Looking ahead, St. Patrick's Day is the traditional time to plant peas and potatoes. Seeds are in the stores and garden shops, so pick the kind you like best, prepare your plot -- if the rain and snow and cold ever allow you to do so.
Somewhere I have the peas I bought last year and never got into the ground. I would like to do better this season, but won't hold my breath. I am looking at all the seed catalogs that are coming in, much like Christmas ones in December. I have narrowed my picks down to ground cherries, hops, blueberries, cranberries and would like English cucumbers but haven't found the seeds. Will I order anything, I don't know.
I really don't like to start seeds, not when I can buy plants at the nursery. If I could buy cotton plants I would do that too. I know better than to do much, will get tired and let the weeds take over. I can't start a new garden. Two things would happen, everything would be mowed down, or Josh would tell me to get someone else. I don't want to do it myself, and finding someone is a pain. So what ever I get will have to go into the already existing ones.
One of the catalogs has bamboo. Wonderful stuff. I wanted to send them a warning, don't sell it to any one, it is a toxic plant, unless the buyer has a panda and so far China and zoos refuse to sell one to an individual. Only $22.99 each plant, and thousands to get rid of it.
It's Girl Scout cookie time! Since the first time I sold them I have loved Thin Mints. Second favorite is the Scottish shortbreads. Don't think they make them anymore, or not as good as they used to be. What you get depends on the council your Scout lives in. Kidlet has different ones that the girls here. In 1917 a troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them as a service project. In 1922 a recipe for cookies was printed in the Girl Scout magazine suggesting that troop bake and sell them to support their troop activities. In 1936 the national organization started working with commercial bakeries. Girl Scouts in southern Illinois are some 10,000 strong in 40 counties. Cookie sales fund many of their activities. Cookies are available through March. If you don't know a Girl Scout, ask at work, church or friends. I know they are usually outside Walmart on Saturdays.
I read that to help potatoes bake faster soak them in hot water for 15 minutes. Does it work? I'm not sure. I have done so a couple of times. I have nothing to compare to, since I only bake one at a time. Would be interesting to have a couple of similar size, soak one, then bake them both. Squeezing a baking potato is not a good indication of doneness. Stick it with a food thermometer, when it reads 210 degrees, the potato should be done all the way through. I got a carryout dinner last week. I ordered a baked potato. When I got home, the butter had melted. I smush my potato, then butter it. Poured on that which was melted. Wonderful! I am going to melt it from now on.
The Born Loser: Son, "Ha, Ha." Father, "What's so funny?" "I was channel-surfing and came across this new show I'd never seen before. It's the funniest show ever. It's called 'The Andy Griffith Show'!"
I have watched "M*A*S*H*" so many times that I can recite along with the actors. Have a friend who plans her workouts so that she is home from the gym in time to watch "Gunsmoke." I find the genre of "The Simpsons" and "American Dad" offensive, stupid and unfunny. Thank goodness for the shows we grew up with, makes TV watching fun! (Do like "The Big Bang Theory," so not all new are awful.) We do not like most of the remakes. Just goes to show that we like the shows we grew up with, not the new ones. How can one enjoy "Hawaii Five-O" without Jack Lord?
Spring may be on the way, but the days are still dark and gloomy. Though I have noticed that it is light at 4:30 now. Until the sun decides to shine again, try some of these to lighten your winter blahs. People who wake up to flowers report a better mood. So place a vase of tulips or daisies on your bedside table, or on your kitchen table so you smile while eating breakfast. Smiles actually spur a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing hormones like dopamine and serotonin that increase feelings of happiness and reduce stress. Even a fake smile helps.
When you find ways to brighten your days physically you'll literally feel brighter. Wear a colorful shirt or scarf. Buy a pen with green ink or some turquoise sticky notes. Get a couch pillow in sunny yellow or tangerine. Just a few shades of difference in your everyday items can make life feel more vivid all around.
"There's something about getting in shape that makes you feel better. It's been a whole regime change for me, but it's nice not throw your back out every time you pick up your kids." (J. Krasiniski)
• Elizabeth Woodworth lives in Harrisburg.