Hello mittens and gloves, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

December is a fun month, don’t you think? There are decorations, parties, savory meals, lights, ribbons, candy canes, festivities, sugar cookies, wreaths, soups, snowflakes, candles and Christmas cheer – so much to enjoy in this last month of the year. I just love it!

Everyone gets busy this month, so we’ve streamlined our Experts posts. The Experts will be here today and next Friday, then they’re off for the rest of the holiday season.

So let’s enjoy their time while we have it.

We’ll get our Friday fun kicked off by saying hi to the Experts. Hi everyone!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You look great in your sunflowerness! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

In the spirit of the holidays, here’s this week’s question:

Q. Do you have any holiday tips you’d like to share? (Recipes, party ideas, gift ideas, how to survive the holidays.)

Expert Andy, will you get us started, fine sir?

A. My holiday tips are;

-Tell everyone you love that you love them and make eye contact.
-Reflect on the year behind you, what went right and what went wrong, and learn from both.
-Take the high road whenever possible.  The view is better above the chaos.
-Put a thin coat of wax on your back so that any criticism directed at you, when friends or family members convene, rolls off without incident.
-If you take pleasure in the liquid spirits at the holiday parties you attend, don’t drink and drive.
-Start exercising now to build up routine and momentum before everyone else crowds the gym after New Year’s.
-Call an old friend or two you have been missing just to catch-up.  It’ll make you both feel great & renew special feelings and memories.
-Take a listen to Gary Hoey’s Christmas album.
-Avoid the hassles & shop on-line or just make something from your own hands.

A. Surround yourself with friends and family and try your level best to make it as festive a time as possible. Be grateful for all you have and enjoy all the beauty and love the world has to offer. You’ve got the rest of the year to be frustrated and annoyed, take a month or so and live in the light. It does wonders for the psyche as you move into a new year!

Unless, of course, the Mayans are right and we’re all toast in 14 days; if that turns out to be the case, I recommend a wild fit of bacchanalian excess, a 2 week binge of id-driven, monomaniacal lunacy that would make Caligula blush.

A. Light a luminaria , eat a large bowl of posole. Sing a holiday song, buy a Charlie Brown tree. Wrap a gift, using lots of tape while saying a little prayer. Forgive, forget, sleep an extra five minutes. Watch a good game, whether it be Hoosiers, Jayhawks or Lobos. See the lights, turn off the TV, dust off an old book. And breathe. Breathe.

A. We are taking a different approach to the holiday season this year.  We have observed that family  members are becoming “isolationists” with all the modern technology toys.  Soo0, we want to introduce back into family life –personal interaction and the touchy-feely fun of family togetherness activities.  For our holiday family gifts we are putting together “Family Fun Boxes”.  These boxes will include such old fashioned pleasures as:

Jig saw puzzles, Monopoly, Clue, Chinese checkers, deck of cards, popcorn, a movie, a CD of holiday music, sheets of colored paper, scissors & paste to make marvelous creations to enhance the holiday spirit and brighten our homes, ingredients for a “Taffy Pull”, Hot Chocolate, tickets to local ice skating arena and last but not least; chestnuts to roast on an open fire with the shared reading of a good “holiday appropriate” book.

Let’s bring back the real joy of the holidays by sharing the beauty of the season with family and friends, making lasting memories the old fashioned way.




Look both ways before crossing the street, Feet first first time, Still water runs deep, Watch out for falling rocks, Slow down when roadways are icy, Have your furnace serviced yearly, Check your smoke detector monthly, Be a good cook, stay by the stove, Install a Carbon Monoxide detector, Don’t eat with your feet on the table, Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Do not drink milk with pickle juice, Children and matches don’t mix, Matches and lighters up high out of sight of little hand, Fire plays no favorites be careful with candles, Replace broken and worn out extension cords, Be extra careful with Electric Space Heaters lot of run 3 ft. clearance, no extension cords   Be careful climbing your ladder trying to out shine the Jones across the street, that’s what a good BB gun is for. Use only outdoor lighting fixtures, Don’t over load electrical circuits or cords.

Do not operate electrical equip while standing in water, Excess alcohol consumption may impair operators behavior, Excess speed may cause injury or death, Do not smoke in bed, Wear your seat belt, Do not put fingers in cage bird bites, Do not feed the animals, Single sheets of toilet paper may develop holes, Cigarette smoke may be hazardous to your health, Sharp curves ahead, Beware of falling rock, Slippery when wet, Bridge ices before roadway, Walk do not run, Dog bites, Stay left, No passing, Right turn only, No right turn on red, Pedestrian crossing, School crossing ahead, Buyer beware, Seen on a box of bullets – Beware – Projectiles may cause injury or death

Be safe don’t run with scissors, Be extra careful with candles, large fire proof base lots of room, no children or pets alone Petty but a moment of carelessness, but you won’t let that happen because you people are smart, loving and careful.

