Dear Sunday Letter friends,
Do you ever have one of those weeks when you feel like you accomplished very little? When you felt out of sync with everything? That’s how last week was for me. I have nothing to whine about, not by a long shot, but let this serve as a reminder that some days (weeks) aren’t filled with rosebuds and optimism no matter what our Instagram feed would have us believe. Some days are quite the opposite.
And that’s okay.
Last week brought a smorgasbord of (mostly undesirable) weather to northwest Arkansas. We had freezing drizzle, and gray skies, and crazy wind that sent limbs flying from the treetops. Thankfully, we enjoyed a few hours of sunshine, too, which I tried to soak up as best I could. My plants tried as well.
This time of year my kitchen is more greenhouse than food prep area. My plants line the kitchen counter, stare out the window, and watch for spring. I swear sometimes I think I can hear them stretching toward the sun.
Compared to other folks across the country, we’ve been lucky with our mere taste of winter weather. Evidently, it only takes a teaspoon a day for me to suffer cabin fever.
How Does Your Lichen Grow?
There’s a fungus among us and it’s happy and thriving during winter. Lichen prefers winter. It grows in cold weather and goes dormant during summer.
What exactly is lichen? It’s the living result of a partnership between algae and fungus. The fungus provides living space, minerals and moisture; the algae provides food. Lichens are very slow-growing and sensitive to environmental conditions such as air pollution. Based on the amount of lichen growing in our backyard and within our neighborhood, I think we have a pretty healthy environment.
There are 15,000 varieties of lichen across the world and approximately 300 in Arkansas. Something you may not know—lichens are essential in soil formation and rock breakdown, provide food for a variety of creatures (including Santa’s reindeer!), and have been used medicinally through the years including in the formation of antibiotics.
The next time you bundle up and go outside, make a point to notice this under-appreciated, cool plant growing on rocks, on tree bark, all over!
Paint by Numbers
Speaking of cabin fever, when my sister and I were kids, we spent many a winter day hunkered over the kitchen table creating Paint by Number pictures. Did you?
It was SO MUCH FUN!
Horses and landscapes and flowers and lake scenes. Each box contained two canvases (I think) along with the pots of paint and paintbrushes needed to create masterpieces.
Wouldn’t it be fun to try again?
Just before Christmas, I ordered two kits online via My Paint By Numbers. I envisioned hours of holiday fun, maybe even painting again with my sister.
Well, the kits took much longer to arrive than I anticipated. My first order got hung up in customs (I kid you not) so the company sent me another order which I received a couple of weeks ago. Finally, last week I dipped my brush into paint.
My initial impression: like most toys and games and activities of the 1960s and 1970s, newer is not better. The paints are thick, the canvas is a rolled fabric canvas and not a board like the ones of my childhood. I can’t blame the manufacturer for the condition of my eyes, but dangnabbit, my eyes have to strain to see the tiny numbers and tiny slivers of paintable areas. LOL.
Honestly, Day One was exasperating. But by Day Two I’d figured out a few tricks of the trade. Now I’m having fun with it.
It may be next winter before I finish because I only do about 30-45 minutes a day. But as I hoped, this is a great winter day activity, perfect for when I don’t want to write.
Something I’ve been thinking about… What happened to all those beautiful Paint by Numbers Staci and I did years ago? I’ve not seen any of our artwork tucked away at home in the Bat Cave where everything lives. Hmmm.
Bring Back the Headscarf!
On Thursday when the wind gusted to 40 MPH, it became evident to me that we need to bring back the headscarf. You know, the headscarves our grandmothers and mothers wore that tied underneath their chins, a thin nylon square of fabric that protected their beauty-shop hairdos against the elements for an entire week at a time? Ladies always had one in their pocketbooks. There was a plastic version for rain, too.
Jackie O looked glamorous when she wore them.
Fashion always circles back, right?
Things Momma Says
If it ever stops raining, I’m going to put my rain-gauge back out.
Thanks for reading today’s Sunday Letter.
Before I go…1) how do you combat cabin fever? 2) did you do Paint by Numbers as a kid?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.