Hi, Dear Reader!
Isn't this weather grand? Just when we thought the snow would never go away, we FINALLY get above freezing temps (just barely) and the snow starts to disappear. It's so great when the snow continues to disappear through the night. What a difference it has made! And maybe 50 degree temps by Friday! Welcome Spring!

I've been doing so much and haven't had the time to share it all with you. So here goes....
In January, there was a special meeting for Organic farmers and gardeners at the Specialty Product Conference in Springfield. We're forming the Illinois Organic Growers Association. I gave a short presesntation on the importance of Organic Education Centers to be included in the new Illinois Organic Growers Association (IOGA) at that conference. Since then, I have been busy putting together a pamphlet on How to Handle Pesticide Drift Issues with Anita Poeppel who spoke on this subject at the same conference. Tomorrow I will meet with Jack Erisman who owns the largest organic operation in Illinois (2000 acres) south of Decatur. It's exciting to be starting a new - and much needed - organization. If you would like to see anything included in our topics, dear Reader, please send your comments along. We welcome them all!  Also, if you would like a copy of our pamphlet, please email for one and I will get it to you. 

I've transplanted some plants from my first seed tray and am about to start some more seeds. I can hardly wait until I'm in the garden! Speaking of gardens, I am starting new gardens this year and letting my older gardens rest.

I wish I had some pictures with green grass and leafy trees for you, but you'll have to bear with me as I show more photos of the land in winter. The first two photos show Chris and Smitty back again this past weekend, along with Smitty's brother and friend. I wasn't here when another one of Chris' friends brought his children out to ice fish. They didn't stay long as no one caught any fish. Smitty says that''s typical of this time of year. They did see a huge bass go by their hole, though. Just taunting them, I guess!

The last photo on the first row is a shot of the new garden-to-be. Doesn't look like much, does it!

The next photos are of the seed tray and the new transplants. The little seedlings took the transplanting well. I think they should be growing faster, so will have them checked out at a lab. They are cute, however, and I talk to them all the time. (I can't help it!)

Last Friday I took a walk in the (then) deep, deep snow. Every step I plunged down quite  far. The rest of the photos show what I saw on that walk: JJ's chapel under snow, and the plaque we have for him that I uncovered. Also included is the outhouse - excuse me - the "tool shed" behind JJ's chapel in what we call JJ's nursery (Jack and JJ planted these trees when JJ was one year old).

The next row shows "alien" footprints (taken before the fishermen returned) and damaged pine trees. The Illinois Department of Agriculture concluded there was no spray drift damage done to my trees last spring, but I beg to differ!

So there you have it! Lots going on, and I have even more exciting news, but it will have to wait a bit. Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful spring-like day, dear Reader!


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