone. There’s not a lot of editing software that I can use, so I’ll just leave my mess-ups in there. And I will see if I can get a son to record me some soft guitar music (NOT lengthy) to put on the opening.

The folks at Anchor claim you can make money from people subscribing to your blog. Yeah, right, the people at WordPress say I can make money from people looking at ads on my blog, and so far I have amassed nearly $60 (in over a year)!

But, what the heck, if you are a fan of my blog, or want to support the podcasting thereof, you are very welcome to subscribe. After all, I’ll need income after I retire.

Note that there’s a $.99 option!

You are ALSO very welcome to continue to read my blog for fun, entertainment, or to help you get to sleep. I’m happy to have an outlet for venting and sharing nature stuff, but, if someone wants to listen to me talk, they can do that, too. Just look for The Hermits’ Rest on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. I love subscribers, and will not turn down supporters!

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