The Simple Life
By Sheryl Simons
"The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
"The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but
simply walking on this earth." ~~Thich Nhat Hanh
The warmer (not warm yet) weather has us in the mood for
spring. But just as soon as we say "no more snow days" we will have
another blast of winter. We really got lambasted last week, but now
the rain is melting it quick. We may have huge banks of snow along
the roadways, but there are lots of bare patches in the fields. Deer
are on the move again, squirrels are gathering salt along the road
edges, and bald eagles are scavenging winter meals before spring
beings small animals out in abundance.
Seeds are sprouting in windowsills, and spring bulbs won't be
far behind. Can you wait to see the bulbs that you planted last fall
come to brilliant bloom in that new flower bed? Right near my
greenhouse I dug a late fall bed and filled it with nice plump bulbs,
Muscari (grape Hyacinth) and daffodils and several shades of tulips.
It should bring a bright spot to that area of the yard.
I get a lot of people asking about tulips in the spring.
They are looking for alliums, tulips, hyacinths to plant. I hate to
tell them, but these are all planted in the fall. They must have the
winter cold to bring on the spring blooms. Sometimes you can find
plants that were forced in winter, that are fading and being sold
cheap in the late spring. There are no guarantees on these, but some
friends of mine swear that they will come back. Last year, for the
first time, I had an Easter Lilly bloom. It's been several years
since I planted it, but it finally gathered enough strength to come
back. Who knows? Maybe it will visit me each year now.
What kind of garden would you like? It's too late to plant
bulbs, but fingering through magazines, seed catalogs, or the
internet will give you some ideas. Would you like paths or one small
garden area? Or, would you like a big open space of grass with edges
of flowers and plants? One thing you don't want to do is just plunk
plants anywhere in the yard. This is much too hard to take care of.
One man I talked to was always complaining that his wife was mowing
his plants. When I saw his yard, I could see why! There were plants
everywhere, like a jumbled mess. I'd have been tempted to mow them
all and start over! Keep plants in a group or on the edge. Keep
edges easy to mow around. Edging makes it easy to define flower beds
from grass, and landscape fabric around plants makes it easier to
keep weeds down. There is now a spray that you can use to clean
grass out of walkways and between stepping stones.
If you have a garden full of weeds, sometimes it's easier to
take the plants out, and start all over with landscape fabric and re-
plant the plants. Just keep them in the shade while you are working,
or even put them in a tub with an inch or so of water. When you are
all done, cover with some mulch and you will only have a weed or two
Duct Tape or a Nail?
A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the
Pearly Gates. St. Peter says, "Here's how it works. You need 100
points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've
done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item,
depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get
in." "Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50
years and never cheated on her, even in my heart." "That's
wonderful," says St. Peter, "that's worth three points!" "Three
points?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported
its ministry with my tithe and service." "Terrific!" says St.
Peter. "That's certainly worth a point." "One point!?!!" "I started a
soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless
veterans." "Fantastic, that's good for two more points," he
says. "Two points!?!! "Exasperated, the man cries. "At this rate the
only way I'll get into heaven is by the grace of God." "Bingo, 100
points! Come on in!" We often try to fix problems with duct tape.
God did it with a cross.
* * * Simple Death-by-Chocolate Cookies * * *
1 c flour
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ pkg choc. chips
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cut up butter or soft margarine
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter or spray four cookie sheets.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
semisweet chocolate and butter in a double boiler over barely
Beat the eggs and granulated and brown sugars in a large bowl with an
mixer at high speed until creamy. Beat in the chocolate mixture and
in the dry ingredients, chocolate chips, pecans, and white chocolate.
3. Drop tablespoons of the dough 4 inches apart onto the prepared
cookie sheets. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten the cookies
slightly. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 8-10 minutes, or until
cracked on top. Transfer to racks to cool.
* * *
"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones
daily. Nobody can help everybody, but everybody can help somebody!"
It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is.
And when you've got it, you want-oh, you don't
quite know what it is you do want, but it just
fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
Our greatest glory is not in never failing,
but in rising up every time we fail.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Keeping it Simple,
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ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
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