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Another rainy day

November 30, 2015

it was still raining when we got up this morning but it was supposed to exit the state by noon. While the rainstopped mid-day, it remained gloomy and even misty off and on. Then we got thunder and lightening tonight with a few more sprinkles.  All-in-all we have gotten over 7 inches since Friday. I am ready for some sunshine. 

Today we started the interview process for one of two new horticulture specialists we are hiring. We are getting a specialty crops (fruits and vegetable) specialist and a Horticulture IPM specialist. Todays candidate did an excellent presentation on strawberry production. I also got to spend some time with her on my own. 1 down and 4 more to go over the next few weeks.  


I can’t wait to have more horticulture specialists to work with!

Rain and Decorating

November 28, 2015

Instead of black Friday, I think we should call it Wet Friday. . .Saturday & Sunday! Whew have we had the rain. So far at my house today we have had 3.19 inches, adding to the 1.97 yesterday and in two days we have over 5 inches of rain, and more is predicted tomorrow. I am thinking of building an ark! While the rain definitely put a halt to gardening or outside decorating, it made you happy to stay at home and do inside things. I have been decorating and decorating. Except for the little stuff to spread around, and the yard if it ever dries out, I am done! I have consolidated boxes and bags and they are waiting to go back up to the attic. christmas decorating (7) It has been relatively stress-free except for the lights. Whoever invented holiday lights must have had a sadistic side. I am sure there is something installed which makes half of them not work the following year. It seems that every year I have to run to the store to buy replacement lights, and this year was no exception. The change however is all the choices. It used to be you had to choose from white or colored lights, but now you have all sorts of options from LED to miniatures, twinkling, remote-controlled, icicles, candy canes, battery-powered, and on and on. I did find a small LED tree that plugs into the computer so the office is not forlorn. christmas decorating (8)
I came back from the run for lights with a huge assortment and worked on the tree and a few more areas. I wish I had taken a before picture of the tree–it is quite old and looked it before the decorations and lights were added. It is amazing what a little bling can do for all of us! christmas decorating (3) I turned on everything and it was looking promising christmas decorating (4)

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christmas decorating (6)until I plugged in the hallway and nothing happened. Not a single light came on and I am fresh out of lights! Well one more trip tomorrow. The problem is, that you don’t just buy one more light kit, you come home with a car full of stuff. Well, tis the season.
I have not done present shopping yet, but the decorations are almost done. I hope you have had a great holiday weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! thanksgiving 201508

thanksgiving 201509I hope you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, or are possibly still eating! The weather feels more like Easter than Thanksgiving, but rain is coming. I was tempted to turn the air conditioner back on, since it was so hot in the kitchen, but no one but me was too hot, so I suffered through. I do think this was the easiest Thanksgiving meal I have ever cooked. We normally eat mid to late afternoon, but with some members coming from Hot Springs who had to get back and work, we were shooting for noon. I decided to cook everything but the turkey yesterday, then just reheat it all. What an inspiration. The kitchen was cleaned up and everything was ready at the same time! This will be an annual tradition. We had 17 and food was flying out. thanksgiving 201502

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thanksgiving 201506 Everyone had a seat and I served buffet style–shock, shock, but with that many people it makes it easier. thanksgiving 201505

thanksgiving 201507
After everyone left, I got the kitchen back in order and am making turkey stock from the carcass. As an added bonus, my son and husband got all my Christmas decorations out of the attic. It looks sort of like Armageddon in the living room, but tomorrow I will put up the Thanksgiving decorations and begin on the next holiday. It will be sort of like Christmas when you see all the decorations again.

I have much to be thankful for. I have a great family, wonderful friends and a job I adore, due in a huge part to the people I work for and work with and the clients we serve. I do have the best volunteers in the country–if not the world! Thanks to you all!

Delta MGs

November 24, 2015

It was a nice drive today down to Hamburg for the MGs of the Delta monthly meeting. It was an early morning commute, so I missed all the downtown traffic. I was glad it was daylight though on the roads down south, as I passed 6 dead deer on the side of the roads. This small but mighty group hosted the state MG conference in Monticello a few years ago, and it was like old home week visiting with them. They are a group of 5 southern counties plus northern Louisiana so some of them have quite a commute to meetings. We discussed management issues, officer duties and they held elections. It was a great open forum and then we talked spring blooming bulbs. MG of the Delta.nov (1)

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MG of the Delta.nov (3) As always,the meeting was accompanied by a vast array of foods and great fall decor.

Then I drove back to LR. When I got home a beautiful fall arrangement was awaiting me. thanksgiving flowers (2) I am having a house full for Thanksgiving, so tomorrow is an off day to cook. I got tables up and ready, and the house is clean, so I am good to go.

