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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

It's a Big Day


For my favorite middle kid!

Happy Birthday, Becky...just keep channeling Peg and Alice. They were great ladies and so are you!

Love you!

Monday, January 30, 2023

The Sparrows


Come in before light, just when the dawn takes over the night

Dark shadows they flutter cleaning up the spilled seed

And the corn from the feed store as they gobble with greed.

Guess the hawk can't quite see them until it's quite bright

But the lady with seed cups sure puts them to flight.

White-throated Sparrows

American Tree Sparrows

Dark-eyed Juncos, slate-colored subset

Sometimes the lone Song Sparrow that is wintering here.

They scatter when I go out to fill the feeders and as they race for the bushes the chickadees and titmice whirl in unafraid, to grab seeds and hull them before the big guys come back.

Not the best month, January, but there are compensations.

Monday, January 16, 2023


In the past ten days two iconic area farmers left us. The kind of men you looked up to and admired and loved to run into at the cow show or the coffee shop. You would always learn something and come away smiling.

Prayers for the families they left behind and for our community, which will be less without them.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Therapy Committee


Becky and I just did some awesome retail therapy. It was fun, with no crowds or busy roads involved... We sent a seed order to Pinetree Garden Seeds.

We bought herbs and papyrus and red geranium seeds. I can't wait! 

It isn't easy to grow geraniums from seed, but I've managed in the past and gotten some of my best colors. I already lost one of the old ones this winter though, so time to try again. 

Herb-wise, we bought a bunch of basil, some hyssop, gourds, and some Mexican mint. The basil I use to make BOOM, an herb blend we use to cook just about everything. It consists of basil, oregano, and orange mint dried and stored for winter. The oregano is not exactly the real deal, being some sort of winter-hardy marjoram-type stuff Ralph's mom and I scattered along the driveway years ago. It comes up and grows happily down there, although I have a terrible time keeping it alive up here on the hill, no matter how many times I transplant it. Good stuff!

Winter feels so much shorter when the seed catalogs start arriving...although actually this one has been here a while...

Now to find room among the jungle of house plants crowding the big windows to set some seeds to growing.

Oh, and I've been meaning to tell you about the African violet. I used to grow them bitd, but some froze when the place where I was living lost power in a terrible storm and some died because when we moved down here I used village water on them. Killed them in days (in case you were wondering why we don't drink it.)

Anyhow, there is an Amish family up on Brumley Rd. that sells garlic at a roadside stand (which has an overhang too low for normal people to fit under it...just ask Ralph, who banged his head just about every time we stopped there.) Whenever they put out more garlic and I had a couple of bucks cash we stopped and bought some. Best garlic ever! I forced myself to sacrifice some to plant even though I really wanted to save it all to eat, so there is a row out in the garden for next winter.

One day the lady of the house put out a few African violets for three bucks each. They didn't look too bad, but none were blooming. I had some cash so I picked one out and brought it home.

And waited. I figured it would probably be one of the flat, uglyish white ones with purple shadows in the center, but hey, flowers in winter are flowers in winter. At least I knew better than to give it faucet water.

One day I lifted the pot to feel it if needed water and there was a bud. Within days there was a flower that utterly lifted my heart with its beauty. The photos do not do the magical dusty pink color justice. It is the exact color of the pink shirts rodeo guys sometimes wear and it has been blooming continuously since that very first bud. 

Sometimes it's good to guess wrong.