Oh hey, hello, thanks for popping in to see what’s going on at lasflechas-dot-farm; this first week of January has been dominated by addressing envelopes and jotting quick notes to my people — long-time friends, former colleagues from two different careers, family members near and far, new peeps, some of Maddy’s peeps, some of Vicki’s too (their people are my people) — and I’ve invited everyone to come check out this quiet, dusty blog.

So yes, Happy New Year. My intention is to pour some life into a dusty blog. A real audience motivates me, so here we are. I’ve asked you to come, and here I sit, writing to you. I imagine you in my mind’s eye, and I’m working to speak right to you.

Before I get going, let me just say: Retirement, yes. Yes, yes, yes. I loved working and I especially loved teaching, but retirement is what I was born for. (Why don’t they tell you this on Career Day?) I love shaping my days however I like, working hard, or lazing around with Pete. And thank goodness for Pete, and for the chickens — they make sure I get up and out, every day.

Speaking of chickens…the chickens are on winter break, and our little white Leghorn, Yvie Oddly, is the only one laying eggs through these short, cold, grey days. I’m grateful for her (paltry) three eggs a week. Paltry poultry. Let’s see how things shape up once the days get noticeably longer and warmer; I hope to get 6-7 new babies this spring, and when those new girls reach maturity, we’ll be rolling once again in those rich, golden-yoked eggs. Not so long ago, the girls were producing more eggs than Vicki and I could use, but now it’s back buying organic eggs at the grocery store. Like city folk.

It’s cold and rainy this week, but I’ve got a tall stack of good seed catalogs, full of exciting pictures.

Here’s how it goes — I don’t even like Okra all that much, but find myself studying these gorgeous photographs of Okra, trying to remember why I don’t like it, then poring over growing conditions, days from seed to harvest, soil and sun preferences, etc. It feels like anything is possible, that any seed I put into the ground will grow, develop, and fruit. I’ve learned differently, but still…I believe. (I won’t be planting Okra though. I have limited garden bed space, so I only grow what I love to eat*, and Okra ain’t it.)

[*Exception:  decorative gourds.  I had them in the 2022 garden and have no idea why I didn't include them in 2023.]

Right now, growing in the winter garden is something new for me: garlic. I have three beds planted and a secret hope that I will be able to make a garlic braid — but a braid seems ambitious for a garlic rookie, don’t you think? Maddy says I am an optimistic gardener, and I guess I am. I secretly think everything will grow and thrive. And why not? “Seed, meet soil, sun, and water. Now, you do you.” Everything wants to grow. There are no slackers in a seed packet. Duds, maybe, but no slackers. There’s a difference.

The unoccupied growing beds are mulched with straw and oak leaves (oak leaves I happen to have in abundance) — they’re rain soaked, a little mushroomy, quietly waiting for spring. I’d like to be an Elliott-Coleman-Four-Seasons-Harvest kind of gardener, but I’m not there yet. Still trying to figure that out. I don’t have a green house or a hoop house, or a cold frame, but luckily I do have a most excellent sun room, which is where the seedlings will start this spring, (located adjacent to the baby chick corral).

Maybe the secret to blogging is knowing when to stop. Nobody wants to read long rambling posts about anything. I’ll tell you about the bees next time.

Here’s a thing though: I am working on my Chromebook that I inadvertently slammed into the floor like a WWF boss. You know one of those moments when you try to save something from falling and end up smashing it down instead. My track pad is no longer functional, so I got a cheap little mouse, and it’s not working perfectly. I am struggling to type and keep the weird little boxes that are mysteriously popping open to a minimum, but these Chromebook/mouse shenanigans are doubling the time it takes me to do what I want to do. Hopefully, I’ll get this technology thing worked out by the next time we meet.

Ahem. I’m not sending another card until 2025 or 2026 🙂 so please just bookmark this spot and come back in a month or so. That’s my modest goal: monthly posts, more if I can.

I’ll post on social media when there’s new content up.

One last thing, this last bit about writing…

In 2022, at my instigation, five of us local ladies — neighbors and friends and sisters — started meeting together once a month to share writing. It’s been a revelation, getting to know each other in this way. In this small group, made up of five friends who happen to live near one another — (talk about serendipity) — we have discovered evocative, funny storytelling, moving memoir pieces, and stunning poetry. I am more convinced than ever that many people are walking around chock full of rich experiences and insights, tales that need to be coaxed out, shaped up, and shared. But we fail to take ourselves and our stories seriously, fail to believe that what we have to say matters, and these insecurities keep us from getting it down on paper. I know this well; it is the story of my life as a writer. But bringing our stories forward is a source of great satisfaction and dare I say it? inner peace. EVERYONE needs a writing group, or a woodworking community, or a musical instrument, or a bunch of yarn addicts to talk and work with, or a sewing room, or a place to draw and paint. Don’t wait until retirement to carve out a creative space for yourself. It’s hard when you’re working. It is. But another life that is yours is calling.