Hello Februaryists, and happy Friday!

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

Let’s get our Friday Fun started by saying hello to our Panel of Experts. Hello Experts!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

Goodness, you are so cute! 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.

It’s hard to believe but it’s February already. This year is flying by! Even though it snowed here in Albuquerque last week, today it’s warm and beautiful, just as you’d expect February to be (we like to start spring early here).

In honor of this first day of February, I asked my Experts the following question:

Q. That’s right, it’s February. Do you have any February stories to share?

Hmmm, February stories. Since our Experts are characters themselves, this should be interesting. Expert Andy, you’re up first:

A. Before I address this week’s question let me first apologize for leading you wrong regarding this year’s Final Four being in Nawlins’.  It is actually in Atlanta.  So, if you made your way to Nawlins’ already for Fat Tuesday, the Super Bowl, and Bourbon Street, stay there and stagger northeast in about 2 months.

On a related topic, in the year 2000 I decided to accomplish a bucket list item in Feb.,  Feb. 29th no less, leap year.  The next day our beautiful moderator turned 30, if I’m not mistaken, but I didn’t know that and wasn’t invited to her party.  That bucket list item was to attend my first IU – purdue basketball game at the hallowed Assembly Hall.  I had my friend Kendra get the tickets and I flew to Indy, picked her up in Greenwood and we beelined it for Bloomington.  Turns out, IU and purdue were battling for 1st place in the Big 10 that year and this was the second to last game of the conference.  IU waxed them 79 – 65.  The headline in the Indy Star the next day read “IU attacks sluggish Purdue”.  It was a joyous occasion to be sure and one I will never forget.  I kept the paper and the ticket stub.  

About two months later I was still carrying around the ticket stub in my wallet at a Diamondbacks game.  Turns out Bobby Knight was in the crowd visiting Jerry Colangelo.  They are buds.  I made my way over to catch him as he left the game rumbling up the steps.  I introduced myself and told him what I had done and asked him to autograph my ticket stub from that game.  He graciously agreed, realizing what a nut-job I must be to have not only flown to Indy to see the game but to still have the ticket stub in  my wallet.  He then said, “We looked pretty good that night, didn’t we?”  So, what had begun as a bucket list item only got better.

Later that summer, of course, Bobby grabbed some snot-nosed college brat by the arm when he addressed him as “Bobby” and the rest is history.  Several years later I decided to frame my memories from that famed Feb. evening.  I had the Indy Star, schedule for that season, and the signed ticket stub professionally framed.  For it is now a priceless item, and the only one of its kind in the world, complete with a signed ticket stub from Bobby Knight’s last game, a purdue game no less, at Assembly Hall.  What do you think that’s worth fellow nut-jobs?

(P.S.  Another related joy in my life was last night’s dismantling of purdue on their home floor to IU by 37 points.  Never, before last night, had purdue lost by more points in the history of their existence.  I only wish I had been there to witness it in person.)

A. I once saw the groundhog in February, and he predicted 6 more weeks of winter. I roasted him over an open fire for his insolence.

A. My grandfather was born on Feb. 29, meaning he was only about a quarter of his age when he died well into his 80s. Perhaps that’s why he enjoyed his toys — mostly wind ups, a cymbal-playing chimp, a waddling pink pig, a Santa Claus with a belly full of laughs. When the paramedics came for him on his last day on earth, he pointed out his toys to the folks who were trying to save his life, encouraging them to take the time to play. As much as he got pleasure from his toys, he got more enjoyment from watching others enjoy them.

