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New year, new attitude

Carol Ann Gregg planner and cards on desk
PLANNING AHEAD: A new year comes with a clean slate. Let’s start out with a positive attitude.
Farmhouse Window: It’s time to do some cleaning and get a fresh start to the new year.

We are about to change our calendars, update our pocket planners and enter a new year.

Remember when the thoughts of the year 2000 were so far into the future that we hardly believed that it would be real? Now we are entering 2023. How can that be?

Each morning when we open our eyes, we accept the gift of a new day. A new year gives us the possibility of 365 days to enjoy, share and learn.

This is a time for making plans to get through winter, planning for next spring and summer, and maybe even fall. My calendar starts out blank, but it quickly fills with doctors’ appointments, scheduled meetings and family activities.

I create to-do lists to help keep me on track. Have you decided on some household projects for this winter? I think I am going to work on decluttering drawers. Not a very exciting project, but I know I will fill a garbage bag or two.

After I married my husband in 1963, we built our own home. We moved in the Saturday before Easter in 1966. That is a long time to accumulate stuff. Some things are family treasures that the next generation isn’t going to care about. Others are mementos of trips and events throughout the years.

Our boys might find them interesting, but I am sure they aren’t going to want to keep them. What do you do with the boxes of slides taken years ago with that 35mm camera? We all have things that we don’t want to part with.

Some of us are forced to downsize. I hope we don’t have to go through that. How do you reduce nearly 60 years of your life from a three-bedroom house with a full basement and full attic to what would fit in an efficiency apartment?

Last spring, my daughter-in-law organized the storage in the basement that we call a fruit cellar. Amazingly, it still looks great. She took some stuff home with her. We dropped off several bags of assorted household items at the Salvation Army, and I donated canning jars in response to an email I had received.

A more pleasant winter project is planning next spring’s flowerbeds. The nurseries and seed companies know that January and February are dreary months. They send out catalogues full of colored photos to entice us to purchase more than we need. My goal is to grow plants as beautiful as the ones I see in these books.

I started a round flowerbed last year with the flowers in shades of pink and purple. Possible additions for next spring will be Russian sage and lavender. I have not had much luck with lavender in the past. Maybe in this new location it will thrive. I grew a few dahlias that were very pretty. I may add a couple of pink ones to the round bed.

Recently, I have experienced many acts of kindness from absolute strangers. I have been so grateful for someone holding a door, carrying my packages or standing back so that I can reach the bottom of a flight of stairs without incident. I hope that I can pass on these acts of kindness to strangers that I encounter.

Now for the real challenge: Clear the desk so that all this planning can take place. I have a wonderful office with plenty of storage. It is time for the clutter to go.

Be careful in the ice and snow, and cold weather. Warm the house with the smells of homemade soup and bread. Hold your loved ones close.

And Happy New Year!

Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and is a past president of American Agri-Women.

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