HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  A LOOK BACK AND A LOOK AHEAD

The week between Christmas and the New Year is always a time of reflection for me.  To think about everything that happened this year and my hopes for the new year.  It continues to be a time a change and adjustment for me.  January 7 will mark the two-year passing of my dear Murray.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of him.  I find great comfort and encouragement here on the farm that Murray built.  I continue to work full-time at my beloved Bradley University.  My home away from home.  My job keeps me focused and engaged and the individuals I work with are more than a wonderful group of amazing, supportive co-workers, they are my friends.  And I am blessed beyond belief and words to have the best family ever!!!  My children, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and sisters – this motley crew has been here for me for whatever I needed.  They have kept me laughing, took me on trips, supported my crazy ideas, and lifted me up when I was feeling down.  They have given me the confidence that I can do this.

The biggest change in 2022 was the new John Deere tractor and tiller which made flower planting much easier.

We planted the flowers in rows that ran north to south with wide grassy walk-ways in between.  This made mowing much easier.  Weeds continue to be a problem and our goal this year is to find a way a solution to this problem.  I don’t want to go to landscape fabric so am considering other alternatives.  We learn something new each year and will continue to improve the process.

Some of the first flowers in 2022.

Flowers on the cart in July.

August flowers on the cart. The flowers were beautiful and I sold out almost every day!!!

The Illinois State Fair was back in full force this past August.  I entered 10 items and was so pleased with four first places and a third place.  My Lemon Cake Box Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies and Snickerdoodles all received first place.  My Blackberry Jelly received a third place.

I have always wanted to enter the State Fair Cookie Jar contest.  This year, I did.  And thanks to my sister Kathi for her creative ideas and for accompanying me to drop off the entries and to pick them up, to our good friend Deb from Rubbish to Rubies for the tin work, to my sister Carla for driving us to Iowa to pick up the tin leaves and the bee on the top of the jar, and my six different kinds of cookies, we came up with this.

And it won first place!!!  A very good year for me at the State Fair.

In mid-October we closed our season with our annual Fall Festival.  Here’s my grandson Henry in front of the pumpkin cart.  Later that evening we had a family wiener roast that included fireworks (thanks to Bill!).  A great time was had by all.  Henry requested that we have such a party again for Halloween and Thanksgiving with fireworks of course!!!

What’s in store for next year?  Well, hopefully tulips and daffodils.  We planted several hundred bulbs this fall.  Hoping that I have a beautiful crop of early spring flowers.  I will certainly keep you posted.  I will also be planting lots of zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, and marigolds along with several varieties of pumpkins. 

We have one more piece of equipment we need to purchase – a mower for the tractor.  This will help in mowing the roadsides, around the machine shed, and the flower patches. 

I am also going to explore the world of decorated cookies.  I have not had much experience with cut-out cookies and decorating techniques so that is something that I am going to explore. 

I also hope to post at least one blog per month. 

And of course eat more healthy foods and lose weight!!!

All in all, it has been a good year for me.  I am truly blessed and thankful for all of the many blessings and people in my life.

I wish all of you a very happy, healthy and safe New Year.

And thank you so much for your support of my little flower cart on Grange Hall Road.

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

Pat

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