A. FEBRUARY!  WHEE! Cannot believe it.  This is the month I start singing:  “Welcome sweet spring time—I greet thee with song!”  Seed catalogues and the nurseries that were grey and closed are showing signs of activity and springing to life.   Here in Sedona, we’re always a little ahead of the curve!   Time to get out my little red wagon ( yes I still have mine) and start spiffing up the yard to welcome new life!!!  If I’m lucky the Burpee’s catalogue will be in the mail today!!!!  Really turns me on! (Sorry Victoria’s Secret).  Just thinking about those beautiful, luscious, flavorful tomatoes I’ll be harvesting in August sends me into vegetable ecstasy!  Time to cast out the winter “blahs” and celebrate the emerging new life!  COME JOIN ME !   Slainte!

A. It was a dark and stormy night, the three riders were lost, no not lost, just massively bewildered, high on the  edge of a deep canyon, the rain poured down and lightning lit the forlorn. A mighty New Mexico thunder and lightning storm had settled over the mountain, that our hapless soul be on, and it had come to do a good job on the high mountains of the Pecos Wilderness.  To the right, a 300 ft. sheer cliff to the left, heavy forest, and a jumble  of massive boulders, no way down to the trail below that way either. Go back a day’ s ride and most of that way had been “Where the hell are we, let’s just keep moving on, it’s not dark or rainy yet”.  So now it was dark and rainy but I will not go back, pride and ignorance are a mighty force in a wet fool.  

Ahead down the steep slope, covered by small trees, rocks and bushes.  “I think we can make it, I think the horses will be ok” I yelled over the raging storm to my two young helpers. I am not afraid, I lied to myself as I lead us over the cliff. Eight lives rested on my wet shoulders, three humans and five horses, and one of them with a gimpy leg hurt earlier in the day. The flashlight held in my hand, next to worthless, but God’s flashlight’s brilliant beam lite our precarious way. Though lightning  has always scared the crap out of me, that night it showed us the way down that mountain. Through slip and slide, stumble and fall, rock slide and tumble, we slowly went down finding our way with the sideway flashes dancing across the canyon. As only a fool or a blessed man, we made it to the bottom of this mountain and in a driving cold rain rode for three hours till we got back to our wilderness camp. I made it down and I made it back to camp but you do not walk at peril’s door without consequences. The next morning the cold, the chill, the wet had opened a spot for a bug in to my body and now I burned with fever. Our camp was deep within a beautiful canyon miles and mile to the nearest road and my stupid US Forest Service radio was as good as a rock to call for help. I was a US Forest Service Wilderness Tech working in the beautiful Pecos Wilderness. My two young men helpers and I were working on clearing trails on some far hell and gone trails deep in the Truchas Peak high county. I felt like if I was going to die, it was a pretty place to die at, but no I was not ready for death yet.

So we struck  camp and rode for hours and hours back to our base camp outside the wilderness.

I drove myself home, how, I don’t remember much cause an elephant was standing on my chest and I could not breath very well and it was hard to see around it. I was just going to go home and have a beer or two and get better with my Bud. But… no, my dear sister comes and gets me and takes me to the hospital in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

There they poke and prod, look at my tongue and tell me I’m sick. Yea great my throat is on fire, the elephant’s gotten bigger and they took away my beer. Here, sign this and this and this, you know it is hard to hold on to a pen when you can’t see the paper for  the elephant, that and the gasping for air and the blackouts and the guy with the sickle standing by you.

I was admitted to the hospital after my dear sister signed her life away to save mine for admittance, Thank you Judy.

I do not know how people heard that I was talking to the devil that night and we were making arrangement for my travel.  I was smuggled into a bed down some dark hall plugged into a dozen hoses coming out every where.  Sgt. Nurse was on duty ready to wake me up at a moments notice and not let me get any rest and every two hours she would stab my arm and draw up a gallon or two to help annoy me.

In my stupor, late that night, an angel came to visit me  and called my name, I thought maybe I got a chance over there too, so I open my eyes to see my love of my life standing  next to my bed.

Now I thought I must be dreaming cause I’m not drunk but there stood Siri calling softly my name. Lewis wake the hell, up I’m here to see you. It’s hard to talk with a mask on and an elephant in the way but I did smile.

