Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!


It’s just 3:30 PM here on the mountain above Peacham Pond. I have been writing for a couple hours while Gail and Alex have sat quietly in the back room watching one episode after another of The Avengers, a British television series that aired from 1961-1969. Only once in a while has the welcomed silence been interrupted by excited conversation or the background spy-type music which crescendos with a single, piano note I do not know, striking loudly, hard and fast. They are enjoying the series which truly is a contrast to the Star Wars movie Rogue One which we will see together tomorrow afternoon. But all of this is about today, the last day of 2016, a year to remember.

Many thanks to each of you for all you have done for the three of us, for Karl the Wonder Dog and for our continuing efforts at Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens. During the year we have had nice conversations, kisses and hugs, emails, phone calls, cards and letters. We have had visitors from around the world and customers from around America. Our “family of friends” continues to grow.

2016 was the busiest and also the hottest summer on record for us. We experienced many, many days that broke 90°, a temperature that often caused Gail and Alex to head for an air conditioned room while I carried on at the flower farm. The summer was also dry and towards the last half of the summer I slipped down the river bank on a daily basis to check the water pump’s foot valve to make sure it was still in the water.  Drought ranged throughout the US and was prominent in Vermont where water wells went dry in many places and farmers lamented the first cutting of hay and questioned when and at times even “if” there would be a second cutting.

Despite the heat, customers helped us sell more plants than in previous years. As cooler weather arrived in late September, we began digging and dividing plants to prepare and pot for 2017. It was then that we had a clear perspective of how much had sold and how much had to be replaced. Gail began inventories and orders for 2017 and Alex and I began digging and dividing daylilies, hostas and a few other plants for next year. We built a new hydrangea display garden and we replaced the hosta display garden that was wiped out 5 years ago by Tropical Storm Irene.

As another year draws to a close, accept our thanks for the part you have played in our growth. It has been a wonderful experience to have been surrounded by so many positive people, and positive experiences. Yes, we regret the trucker who ran out of gas that we gassed up and got on his way, or the tires that we and neighbor Gerry changed for senior drivers in need; Yes, there was the young girl with tears whose parent’s car died in our driveway or the pickup with a blown engine that coasted to its end by the large pots of Love Lies Bleeding and zinnias.

Regardless of the troubles, each event ended in handshakes or embraces, hugs and smiles, bright, colorful and cheery like a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. Each reminded us that everyone one of us has special talents and we can all help each other in times of need. So in a world of tremendous challenge, share your positive thoughts, share your ideas, your plants or your plant knowledge. Help your family, your friends, and your neighbors. Say hello to the neighbor you don’t know but maybe want to know. Buy a plant, plant a plant. Grow a friendship, pay something forward. And come see us again next year! We'll be here to greet you!

Happy New Year!

George, Gail and Alex Africa

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