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Dear Reader:

Here we are at the winter issue and it hasn’t felt much like winter, except for that brief Arctic blast in November. As long as we get snow in the mountains, though, I’m OK with that.

Carolphoto_winter2014Besides snow, self-reflection is one other thing winter is good for. To bring the year that’s past into perspective, and the one that’s beginning into focus. I like to think about what I did last year that I could do better this year. And what I didn’t do last year that I could do this year.

At the top of the first thought is family and friends. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life and work and chores that we often don’t let the people we love know they are appreciated and valued in our lives. The holiday season is the time of year we set aside for expressing those sentiments, but I could be better about it year-round. Could you?

At the top of the second thought is trying new things. It’s easy to get caught up in routines that allow the unexamined life to slip by. What new things have you wanted to try? I just started yoga. You should try it!

The one thing I’ve tried for the past five years is volunteering weekly with Fritz at the Tebo Cancer Center. Sometimes it’s challenging—maybe I don’t have the time or maybe I’m feeling intimidated approaching strangers week after week. But in the end, every time, it’s always fulfilling and enlightening.

Patients are so appreciative and when you extend yourself (and your dog), you get a lot in return. I’ve heard so many wonderful stories from people whose lives are upside down and inside out. But they carry on cheerfully and determinedly in adverse circumstances. If there’s one thing you might consider trying this new year, try volunteering. It might bring a positive spin to your life, because most people are nicer than you might think and have more to offer than you may believe.

Another thing I tried this year that I’ve never done is grow a lime tree. I started the tree indoors last winter and spring, and though it bloomed profusely, it never got any limes. Then someone suggested it may need to be pollinated. So when spring came, out it went and the bees got to work. Now it’s producing the most flavorful limes. It’s like being in Mexico! With today’s cost of lemons and limes, it’s also a “fruitful” endeavor.

If you brought a citrus tree inside to overwinter, remember to pollinate the flowers yourself by gently dabbing each flower with a Q-tip to transmit the pollen from blossom to blossom.

If you’ve never grown any produce–producing plants indoors over winter, read this issue’s “Winter Greenery” article for tips on getting started. Believe me, it’s worth it.

It’s never too late to plan ahead for spring, either. Attend a seed swap and you’ll be ready to grow when the season starts (see “Deep-Seeded Beliefs”).

If, during winter reflections, you’d like to contemplate with a cup of tea in hand, read “To Tea or Not to Tea?” You’ll find out why it’s actually good “to tea.”

If you plan to start a household project during the garden’s downtime, check the “Resource Directory” on page 76 for a list of pros who can help you. And visit our newly redesigned website at www.homeandgardenmag.com for more fun ideas and to access stories printed in previous issues.

We hope you enjoy winter. See you in spring!

Sincerely,

Carol S. Brock
Editor
carol@brockpub.com

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