Sometimes you can get something for free.
Several weeks ago we harvested the morning glory seeds. Morning glories are among my favorite weeds. Theyre actually detailed in the Sunset Garden Books Problem Solver? book as an undesirable. One persons undesirable is another persons treasure.
Yes, I do yank them out of the ground unceremoniously when they start to choke the rose bushes. But I also cultivate them at the base of the trellis. In mid-summer, they are a marvel, reaching to the sky, weaving in and out of the tallest plants and somehow roping onto the birch tree.
About two weeks ago they withered in the cold weather and the papery pods of seeds were gnarled all over the high areas in the garden. We went out with a bowl and harvested the seed pods. Ill plant a bunch of them this year in specific spots, and am also offering official Sow There! seeds to readers.
I cant guarantee which colors you will receive. But if you e-mail your address, Ill pop a handful in an envelope for you, while supplies last.
Its safe to plant them around St. Patricks Day.
Finally this year were having a mostly gift-free Christmas. There are many reasons to go gift-free, the first being that people are broke. When youre broke its frustrating to try to buy for all the people you love. You think about your loved one and trudge out to the mall or cutesy shops downtown and discover that if you stay within your price range, you can afford diddly.
The point of a gift is that you want to find something that really fits the person you are buying for something that will make them say wow,? and feel warm and cozy that you really know them.
But then you come across one of those items, look at the price tag and feel miserable because you cant afford to buy it.
I remember years in the past when I would whip out the credit card on impulse. Id see something I thought my loved one would like and the purchase would equal half my grocery bill for the month. Then, Id feel badly when I didnt come across something equally perfect for another equally beloved relative.
I tend to think that Christmas extravagance should be saved for the children in our lives.
There are other reasons not to go hog-wild at holidays. Think of those embarrassing moments when the person opens the present and you can tell by the look on their face that theyre not impressed. Everyone makes nice and proclaims: Its wonderful,? how thoughtful,? how intuitive you are,? Its just what I need.?
But you know they cant really be all that impressed by the clearance rack apron with a picture of Sponge Bob on the front.
You see their eyes wander into your gift bag to see if there is something else in there something that actually might not be destined for the bag of things destined for the charity thrift store.
Next year when your sister is cleaning out her cupboards and offers you her giveaways, you see that bottle of overly-expensive bath salts you gave her three years ago.
We had good success with the drawing of names. That was actually really cool because youd call Auntie Jeanne and she would tell you what cool thing to buy Uncle Lars, or Mom would call and ask me for a short list of things to recommend to my cousin Rannvi, who had pulled my name.
My friend Thor has a concept that if you find something that someone would really want, something you see that instantly makes you think of that person you buy it and give it no matter what time of the year it is.
That seems far more civilized.
Pack on the pounds
This year my family has taken another step in the non-monetary celebration of the holiday and are only going to gift one another with perishables, i.e. baked goods.
Likely in a couple of months well refocus our family get-togethers to involve rigorous exercise to melt off the poundage we put on.
Holidays are already hectic with conjuring up thoughtful things to write in Christmas cards, arranging time off to travel and attending holiday parties.
Its really liberating this year to drive by 20th Street and take a side road to avoid all the mall traffic. I see all those minivans queued up to go to the mall and sort of chuckle to myself that Im not in that mess.
Instead, I got a few recipe books from the library and have been spending almost every night in the kitchen.
Theres so many treats in the freezer that theres basically no room in there to cram a frozen burrito.
Any readers who have some great and exotic recipes that dont require power kitchen tools or too much expertise, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment on the Sow There! blog at www.norcalblogs.com/sowthere.
My family will appreciate it, as will readers.
I am, however, working on a present for Tommy. He works outside and I decided to make him a scarf. He was a little reluctant when I asked him if he would wear a scarf when he went out on the job. I think he thought I wanted to lend him my purple fleece one. But his eyes got a little misty when I asked him if he would wear a scarf if I made him one.
I dont have time in my day to hide my needle and yarn, so Im making it blatantly in front of him when we watch TV or drive in the car. Plus, I wanted him to approve of the color and texture. I picked out the Atlanta Braves blue yarn and plan to add some Atlanta Braves red. Its slow coming and I likely wont be done until January.