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It's My February Newsletter

Would you like time to pass faster? Me neither, but time flies when you decide you are going to send out a newsletter on the second Tuesday of the month. You wake up thinking you just sent a newsletter and now it is time for another one.

Just as a reminder, you signed up for this newsletter at either my blog, May Dreams Gardens or on my Carol J. Michel author website. If you are now thinking that you didn't mean to do that or after reading this you decide this email newsletter just isn't for you, please unsubscribe. I don't want to be yet another irritating email! I want to be your gardening friend, Carol.

So the clock... I bought it years ago to hang up in my office at work to remind me that time flies.  No, it didn't come with "time flies" written on it. I added it myself. So while my other co-workers stared at big, plain round-faced clocks, I gazed upon a clock with a constant reminder that time flies.  Maybe that's why I realized I should retire earlier than most people do? Time flies!


I've been a terrible blogger lately.  Poor May Dreams Gardens blog. I've left it to the garden fairies, and they are inherently lazy so aren't contributing as much as I had hoped.   

I intend to get back to blogging, probably following a schedule, which seems to work best for me. Yes, even in retirement, I like to have a bit of a schedule. Not a rigid "gotta be at work by this time" schedule, but a schedule that helps to provide an anchor to keep the ship of the day from just floating aimlessly on the water.

I don't like to look up at the clock and see that it's suppertime and wonder what I did all day.  But I do balk a bit when things get too scheduled! To take the boat analogy one more row out to sea, I like to look to the horizon, figure out where I want to go, and then try to get to that place. Sometimes I do that by rowing right to it, and other times I go by hoisting the sails and letting the winds carry me.   



More historical fiction! A friend recommended Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell. It is a fictional story about the wife and children of William Shakespeare. I read it in a 24 hour period. Loved it.

I also read another historical fiction book,The Light Over London, by Julia Kelly. In this book, the story alternates between characters and stories in the present and the past. They are linked, of course, and part of the story is showing how they are linked.  

Of these two types of historical fiction, I think for now I prefer those that fictionalize an event in the past without drawing the present into it. But I could change my mind depending on the book and the moment.

As always, I love book recommendations and often find out about some of my favorite books through friends' recommendations. I'm sort of in-between books at the moment after a strong start in January, so point me toward my next book! 

(Check out my Goodreads profile for more on my reading history.)


I've been walking.  No, really walking. A lot. According to the health app on my iPhone, a year ago I averaged less than 5,000 steps a day. Now I walk at least 10,000 steps each and every day, almost all outside. Yes, even in the winter. Even in the cold. Even in the drizzle. My motto is "there is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices."  I walk with a friend every day. We used to walk two times a day to get to 10,000 steps. Now we do it in one longer walk. 

There are just two things that keep me from walking on the sidewalks of the neighborhood. Ice is one of them. Bitter cold is the other one. I had a good streak of 10,000+ steps a day stretching back to at least October, until this Sunday when the high temperature was around 12ºF.  That's bitter cold so I decided skipping one day wouldn't set me back. On to the next streak!

By the way, It is all true what they say about walking. The physical fitness, the mental fitness, the improved stamina. All true! Plus I've met more neighbors by walking and I've learned almost all the names of the dogs in the neighborhood.

And, yes, there really is a horse pasture at the end of my street. 



The details!  So many details to attend to when you are self-publishing books. Every decisions is yours to make. The size, the cover, the color, the font, the artwork, the everything. It can be overwhelming but since I've done this before, I know what to expect. For my upcoming book, Digging and Delighted: Live Your Best Gardening Life, I've partnered with the same designer and artist I used for The Christmas Cottontail and set mid-March as the target date to pull it all together and hit "publish."  My goal is to have the new book in hand by Easter Sunday.  



While I was working on this newsletter, I got a text from Courtney who owns the greenhouse not far from here where I buy most of my plants.  "First Bloom!" is the caption she sent with the picture of the first little viola blooming in their greenhouses. (That's CourtsYard and Greenhouse if you are in the Indianapolis area. And that's a link to her Facebook page. I've begged her to set up a website and start an email newsletter but she hasn't had time to do that, yet. I'll keep trying to convince her!)

The picture is a reminder that time flies (see how that theme comes up again and again) and it won't be too many more weeks before I'm pulling up to the greenhouses in my truck to get my first flats of pansies and violas. It is tradition for me to be their first customer of the year. In the old days, they would message me on Facebook, but since I quit social media last summer, they'll send me a text instead. Does your greenhouse do that? Or do you got to a big box store to buy your plants, where they don't know you?

My dad was a big advocate for small, local businesses. Me, too. That's why I go to Court's to buy my plants. That's why I order seeds from smaller seed companies. That's why I go to the trouble of buying books from a local, independent bookstore. Do I buy everything from small businesses? No, of course not. That's almost impossible to do. But when there is a local business I can support, I do. Because they will support you right back. 

They'll text you when the first bloom pops up!

Wrapping Up

Well, time flies, and so I'm going to close this newsletter up with a picture of another jigsaw puzzle I put together. This is one of four in a series of puzzles with images of vintage seed catalogs from Eurographics Puzzles.  I have all four puzzles and have put three of them together and am working on the fourth one. I'm going to use a puzzle glue to preserve these, then frame them and hang them in my den.  That makes putting these puzzles together a home improvement project!

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter and found something useful in it. If so, tell your friends to subscribe and while you are at it tell them about the podcast, The Gardenangelists that I record every week with Dee Nash. New episodes come out every Wednesday morning at 12:00 am.

And as always, my books are for sale on my website or can be ordered wherever books are sold, including independent bookstores.  

With a shared love of gardening,
Carol J Michel Website Carol J Michel Website
May Dreams Gardens Blog May Dreams Gardens Blog

Copyright © 2021 Carol J. Michel, All rights reserved.

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