Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cold Vermont Gardens, Warm Winter Thoughts

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hello gardening friends. I've been away from The Vermont Gardener since before Christmas and some have reminded me that they don't like my energy shift to Facebook. Some ask why I have a personal FB page under my name and then sporadic presentation on the FB Like page I named Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens. I call it "age" which has the inherent power to give and to take away time and thought. Age provides an opportunity for excuses. It can provide a reminder that it's expected that you'll forget certain things, some important, some not as important. Age also can make you more wise and in Spring 2012, I inherited some wisdom that had me sit down out in the beech woods one day and determine that I would begin doing some things for myself for a change. With that, I started spending a little more time away from the business and a little more time having a different kind of fun. I made three trips to Maine, two for hiking and looking at real estate and one for just sitting by the ocean and listening to tranquility play a beautiful song. Back home I worked up several cords of fire wood for next year and the year after and I finally began mapping and cutting a series of roads and hiking/snowshoeing/cross country ski trails on our +70 acres.

I spent some time trying to understand why my honey bees make a lot of honey but don't like me and I finally completed the purchase of a small bulldozer I had committed to a couple years ago. I never went trout fishing--not even once-- and I never finished the inside of the writer's cottage or the rest of the pine paneling on the office at the flower farm. I did climb up Owls Head four times, made it up Spruce Mountain once and loved it, got to a couple-three farmers markets, located a secretive triple waterfall that is ever so special and helped a friend rehab an old house when I had nothing else going on. But it was all great fun, a didn't get hurt doing anything and I met a lot of really nice people.

Many people begin writing blogs or series for newspapers, radio or TV and this takes a strong commitment larger than the average listener/viewer ever knows. Yesterday I was invited to help with a gardening media presentation which I would love to have helped with but I had to say no. From where I am at in my life right now, I want to be able to do a good job at whatever I choose to do as I clean up some chores that remain unfinished. Vermont Flower Farm is not close to the way I envision it and I still have two books that need to get further along than they are. 

But......There is a thing about life called interruptions. Iceberg-like interruptions which take longer than we expect. Interruptions which others might never have experienced and don't understand. This time of year I experience two interruptions. They are seasonal. One is our website and one is income taxes. The website is an important part of Vermont Flower Farm and it needs to be completely updated before spring sales. It's started but there's a long way to go. As for the taxes, operating a small business requires more paperwork than most folks understand. After almost 30 years of being in business, Gail has committed to doing the taxes this year. I am grateful, but it's still a major interruption....even bigger than losing a U-joint on the truck today.

With all that's going on, there are still some things that I enjoy and like to share with others. Up top is a hosta named Robert Frost that I have grown for years. It was grown by Bill and Eleanor Lachman and is a cross between Frances Williams and Banana Sundae.  Frost was friends with the Lachmans, hence the connection with my favorite poet. They registered the hosta in 1988. It's classified as a large hosta and it works well in anyone's garden.

I guess it was a little by luck yesterday that I opened a collection of Frost's poetry and came upon ten short poems Frost named Ten Mills (a mill was 1/10th of a cent). One poem that is appropriate to income tax time was Number VIII. The Hardship of Accounting. While you're trying to figure out if I'll ever get back to writing about gardens and flowers, remember that it's income tax time in America, and I really do have good intentions. Try to stick with me, despite the ...interruptions.


Never ask of money spent
Where the spender thinks it went.
Nobody was ever meant
To remember or invent
What he did with every cent.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where 9 mph winds adjust the current -4.4° temperature to -20°. Br-r-r-r

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
On Facebook as George Africa and also as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
And always here to help you grow your green thumb!