When I think about the month of February it always brings a smile to my face. As a young child in elementary school, Valentine's Day was such a fun day I looked forward to each year. All the kids in my class came to school with a shoe box and a bag full of Valentine cards. There was a card for each student in the class and a special card for the teacher. I would spend the afternoon before Valentine's Day preparing by reading the cards and deciding which one was appropriate for a friend, a classmate, and the one I was hoping would be my Valentine before writing their name on the envelope. There was always some little treat I would tape to the card-a small box of Valentine conversation hearts each one with a word on it...love you, XOXO, let's hug... you get the idea or a heart lollipop or Valentine sticker. Once at school we would decorate our shoe boxes with wrapping paper or construction paper and put stickers or make drawings on it with our name right on the top in big letters. There was a large slot cut into the top to allow for the passage way of the cards and candy into the box. A room mom would bring cupcakes or heart shaped cookies and we would have our Valentine's party. What a simple, care free and innocent time in life that was. With the past year and recent events being one of the most difficult years in decades, focusing on memories of things that brought and bring joy and creating new moments or projects that create more joy is very grounding for me.
In January, Dawn and I did something we had talked about doing for years. We planted a fruit garden consisting of 6 fruit trees and a thornless blackberry bush at the farm in South Georgia. We spent a day pouring over the descriptions of each tree. Here is an example of one... the fruit of the pomegranate tree was sculpted into friezes for the crown molding atop the ancient temple of Solomon in Jerusalem to celebrate the sacred image of an important food and beverage that was consumed and worshiped by the people of Israel. Pomegranate juice has been extracted from the ripe fruit to produce a sensational liquid product that is rich in antioxidants with anti-cancer agents. Wow, each fruit tree variety had a description that was so promising that narrowing it down to 6 trees was daunting. Another description-the test of Navaho blackberry quality can easily be experienced by sitting down at your breakfast table with a bowlful of juicy Navaho blackberries where you will appreciate the sweet flavor of this blackberry. Are you getting a visual yet? Once we read through the descriptions, selected and ordered our trees we drove to a Nursery in Ty Ty, Georgia to pick them up.
My wife Dawn designed and sketched the garden and I placed the trees and dug the holes. Being a perfectionist and a man of math I counted, recounted and moved the trees around until they were perfectly spaced 20 feet apart with an open area of 70 feet in the center to allow for raised beds of lavender and a seating area. Working the land and spending the day in nature focused on our project and looking forward to the harvest that will come in a few years was such fun. We were both sore that night, me from digging holes and Dawn from following behind me adding nutrients to the soil and pressing the soil back around the trees. This is a new passion and love for us...growing fruit trees. One that will bring years of reward if properly nurtured and cared for.
We all have had so much time in the last year with ourselves and our family while quarantining and social distancing with all our our usual activities being unavailable that it allowed us time to cultivate hobbies and interests. What is a new love or passion you have discovered? I'd love to hear about it.
As always, thank you for being my valued client. Tax season is in full swing which brings long hours requiring focus and detail while I take excellent care of each one of my clients. Please keep me in mind if I may be of service to you to be a good steward of your financial investments. Together we can watch them grow.
I appreciate you and have a Happy Valentine's Day!
Fun Fact- Over 100,000 pounds of conversation hearts are made each day throughout the year to in preparation for Valentine's Day. How did conversation hearts come about? In 1847 a Boston pharmacist named Oliver Chase wanted to get in on the craze of making lozenges popular at the time for bad breath and sore throats but wanted to find a simpler process rather than using a mortar and pestle, kneading dough, rolling it out and cutting it into discs. Inspired by the new wave of gadgets he created a machine that rolled lozenge dough and pressed wafers into perfect discs. In 1866, Oliver's brother Daniel wondered if it would be possible to print sentimental messages on candy to get into the craze of Valentine's cards. Daniel figured out a way to print words on candy using vegetable dye during the cutting process. Oliver inadvertently created America's first candy making machine and the rest is history.