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February 11, 2013

I always figured Valentines Day was made up by Florists and Greeting Card Companies as another way to make money.

Over priced cards and way over priced flowers.

Not to mention chocolates and other stuff.

Oh well, the benefits are usually worth the effort :-)

And say, why don't guys get flowers or chocolates?

Just asking is all.

Anyway, A Happy Valentines Day later this week.

We will be going out for dinner that night.

Not too romantic, as Yolanda comes with us.

Speaking of Yolanda.

She is going on week three of the crud.

Flu or bad cold, it always hits her hard and takes a long time to leave.

For new readers, Yolanda is our special needs, adult child.

Brain injured, legally a Quadriplegic, and messed up in other ways, from a severe auto accident several years ago.

No matter, the Lord has blessed us with her every day.

Daylight has grown by a good hour since the winter solstice, at least it has in my little corner.

Winter continues as does the snow (better late than never).

Real snow (not lake snow) is important for water tables and lake levels.

I actually think snow is pretty.

It sure brightens all the cloudy days.

13 of the past 15 days have recorded zero percent sun.

It does become a challenge, especially when 'Seasonal Affect Disorder' (SAD) is a real issue, and I struggle with sometimes.

Birds know when a storm is coming.

I remind you and others a couple times a year, that birds ares super sensitive to 'Barometric Pressure'.

The drop in pressure puts birds in a feeding frenzy and they know when to head for cover.

If you didn't watch or listen to the weather, you can pretty much tell by observing wildlife.

A reminder, The Great Backyard Bird Count is this weekend.

Take a few moments and become a Citizen Scientist.

I'm not suggesting we have a lot of Northern cardinals, but we do okay for a northern location.

This is but one section, sometimes they are spread across the back like this in great numbers.

February is usually when cabin fever really kicks in.

The longing to work in the yard and garden,

The smell of the earth.

You know what I speak.

February seems to be a popular month for ordering from seed and nursery catalogs.

I confess I finished up some orders this past week and will this week.

There are always the oldies but goodies, and for me......................

Try something new or different each year.

This year I ordered 'Meadow Blazingstar' (Liatris ligulistylis) and 'Prairie Dock' (Silphium terebinthinaceum) for the native gardens.

I'm going to take a try and growing and pickling Pepperoncini Peppers, just for something else to do.

I like Pepperoncini Peppers.

New challenges, even little ones are important.

Any new challenges in your plans?

When it comes to purchasing plants and seeds, what we want or what our eyes see is often much more than our gardens can handle.

I know all too well, what it is like to have more seedlings than I can possibly plant.

I also know all too well, what it is like to have a total crop failure.

It is wise to plant more than you can grow.

Most of you can always find a friend or neighbor to share with.

Just don't get carried away, unless that is your objective.

Another task for all gardeners, especially the new or inexperienced gardener is to plan ahead.

Whether you plant veggies, a flower garden or a wildlife garden, plans are a must.

If you don't have a map of your gardens, draw up a general layout.

Graph paper always works best.

Each little square can represent a square foot or maybe three square feet (meter).

Know your plants.

Most gardeners plant seeds or buy young or baby plants.

Cute aren't they?

All babies grow up, plan your gardens as if the plants (perennial or annual) are mature plants.

Too often we plant things close together.

Not only do your plants suffer from over crowding........

Diseases become a major player in gardens where too much moisture and not enough air circulation takes place.

This is often due to planting too close.

Plants need air to circulate.

Plants too close together steal water and nutrients from each other.

If you are planning a new perennial of wildlife garden, and you are using mostly perennials, go ahead and plant a few annuals in between until your perennials and shrubs can fill in a bit.

Look for disease resistant plants.

Now get ordering and planning :-)

Above I mentioned how important snow is for water tables.

Snow is also vital as an insulator (I mention this every winter).

This winter has been difficult for many (weather wise).

Temperatures fluctuate.

Rain and subzero temperatures with little or no snow.

Many of our perennials need snow to protect from the harsh cold temperatures.

Even when air temperatures touch zero Fahrenheit , ground level temps will be a comfortable 30 or so degrees (0 C.)

Now you know how effective igloos are as an insulator.

I learned this past week just how effective snow is as an insulator.

Mentioned in our local paper (Grand Rapids Press)

A science teacher in Arizona did some computing and determined that a 10 inch layer of snow has the same value as 6 inches of fiberglass insulation with an R-18 rating.



A good layer of snow on a roof suggests good insulation.

If needed, shovel the snow on some of your prized plants (if you have snow).

I'm sure I lost some plants this winter due to lack of snow and very cold temperatures.

Roots and crowns are killed of if not protected.

Add to that warmer temperatures that may have caused swelling.

A good formula for plant kill off.

Well, it is time for me to fly for now.

Before I go here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is within you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.

Helen Hayes(1900-1993)
American Stage/Film Actress

Knowledge is good

Knowledge of the Lord is better.

Read what God has to say.

my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children."

Hosea 4:6

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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