Dear Sunday Letter friends,
February is flying by in typical short-month fashion. And you know what that means, right? Spring is almost here.
Some days we get a spring teaser, called ‘false spring days’ by Hemingway, and aren’t they so welcomed? I’m sure we will have a few more gray drizzly wintry days, but the false spring days help me get through the end of winter.
No matter what Mother Nature throws our way, the crocus know! Spring is only 29 days away.
A Curse and a Blessing
Raise your hand if you still have poinsettias blooming at your house.
I have two red ones, and they still look fantastic because I continue to water them regularly and give them bright light. I told myself they were perfect for Valentine’s Day because, red. But now I’m over them. Although they are healthy and pretty, I’m ready to lighten-up my house for spring and poinsettias are keeping that holiday vibe hanging around.
What to do?
I could compost them, although that’s hard for me when they look this good. I could move them to a less prominent place in the house and try to keep them alive until next Christmas. In more tropical zones, planted outside they will thrive quite nicely. But lo, I live in zone 6b. While we sometimes have tropical temperatures in August, in winter we often have temperatures like that of the frozen tundra.
So here’s my plan—I’ll move them to my over-wintering window upstairs and continue caring for them, because at this point it has become a challenge to see if I can make them last until 4th of July. (See? This is how my mind works.)
If you are trying to keep your poinsettias healthy through spring, make sure they are getting enough bright light and regular watering. (I water mine once a week.) Also, even though I still have the foil wrapper on, I take it off when I water it to make sure the water drains. I’m thinking about transplanting mine into proper pots to give them a better shot at summer.
Time will tell the story.
In the Department of Never a Dull Moment…
For three days last week, we had a critter trapped in the firebox of our chimney. He could climb up far enough to hide, but then when the house was quiet, he would come down and make a subtle rustling noise and rattle the chain of the flue.
At first, I thought he was a bird.
You know how a watched pot never boils? I watched and watched, sat right beside the fireplace screen and waited to see what was trapped inside. I couldn’t see anything, even with a lantern—it’s a very dark hole. And as long as I watched, all was silent. I began to wonder if I was imagining it. Or, if the wind had caused the rustling noise.
Of course, as soon as I moved away to do something else, the noise would return.
Finally, he made himself fully known to me.
This isn’t the first time a squirrel has tried to move into the house.
The situation has kept Gracie extremely busy.
This has occupied much of our week, a cat and mouse game played with humans, schnauzers, and a squirrel. If you’ve never played this particular game, it goes like this—we put the schnauzers outside, open the doors to the house, create an obvious exit path, open the fireplace doors, only to find the squirrel climbs higher in the chimney. I suppose he thought we were trying to serve him up for supper rather than release him back to his family.
Finally, yesterday morning, he came right out and exited through the front door. He had to be hungry and thirsty and as tired of us as we were of him.
This morning I wonder how he is and what he told his squirrel friends about us.
Book Club Fun
Y’all, I’ve had so much fun lately talking with book clubs about my new book, Bernice Runs Away. When my first book came out in 2016, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to talk to readers in book club settings. (Really, I had very few expectations because everything about being an author was new to me.)
Then, as book clubs began inviting me to meetings, what surprises me every single time is making personal connections, carrying readers’ stories home with me. There is ALWAYS a special connection with at least one book club member—either someone from Mississippi County (where I’m from), someone who knows a family member, a relative of someone I knew in college, a cousin of my husband’s, someone whose grandparents farmed near our homeplace.
Of course, Arkansas is a small state, and most of my book club talks are in-state (with a few in Tennessee and Texas). After approximately 60 book talks, I’m thinking every person is somehow connected to everyone else, we just don’t often have the opportunity to find out.
Thank you for the book club invites! I have two more this week in Little Rock and Dallas. I’m booking through 2024 if you want to invite me to your book club.
Three Small Things
Remember how we decided to celebrate the small things in 2023?
Today I am celebrating:
- yesterday’s Razorback basketball win;
- the crocus bulbs we planted last fall are beginning to bloom;
- a squirrel-free morning.
Things Momma Says:
If all we’ve got are eighty year olds to run for President, we are in trouble.
Thanks for reading, friends. I know this Sunday Letter is a brief one, but all my news this week seems quite uninteresting and as squirrelly as the weather (pun intended).
What small things are you celebrating today?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.