The scent of an old fashioned climbing rose is the very essence of a May day. I have such a rose at one corner of my vegetable garden. It’s an offshoot of the vine that grew near the house 57 years ago when Dick and I moved to the farm.

Local stores such as Dollar General and Ingles are doing what they can to provide safe environments for shoppers and employees.

As you read this, I hope, despite the difficulties encountered in adhering to safe at home and social distancing measures, you’re heeding the medical experts’ advice and are taking steps to limit potential exposure to COVID-19.

Despite canceling in-person services, First Presbyterian Church in Lenoir City plans on continuing its community garden.

The peas are in the ground. That statement should have exclamation points after it and stars surrounding it. Getting the first furrows dug in the garden and dropping shriveled peas into the good black earth marks the beginning of another year of gardening.

The Great Backyard Bird Count was held in the middle of February. Sometimes the chosen weekend is rainy and foggy, making it difficult to identify any but the most readily recognizable birds — cardinals, blue jays, doves, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers.

Through the ups and downs of cold and mild weather, rainy and not-as-rainy days, I’ve had some cheery companions. A stack of seed catalogs remains close at hand, available for dreaming as much as for ordering.


New farming methods involving drones are gaining popularity across Tennessee.

Dick cut and brought in last week a few stems of forsythia decorated with several flowers and numerous tight yellow buds ready to burst. He placed the stems in a water glass and put it on the windowsill in the kitchen where, day after day, I’ve watched another and then another flower open.

As I write this, January is six days old, and yet red bows and other traces of the holiday shine forth in the living room or hide out in forgotten corners in the other rooms of the house.

As you read this, light has begun her slow return here in the northern hemisphere. Dec. 21 marked the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. From here on until June when we reach the summer solstice, the days will grow longer and longer.

The recent snows chose to skip over us here in the valley, but from the windows in our breakfast nook, Dick and I gaze out on snow-tipped mountains — a suitable decoration for any holiday gathering.

I’m sure many of you, as I am, are elbow-deep in pie crust and cornbread and chopped veggies for dressing. Stacks of freshly ironed linens and extra plates for your guests stand ready to go on the table. You, like me, probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

We waited as long as we could, but when we were looking at overnight lows in the upper 20s, followed this week by even colder temperatures, we decided it was time.

It seems appropriate here at the end of October to write a column about ghostly goings-on, eerie happenings and unsolved appearances of those who have departed. My storehouse of such stories is limited, but not totally empty thanks to one of my aunts.

The crunch underfoot provided the first real hint of fall. Dead leaves had drifted down from the trees — not the wild colors we longed for, but brown, depressing leaves. At least, underfoot they sounded like fall.

Most afternoons, despite the lingering summer heat, Dick and I stroll across the lawn, the grass for the last few weeks crunching beneath our feet. Our destination is the grape arbor where muscadines hang in sweet clusters beneath the shady vines.

According to meteorological accounting, fall arrived this past Sunday. At this time of year, I prefer to live by a calendar ruled strictly by the occurrence of equinoxes and solstices.

I have long believed that when all other plant life is gone, kudzu will remain, perhaps accompanied by poison ivy and non-native honeysuckle. I am now convinced morning glory vines will hang in there with the others.

July slipped away and August stepped onto the stage with barely a ripple from the audience — at least that almost unnoticed change was true for the Green household.

The battle against the mice has abated a bit. Dick and I finally resorted to old-fashioned wooden spring-type traps, the kind we grew up using. We managed to catch two mice, both in the same spot beneath the kitchen sink.

Few things are more pleasant than an early summer morning spent weeding the herb bed, the aroma of rosemary and sage rising around me each time I brush against the bushes.

Spring brings to life more than trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetable plants. With warm weather, the animal population on our hilltop is awakening and venturing out.

Like many of you, Dick and I are still drying out from the torrential downpour of a week-and-a-half ago. Despite living on top of a hill, we had standing water around our lawn and a flooded cellar.

To everything there is a season, the writer of Ecclesiastes declares, and it appears lately the season for daffodils to bloom is mid- to late-February. I’ve decided to learn from the wisdom of the ages and to quit stewing over what seem to me unseasonable occurrences in nature.

When the last guest has gone home, the final gift bag has been emptied, the refrigerator that once held so many surprises is littered with leftovers, greenery that smelled good and enlivened the house for several weeks has begun to turn brown around the edges and decorations that looked beau…

It’s that time of year again. While snow or sleet may pile up outside, a happier accumulation is taking place indoors. The annual avalanche of seed catalogs has been underway for several weeks now, and what a welcome inundation it is.

As I write this, snow is falling in large wet flakes. The juniper bush, boxwoods and nandinas cradle snow clumps along their limbs, and the baskets of evergreens that decorate our front stoop during the Christmas season are frosted with the white stuff.

Only now has November begun to live up to Thomas Hood’s poetic description: “No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, / No comfortable feel in any member — / No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, / No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! / November!”

It all started with the task of setting the clocks back, the annual fall back of time, the return of that hour of sleep we last spring sacrificed to the architects of daylight saving time.

I had thought this might be a column lamenting the lack of fall color. However, as we knew would happen sooner or later — and this year it turned out to be much later — the trees are taking on their autumn hues.

The bad news was tempered with a little good. I read recently that ladybugs, stink bugs, kudzu bugs and boxelder bugs are currently in search of ways into our dwellings where they can safely ride out the winter storms.

It’s astonishing how rapidly the moon rises. Dick and I watched the August full moon over Watts Bar on the evening of Aug. 26. Within a few quick minutes, our view changed from a small spot of light on the horizon to a full orange moon riding low in the sky with a corresponding yellow pathwa…

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