HELEN LANG: It’s time to think happy thoughts

I’m actually writing this on December 1 but I’m trying to get a little bit ahead as there is always so much to do at this time of year.

I’m actually writing this on December 1 but I’m trying to get a little bit ahead as there is always so much to do at this time of year.

I am in the grip of baking short bread, nut clusters, Jewel Bars and possibly candy if there is time. Making candy makes me think of my parents and their approach to Christmas. This always included making Divinity fudge, a sinfully delectable candy, which required two people, acting in unison, to bring it all off successfully.

I loved to see them working together, laughing as they stirred, poured and beat the ingredients until finally, carefully placing each candy on the large platter to cool.

My Dad beat the egg whites (by hand)to frothy foam, while Mother slowly poured the boiling syrup into the firming  egg whites until they began to congeal. Then it was a quick motion to scoop up a teaspoon of candy and place it (with a twirl on top) on the platter.

We kids got to scrape the bowl but the candy was always hidden until the big day.

It’s another beautiful sunny day today, chilly, but lovely.

I see people with their touques pulled down over their ears and in some case over their eyes and noses as well.

I saw one fellow run right into a telephone pole before he raised the brim of his hoodie. I bet that hurt!

Most pedestrians aren’t yet carrying Christmas parcels. It still looks mostly like groceries to me. I’m still making lists of possible gifts for the family, which is a good idea except that my ideas and the status of my bank account are a long way apart. No Mercedes this year, for sure! (Ho, ho, ho! That was Santa Claus,not me.)

I’m still waiting for my eldest daughter  to appear, as she has promised to take me shopping for plants which I consider to be perfect gifts. They don’t just give you pleasure on Christmas day, but for years to come.

I also would like to suggest a living Christmas tree, one with roots. If you haven’t a place for a large tree in your garden,  maybe you have a friend who has room. I’ve mentioned before that for years we always did this and those trees are now glorious fir or pine giants (depending on that particular year and what tree we found the most beautiful).

I like the idea of leaving something beautiful behind when I go.

Did you ever read about the man who planted trees? There is also the story of Johnny Appleseed who, as he walked across the U.S.A. eating an apple, planted one seed here and another seed there and now there are apple trees growing all along his wandering path. Whether this is true or not I do not know, but it is a happy thought anyway.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

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