The cold snap has ended and once more we head boldly out into the world. Hooray! Not only that, I am all fired up with new projects for this New Year.


Why does this strike fear in my heart?


Not to worry, Lily, it’ll be great.


I hope it doesn’t involve cleaning something.


No, 9, it doesn’t, but now that you mention it. . .Kidding! These are, more or less, creative projects. Some of them are seasonal, and one might take more than a year to complete but it will be very much worth the effort. Drum roll, please!


You sure have a knack for making me nervous.


But, Lily, the most long-term new project involves reading! I believe I mentioned a blog or two ago that I was taking on the Banned Book reading list that came with the Banned Book puzzle:


New projects: Not the puzzle, but the banned book list that came with it. . .



Hoosegow and I finished Maya Angelou’s memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings on Sunday. Since then we’ve picked up two more banned titles from the library, young adult novels that deal with suicide and death.

New projects: two more volumes from the banned book list. . .

Most of the books on this list seem to be either by or about people of color, people of other than cis gender sexual ID, or topics related to anything sad or critical of America or slightly racy (The Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird, for cryin’ out loud!).


Angelou’s beautifully written book covers her life during the depression and the beginning of World War II, from birth to age 16. Her experiences were radically different than those of my parents who are of the same generation. I’ve heard about the Jim Crow south, of course, but to learn about the day-to-day details of growing up Black in that setting was extremely informative.


That’s the point of this new project, really. To learn about people and circumstances different than my own, and overcome subterranean fears and biases about people who are “not like me.”


Okay, I can do that.


Glad to have you on board, Lily. My goal is to read one or two books off this list each month.


In the shorter term, I’ve committed to going whole hog on this year’s garden. I’ve scoured seed catalogs, mapped out what I will plant and where, and this week put in a seed order. Nothing too exotic, but I ordered a few things (cabbage and two types of winter squash) that are sized for one person. My wild buy is a hardpan broadfork! This will take me where the small rototiller can’t, including aerating the badly compacted front lawn. But the truly wild part is yet to come- -ordering several cubic yards of peat moss and compost to amend the garden beds.


That sounds like a lot of work!


I think it will be, 9, but at least it doesn’t involve cleaning anything. Except our gardening clothes. We’ll benefit from all kinds of wonderful garden-fresh vegetables, spring through winter when those little squashes are nestled in the basement.


New projects: the 2024 garden. . .


The final new project will, I’m pretty sure, be a lot of work, too. I’m committed to exploring and hopefully creating a new character for Living History. The Sisters of Providence, a French Canadian religious order, were major contributors to the Walla Walla community and have long been overlooked in the Living History program at Fort Walla Walla Museum. I am meeting today with a local writer/historian who recently published a history centered on what is now Providence/St. Mary’s hospital, started by the Sisters in the mid-19th century. The key is finding a specific nun to anchor the presentation and serve, for lack of a better word, as the frame. Research, script writing, costume. Here’s the uniform if this project makes it to completion:


New projects: honoring the Sisters of Providence and their work in Walla Walla. . .


Won’t that be kind of hot in the summer?


Good question, 9. Since it takes quite a while for me to develop a new Living History personae I am hoping I can secure a spot in the fall part of the season.


It is energizing to have three new projects in the queue! If winter and iffy weather is getting you down and robbing you of as much strength as Sampson after a buzz cut, maybe a new project will lift you up, too?


Because winter is about more than hiding out from the cold. Winter is also a time to dream.

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