Mumbling who are you and did you bring me a beer. Tears filled my eyes not with joy but cause I’d poked myself in the eye trying to get the damn air mask off. It is hard to kiss for hospital beds are not made for kissing and the damn elephant was in the way anyway, but a hand squeeze speaks volumes and love knows no boundary. Remember Sgt. Nurse whose job was to annoy and cause me grief. She was very good at her job, shows up as my love brightens my spirit. Sgt Nurse demands to know, who the hell are you, and it is my job to  make patients miserable so get out. If I could have hit that damn nurse with that elephant I would have, but that elephant was holding on for dear life too. Siri left but hid behind some wheelchairs in the hall and after Sgt Nurse had caused me enough grief, she went to bestow her charm on another lucky soul. My hand was squeezed again, as I faded in to the deep. Double pneumonia kept me in the hospital for two weeks and death and I danced several times, but I was a better dancer.

My love of my life, still squeezes my hand to this day, mostly to tell me to  shut up when talking to myself too loud.

Wow, everyone! I was not mistaken – definitely interesting stuff here!

Andy, I had never heard that story before. What an honor, to have Bob Knight consider you a nut job. We should all be that lucky. If any nut jobs out there would like to venture a guess as to what the framed items are worth, be sure to tell us in the comments section. My guess is a millionbilliondollars.

Thack, good riddance to that ol’ stinky groundhog! Also, you’re hilarious.

EZ, your grandpa sounds adorable!

Dottie, hehe, vegetable ecstasy? I think every gardener on the planet understands exactly how you feel!

Lewis, holy cow! Another story I’d never heard. I think I can speak for all of us when I say I’m glad you’re such a good dancer! I had the privilege of meeting your fair bride at the end of 2012, it’s wonderful she was there for you.

Thank you to all of you for sharing your stories. I enjoyed them very much!

The Experts will return 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 this plant was real or fake:

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Real.
And what a pretty picture!”

Terrence from Dynamic Gardening wrote, “I’ll say real for this plant. It has an interesting pattern on the leaves.”

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “Ah…those winter blues. I think January is one of the hardest months to get through, and I’m happy it’s almost over. Once February kicks in, at least you can say “Next month is spring!”

For this week’s puzzle I vote real!”

Joseph Brenner wrote, “Real. I think.”

Tom from Midwestern Jungle wrote, “Real”

Steph from Indianapolis wrote, “Real. We shook the winter blues Saturday at Perfect North Ski Slopes in southern Indiana. My kid is officially a shredder with the snowboard. Couldn’t be more proud. I just hope he gets a chance to go again this year….tomorrow will be 65 here. Friday’s high is 18. Gotta love Indianner.”

Mary wrote, “For sure, real.”

Tina wrote, “Pretty darn real lookin’ to me. Amazing colouring…reminds me of Caladium.
Yeah…gotta be real.”

That’s eight votes real, zero votes fake.

What’s the correct answer? Perhaps a wider view will tell us:

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

Real! These plants were at Home Depot. They weren’t in the greatest shape (of course, because they were at Home Depot) but sure had pretty leaves. It would be difficult to reproduce that coloring in a fake plant.

Ivy, you were first with the correct answer, so that makes you the best answerer. For being so speedy, this week you’ve earned the title of “Most Beautiful, Well Read, of High Moral Character, Houseplant Lover and Awesomely Proud of It and Also Queen of the Houseplant Blog Universe and Beyond.” Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by more prizes!

You’re all winners for playing! Thank you! To show my gratitude, I’d like you each to have the following prizes: A February state of mind, Eight Mulberry Cookies, 13 bragging rights, Four Singing Dachshunds, Orange Juice, Six Plum Blossoms, 16 1/2 bonus points, One Coupon Good for More February, Two Pinky Fingers, Three Minutes and One High Five. Congrats, and thanks for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Is this tree 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, February 7th, 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.