Monday, January 4, 2016

Fresh Start

Just sitting here watching the fans in shirtsleeves at the Sunday afternoon football game in Phoenix while winter storm warnings for counties from Atchison to Washington flash a florid pink and scary words like 'ice accumulation' and 'power outages' crawl across the bottom of the screen. I consider how much we would benefit from a few days of nothing more than black coffee and hot tea boiled on the gas range, then contemplate all the Christmas cookies and cheeses and even eggnog still in the house and realize even an ice storm will not compensate for the overeating of the days previous.
But...guess what?  Dreaming of spring isn't fattening at all!  We are ending the old year with all the greenhouses under cover...covering one the morning on the 30th and two on New Year's Eve.  It was crispy yesterday, the thermometer holding in single digits after the sun rose, but we worked up a sweat peeling the 48 foot wide sheet of poly away from itself like pastry dough off of parchment.  This morning the menfolk left Lee and me in the office to order springtime bloomers by the hundreds while they frostbit their kneecaps fastening plastic while crawling through the packed snow in an 8 inch gutter 10 feet above the ground.  It was a perfect morning...sun shining, sky blue, wind nonexistent...except for that whole 8 degree thing.  Suffice it to say, some of the folks from Hurst Greenery will have earned a righteous toast tonight as compensation for the toll on their joints!

Before you know it, we will be sticking thousands of geranium cuttings cool packed for their trip north from warmer climes. Propane will be whistling through the heaters at night and the vents will froth a foggy cloud during the day.  Our doggy companions will be left on the doorsteps of the greenhouse lest they discover the wonders of indoor heating; we will keep our eyes peeled for signs of other undesirable and unlovable wildlife thrilled by the prospect of a winter salad. Speaking of greens, we just ordered tomato and cucumber seeds, reminders of longer days months. We long for these fervently after the summer of 2015 which grew beautiful flowers but not many tomatoes or cukes.

 In the meantime, I got my own seasonal box of goodies from a new acquaintance in Wisconsin, a lady of many talents judging from the gifts she sent for Christmas in the Country Gift Exchange!  

Thanks to the imagination and organizational efforts of some energetic rural bloggers, more than fifty of us scribblers from all over the U.S. ( and outside the country as well!) were given a virtual "name drawn out of a hat" with their social information and self description. Those that are gifted crafters sent homemade treasures; those with a talent for baking, or canning, or just knew someone with that knack, might send a box with jams, or candies, or preserves.  And the rest of us took stock of what our secret friend might find appealing and shopped my case, that entailed making purchases from vendors at the November Me-Market, and, of course, relying on the great good taste and creativity of our friends at the Flower Mill.  I enjoyed putting together a "goodie box", especially when buying the gifts from people I knew made the purchases a two for one deal: a jollier Christmas retail season for them and me!

For winter, there is the winsome homespun snowman with the crooked smile, carrying the Christmas spirit wherever he goes.  He's a warm fuzzy even as he sits silhouetted against the bare trees and snow.  And for spring, Jacky's squishy hand made, hand felted wool mushroom, a harbinger of those late April days when the wet creek banks are warmed by a strengthening sun. No woods, no walks for me during those days when we are busy delivering pretty pots and baskets, so I am happy to have this little mushroom close by to enjoy.

Summertime is represented by another handmade goodie, the little felted carrot pin, the perfect decoration for a gal like me who spends so many of her waking hours in the dirt.  Finally, a bright pieced placemat of golden sunflowers and a gigantic cookbook of so many muffins I could make a different one every day for TWO YEARS!  Betcha the guys in the combines and auger wagons and trucks will enjoy that kind of variety when the excitement of the first days of harvest grind into weeks....and then months....

Jacky is a busy lady; she volunteers, she has her own business...wish we were closer so I could visit her shop and talk about small town life.  In the meantime, I'll keep up with her on Facebook, read her blog at and tell her thanks so much for sharing some of her Christmas in Wisconsin with me in Missouri!


  1. What a neat gift - it looks very well suited for you! Thanks for participating and linking up, we loved having you!

  2. There are some names that when they "pop up" together, I just have a feeling. That was with you and Jacky! A wonderful match of two bloggers who enjoy the great outdoors and spinning a tale. Thank you for joining again this year Julie! We loved having you.
    Laurie - Country Link

  3. I'm so glad you liked them. I so enjoy this gift exchange! It's not about the gifts we share, rather the connections we make!

    1. I agree! A perfect excuse to get together over the miles and share!

  4. Thank you for my gift, Julie! I'm so glad we connected "from across the river". I'm looking forward to following your blog! LaVell - Growing For Tomorrow