Yesterday as I was driving home from the office, I was stopped behind a guy at a light by my office. Right where my GPS sits I could spot his, and I was quite impressed that I could see it pretty well from my car. Then I realized it wasn’t a GPS but a TV!! They say not to text and drive, and here this guy is watching TV and driving! mobile tv

Holly, writing, rain garden

November 23, 2015

Today was a full day at the office minus a quick birthday celebration lunch for Holly’s birthday. holly birthday lunch 15) (1) (She is eating for 2 now!)

holly birthday lunch 15) (2)
It was a gorgeous day outside, and I did get to walk outside and consult with our maintenance staff about the rain gardens upkeep. The hardy hibiscus that have gotten enormous were cut back to the ground-line. Look at the size of the stalks!hardy hibiscus cut rain garden. This definitely shows that in the conditions meet the needs of the plant they will thrive! They want to keep it more manicured, but if it is left unplanted, weeds will encroach. Already we had plenty of winter weeds germinating, including henbit, chickweed, Carolina geranium and more. carolina geranium.nov.15


rain garden.nov.15
It is interesting how some trees like the blackgum are completely bare of foliage, while the sweetgums–both the fruitless and fruity are almost solid leaves.sweetgums nov (1)

sweetgums nov (3) The ginkgos still have their leaves too, but in a day or two they will be gone. gingko

We got a lot accomplished today and tomorrow I head to the Delta bright and early to speak to the MGs of the Delta.

First Frost, Garvan and the Holidays

November 22, 2015

The temperatures plummeted all day Saturday with a more than brisk wind bringing in the cold air. I had a lot of errand to run and I only wore a jacket during the day, and I was freezing by the time I made it home in the evening. Last night I went to Stephano’s Fine Art Gallery for an exhibit by Tony Dow. Does the name ring a bell? Tony played Wally on Leave it to Beaver. He is now an accomplished sculptor. tony dow sculptor

tony-dow-1-sized He was a very nice man and we talked art, but I was dying to ask a gauche question about what it was like on Leave it to Beaver–one of the most iconic shows of my childhood. I am sure he hates talking about it, and since it was an art show, I held my tongue.

Overnight we had our first frost in Little Rock. Temperatures made it to 29 degrees, but I would not call it a killing frost for everything. I did lose the basil, first frost.nov21.152

first frost.nov21.154

first frost.nov21.158colues, impatiens and the potatoes–I dug up a handful from those that had resprouted. potatoes nov21.151
The winter vegetables did fine, and I only had a little damage on the dragon wing begonias. first frost.nov21.155
I did find that my camellia sasanqua is finally beginning to bloom camellia nov21.15and I also have encore azaleas blooming, azalea encore.nov21.15the Soft Caress mahonia and my first blooms are open on the hellebore Christmas Rose. hellebores first bloomsnov21.15
I clipped plants from my garden to use in the holiday decorating workshop today and then loaded the car and headed to Garvan Gardens. Today was our final workshop of the year. We had a great time talking holiday plants and holiday decorating garvan holiday workshop.1511

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garvan holiday workshop.1515 Then we had a wonderful meal prepared and demonstrated by former NPCC culinary instructor Karla Nardi and her daughter Superior Bathhouse and Brewery chef Angela Nardi. We started off with poached pears with a red wine reduction with smoked blue cheese and greens, followed by marinated lamb chops, mushroom bread pudding, carrots and fresh cranberry sauce and ending with an eggnog tart. garvan holiday workshop.1519

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garvan holiday workshop.1523 Audrey House of Chateau Aux Arc Vineyards paired each course with two of her craft wines. All in all it was an amazing meal and really good wines. garvan holiday workshop.1527

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When it was all finished we had to load back up and clean it all up. I had great help from Julie and Katie. garvan holiday workshop.1530

garvan holiday workshop.1542Julie headed home and Katie and I went and walked holiday lights. It was not quite as dark as it could have been when we started but the beauty of the plants more than made up for it, and it was dark before we headed to our car. garvan holiday workshop.1506

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There was a big crowd coming in as we were leaving. Don’t forget, holiday lights are open nightly with the exception of Christmas day and close December 31. You don’t want to miss it. It was a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

Betty Oliver, and planning

November 20, 2015

We started the day meeting with a team from County 76 who are going to help me out when Julie is off taking care of her baby. I am extremely grateful that I have dedicated and committed volunteers who are going to help fill the void–I continue to be in awe of the Arkansas MG volunteers–no wonder our program is the best in the country~ county 76 ex planning.nov (1) I left them continuing to plan and went to the Benton Event Center to the Stepping up for Ouachita Event honoring Betty Oliver. I cannot think of a more deserving individual for this honor. Betty was my first boss at the Pulaski County Extension office and was a great leader.obu betty.nov (4)

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obu betty.nov (9)Betty indoctrinated us in the love of extension and was a fabulous role model. She is one of the most giving people I know and I was honored to be invited to share in this honor for her. In addition they had a silent auction and raised money for scholarships for female students. obu betty.nov (2)

obu betty.nov (10)
Then it was back to the office, and then Julie and I loaded up and worked on projects for the Garvan Gardens workshop on Sunday. garvan prep holiday.s15 (1)

Tonight was dinner with Chris and Charles at Terry’s in the Heights helping to celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary. I left my camera at home so no pictures. A great meal and a wonderful visit with great friends.


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