This is the time of year when we give thanks for all we have. I try to do this throughout the year. I’m so thankful for the wonderful man I’ve been married to for forty-nine years. I’m blessed with nine extraordinary children that brings pride to me daily. The wacky ideas and chaos they have had to put up with would fill a book.

This is the time of year when we give thanks for all we have. I try to do this throughout the year. I’m so thankful for the wonderful man I’ve been married to for forty-nine years. I’m blessed with nine extraordinary children that brings pride to me daily. The wacky ideas and chaos they have had to put up with would fill a book.
I’m thankful for my siblings and many friends I’ve made over the years. They have all been there as I was made and remade, matured, and became what I am today. They have brought enrichment to my life allowing me to view the world in many hued spectacles.
How bland and colorless my life would be without these sui generis individuals. I rarely remember to say ‘I’m so thankful for you”, but I want them to know how indispensable they are to me.
This year, I’d like to do more than ‘smell the coffee’. I want to acknowledge the greatness of the world we live in, some of the vital parts; the helping hands of humanity.
I come from a long line of gardeners/farmers. My great grandparents came west looking for rich farmland. My grandfather had a truck farm. My grandmother put out an orchard, vineyard, and bramble patch with only a shovel and hoe. She turned a half-acre potato patch with a push plow. My parents had two large gardens every year until my father’s death. Over the years, my husband and I have put out orchards, vineyards, bramble patches, and our gardens.
I’m so thankful for the green blood coursing through my veins.
I’m thankful to this newspaper that has given me the opportunity to reach many more people with my ideas and methods of gardening. I feel I walk on the edge of the two-sided coin, looking at both sides, drawing from them what I believe to be the best for me. More importantly, I want to protect my food, my environment, my little speck of the universe. Earth is the only spaceship I will ever fly and I want it to be safe, secure, and the adventure of a lifetime.
I cringe every time I see a pile of leaves burning. I cry when the wind sucks the dry crumbling soil into the air, blowing it into oblivion. I indulge in the texture of the soil I have grown in my garden. There are still more rocks and clay than soil, but the organic matter has become home to a micro and macro biology that softens the rocks and clay. Insects have taken up habitat in that soil and debris.
I still have disease and insect munchers on my produce. But I have chalcids to control whiteflies, braconids wasps to control tomato hornworms, and ichneumon wasp to control corn earworms. Ladybugs, praying mantis, damsel bugs, ground beetles, lacewings, tachinid flies, damselflies, and many more insects or arachnids do their daily jobs asking only for me to provide them with nectar and a safe haven to live in.
In this scenario, I am so very thankful for all the brave souls that have trodden this steep rocky path before me.


Linda Simmons writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.