Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! Buon natale! Feliz natal! 圣诞快乐 !

Merry Christmas! I hope today is wonderful for you!

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.  When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” – Luke 2:8-20 (NASB)

Wrapping Up Growing Season…

If you live in a warm area, then this isn’t as relevant for you; but for those of us with a distinct winter season – now is the time you may be cleaning up your garden. I’ve already pulled all my dying plants (although I do have a sole broccoli plant that is growing). I chopped up and scattered the garden waste (dead plants) on my plot. I also have a cover crop, which I anticipate will spread and fix the soil. I just have to be cautious that it does not escape the plot (and it has started to spread outside the grow box a couple of times).

I developed symptoms recently; I don’t think I am infected. While I wait for test results to confirm whether I have contracted COVID, I have to wait at home and cannot go to my garden. I do have a small houseplant in my room though, and some herbs and winter starts in the garage. If you have to abandon your plot, we may still have a bit of time this year and you may be able to finish after quarantining for 14 days. I’m going to go back to my broccoli after quarantine is over. It is a plant that does OK in the cold; and we are having a mild winter so far…

What Can I Plant at Home?

It is possible to plant some vegetables at home. I have started some tomatoes in my garage this year for next season, and it is possible to start broccoli & carrots now if you haven’t planted them yet – especially if you are growing on a small scale indoors or in front of your house.

Yesterday, I brought my large pots inside (one has blooms and very late watermelon). I also started some winter veggies such as peas (I am planning to add those to the large pot with my yucca plant). I also seeded some carrots alongside my tiny fall tomato sprouts. My plan is to overwinter these starts and repot them outside in spring 2021 when the temperature increases again. Last time, the leaves of the tomatoes turned purple but the plants did not die. Tomatoes are actually perennials, although the majority of people plant them as annuals. Bring any tomato plants that you want to overwinter indoors (i.e. garage, shed, greenhouse) before there is frost. A light frost will kill your tomato plant.

I have been drying and saving some heirloom seeds as well. This was possible because I was already growing heirloom plants before the pandemic began and I have heirloom seeds from previous years – they can be difficult to find in stores. My local garden center introduces seeds for the next year in December; this is when I would recommend buying them and storing them in your refrigerator. A good site that multiple successful gardeners have recommended is Johnny Seeds.

How to Make Your Own Row Cover

Today, while I was walking, realized I can make my own row cover by sewing together used dryer sheets. This is very simple. They are a similar thickness. I tried covering 2 squash sprouts this past spring; both plants produced vegetables later on along with a few fruit plants at home (cantaloupe, watermelon and zucchini). I have gotten no zucchini this year, but I do have one watermelon. Next year, I may try seeding earlier because this could help.

In order to make your own row cover, sew dryer sheets together in rows and then sew the rows together. I tried sewing a large square all at once so that I could create a double layer of dryer sheets to try to protect against frost; but this took a lot of time and may not be necessary. If you want a double layer, you may have enough dryer sheets from your laundry that you can sew two sheets, or wrap one sheet around a cage twice.

I’ve been told it looks like ghost… if nothing else, it is appropriate fall decor.

What Should I Do When It’s Hot?

In some parts of the USA recently, it has been hot. Depending on your personal preference, this may mean you have perfect days to work outside, or you want to know what you should do to avoid the heat!

It is possible to avoid the heat by doing as much work as possible as early as possible in the day. This may mean getting up a bit earlier to garden or start outdoor chores (such as feeding horses, pulling weeds, planting vegetable starts, etc.). If you’re like me & you are OK with the heat, just make sure you have plenty to drink!

June Update

I am getting ready to make purchases again to send to Operation Gratitude. Please use the link below…

Search: Title Author/Artist ISBN CBD Stock # Keywords Publisher

Military Bible for Soldiers

Military Bible for Sailors

Military Bible for Marines

Military Bible for Airmen

The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines
By Cate Lineberry / Back Bay Books

In November 1943, an Army Air Force flight with 26 nurses and medics on board crash-landed in Nazi-controlled Albania. For months they prayed desperately to be rescued while hiding with villagers. This harrowing, real-life tale tells of their group’s division, exhausting journey through mountains and to the British at the coast, and their recovery. 304 pages, indexed, softcover.

The last title I listed just became available recently. I find it particularly relevant right now; as all medical personnel, both inside and outside of the military, are taking a lot risks right now to save lives.

What’s Happening During the Coronavirus Outbreak…

This outbreak is creating challenges with the stay-at-home order, etc. However, it does provide a quiet time for attention to the yard and gardening is becoming important. It’s great if you have a planting calendar. My peas went out slightly late this year; so they aren’t as mature as they would have been otherwise; but they are doing OK. I plan to wait it out for them. Lettuce is another early crop. The first seeding is probably ready to pick, unless you had to wait because of rain (like I did). I plan to start a second round of seeds this weekend. Being able to grow your food at home is an excellent way to save money during this time – especially if you already had seeds you were planning on planting anyways.