Today after work on my way to my truck I had to pass Lee Wallace Elementary School. Now I have walked by there many times and I have never seen what I saw today.

I thought Oh so sad, oh too bad, I imaged tears did fall and children were sad and maybe a Mom or dad was mad. It was not a real tragedy but i was a loss of some ones time, effort and materials.
For on the road and ground scattered all around were at least 2 dozen homemade cupcakes that had been bound for a classroom party decorated with Chri
stmas cheer baking liners, Red stars, green hearts and white frosting.

Now my little brain was working overtime trying to figure out what had cause this cupcake disaster, this sweeting of the dirt, a display of bakery road rage. Did some dastardly dude sneak up behind dear Pauli, swoop in and cause a cupcake deluge. Did two left footed Willie turn and stumble with his precious load of sugarplum treat and grace the crows that are always looking for a tasty treat at first light. Now if this had happened to  the kids of Butt Crack Larry  who wears his pants that way to make people think he is a plumber or me as we were dropping off our tiny tots or child who give others pleasure when there go away.  We would have just looked around to see if any teacher were watching, don’t care about the parents their kids probably aren’t in our kids class anyway. We would have carefully brushed off most of the dirt and picked off the rocks and sticks. OK the frosting might have been a bit smeared,  hell kids are messy anyway. Back in the box give it a good shake or two and no one would ever know that disaster had been averted. Teacher deal with kind of stuff all the time, bless you teachers.  

BUT no some Missy Prissy just declared those poor sad cupcakes to be dead, kaput, CONTAMINATED because they had a union with  the Earth. Just ask the crows how they liked their sugary feast.

Well I have to admit as I tiptoed through this sugary wasteland that I did not stop and partake of any of these glorious sweet offering that lay about me, but if I had been here when the 10 second rule was in play it would have been a different story.  You all might right now be sharing in earth friendly cupcakes.   

Be of good cheer, smile

I was told that they (School policy BS ) don’t allow homemade food item to be given out at schools. What kind of crap is that, I’d thrown those damn cupcakes at the school house.

My, those were all such wonderful answers! Thank you!

Dottie, I particularly like your old fashioned Family Fun gift boxes – what a great idea. I think lots of people feel the same way you do. And Lewis, thanks for the safety reminders as always. December may be a fun month, but it is also a dangerous month – stay safe out there, gentle readers!

Nicely played, everyone. Thanks so much!

That does it for this week’s panel of Experts. As I mentioned earlier, the Experts will be back in exactly one week. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to last week’s puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these Poinsettias were real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Fake.”

Alissa wrote, “Eeeee fake…”

Charlie Hebert wrote, “Fake.. and ugly with a Capital UG!”

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “Eeek…very fake! A total fake-a-rooni!”

Mary wrote, “Yea, gonna go with fake this time.”

Tom from Midwestern Jungle wrote, “Upsetting/fake.”

Joseph Brenner wrote, “Really fake.”

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “Fake.”

Terrence from Dynamic Gardening wrote, “This is a fake poinesettia that isn’t properly representing the holiday season.”

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Augh. Painfully fake.”

Charlie Hebert guessed again, “Thought I answered this one already..guess not.

Nancy Popp Mumptom wrote, “Oh, boy, is that ever fake!”

That’s zero votes real, 12 votes fake.

Before we look at the wider view, you may want to put on sunglasses or other protective eyewear – it’s not pretty.


Ok, here’s a better look:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler


The warning doesn’t help at all, does it? Yikes, those are ugly.

Oh, and yes, very very fake.

Fake plants are ugly in general, but fake holiday plants are uglier still with all the glitter and shiny fabric. I hope none of your homes are invaded by Poinsettias like these.

mr_subjunctive, you’re the numero uno answerer, which makes you the best answerer. For being so swift, you’ve earned the title of “I’m Groovy, I’m Smoothy, I’m Plant Speedy, I’m Plant Savvy, I Have Big Arms and a Bigger Brain, I’m on Top of the Houseplant Blogs of Iowa, the Midwest and Across America” for the next week. Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by three gingerbread men. Well played!

You’re all winners this week, good job! For playing, I’d like you each to have the following prizes: Four Christmas cheers, Eggnog, 16 extra credit points, two Peppermint Petes, one Hanukkah Hurrah, three Silver Stars, a Platter of Gumdrops, 12 Exultations, one Small Banjo-Playing Elf, two Holiday Fist Bumps, and a Hearty Round of Applause. Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Is this Jade real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, December 13th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. Remember, the prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.