Sow There!: Take the lazy gardener pledge, then blame it on tryptophan Dec. 17, 2017

If you’re one of those people who thinks you need to do everything right for the holiday, you could be heading for a swim in the nut bowl.

Possible to-do list: Buy thoughtful gifts, decorate the tree, write holiday cards, bake cookies, ring the Salvation Army bell, host holiday party, attend community holiday events, dance like a crazy fool (Santa hat optional) at a Yule Logs concert …

By the time the actual holiday arrives, you’re conked out on the couch. Nope, it’s not the tryptophanfrom the turkey. You’re just exhausted from trying to be a holiday superwoman.

(Read more about the myth of tryptophan below.)

My vote is that if a holiday tradition involves more than an hour of work, includes idling in traffic or began when my Danish relatives landed in Minnesota, you can forget it happened. If you’re really nostalgic, you can record the tradition in a whimsical book intended for your ancestors.

Personally, I have new holiday traditions, like the aforementioned Yule Logs concert.

It was easy to delete “bake holiday fudge” from the to-do list. Each year I tried this silly maneuver I ended up gaining eight pounds. I still write holiday cards, but my excuse is that I’m a writer.

Yes, I’m getting old, but I think on this point I’ve also gained wisdom. If a tradition has me muttering “happy holidays” between clenched teeth, it’s no longer joy-filled.


Laziness. Busy-ness. Messy nester? No reason to feel bad. Some big names in wildlife and conservation have declared that leaving nature’s mess alone is good for the planet. In fact, they’re asking those of us who would rather watch Netflix than raise a rake to keep up the poor work.

The CornellLab, The Nature Conservancy and Habitat Network have asked us to take a Messy Gardening Pledge,

If you’re too lazy to check out the detail on your own, here’s the lowdown. The groups point out that native bees will make homes in your brush pile. Rotting leaf piles harbor insects, which become food for birds and rodents. If that doesn’t sound nice enough, how about the butterflies that can find homes in your garden detritus?

But wait, there’s more. If you sign up for the pledge, which actually takes just a bit of effort, you could win a Lazy Gardener Window Decal or a poster. The poster is really lovely. Either one could be covered up with dust in no time.

The group doesn’t advocate that you do nothing in your yard until old age. However, winter is a key time for critters that need places to hide and feed. Clean it up in the spring.


For decades, my family eats too much, plops in “The Blues Brothers,” and some of us fall asleep on the couch. No one blames the lovely red wine, they blame the tryptophan in the turkey.

Yes, tryptophan is a mood-changing amino acid contained in turkey, however, any other form of poultry contains just as much of the snoozy stuff.

We like to blame our food comas on eating turkey, but the reality is that we’re ready to zonk out on the couch because we stuffed ourselves silly.

I looked it up because I also believed turkey was to blame for the nodding off after the eggnog. WebMD had the not-so-skinny truth. The explanation is a bit complicated, but the bottom line is that the combination of poultry and carbs can cause your eyelids to struggle to stay open.

It takes a lot of energy to digest five handfuls of mixed nuts, two ounces of fancy cheese, a full plate of carbs and poultry and a tiny, tiny slice of eight desserts. If you’re like most folks, you might have washed it all down with a couple of glasses of booze.

By the time Uncle Ned is trying to head to his Jeep to drive back to Kansas, you can barely raise your head to nod goodbye.

Follow garden enthusiast Heather Hacking on Twitter. For email:, and snail mail, P.O. Box 5166, Chico CA 95927. You can also check out ancient articles at

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.