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End of year is a time of transition

It’s four days after Christmas and there are only two days remaining in the year. Winter is officially here and we can expect plenty of cold days and nights, and certainly we can look forward to a few snowfalls. It pays to be prepared for snow, and the snow won’t do any harm to your garden. We know the kids would love a few snow days.

The season of Advent lasts until the Day of Epiphany, which is Jan. 6. Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the Wise Men from the East to visit the Christ. As we keep the Moravian star lit through Advent, we are lighting the way for the King of Kings.

My mother always had a few traditions about New Years. She thought it was bad luck to have any Christmas decorations hanging around. All wreaths, lights, everything must go. My grandmother believed that it was bad luck if a female came to your house on New Year’s Day. She was so serious about this that she would send one of her young sons to knock on every door on her street to wish the neighbors a Happy New Year. Who knows where these customs started?

Old-fashioned soul food that sticks to your ribs like black-eyed peas and collards supposedly bring good luck on New Year’s Day. The greens supposedly represent dollars and the peas represent coins. (I don’t know what the cornbread represents!) If you don’t like black-eyed peas, you can substitute pinto beans. Cook them in a crock pot all day with a little bacon, salt and pepper.

The new year is still a few days away but it’s a good time to make a resolution to make 2020 a year of recycling. It’s important to keep as many items as you can from being dumped in the trash, and so many items can be recycled now. Educate your children to recycle and set a good example for them.

One of the secrets of removing and storing Christmas decorations is to keep items organized and in proper order. This will make decorating much easier next season. Use plastic storage boxes and label them. Check your lights again before you wind them up, making sure the plug is at the end of the string when you finish winding. I use a newspaper to wind them around. Place your ornaments in cardboard boxes. Put your electrical drop cords together in the same box. Put your outdoor lights and decorations in their own separate box. Keep some plastic bags and newspaper handy to wrap fragile items. These tasks will make taking your decorations out next year a lot easier.

You can also recycle your Christmas tree by cutting off the branches and adding them to the compost pile.

A Blum’s Almanac is a great investment for every gardener. You can find them in most hardware/garden stores in the area. The year ahead marks 192 years of publication. It’s filled with practical tips and advice, information about stars, eclipses, sunrises and sunsets, moon signs for planting, fishing calendar, recipes, and weather information.

It’s time to take a look at the 2020 seed catalogs as well. When purchasing seed from a mail order catalog, remember that most seed packets have 30 or fewer seeds in them. I buy only those varieties that I cannot find in local stores.

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Ray Baird

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