I knew that this first year using the greenhouse to start seeds would be a bit of a learning curve. We do not yet have electricity out there…aside from an extension cord from the house to run the fan when it gets too hot. It gets pretty warm, pretty fast during the day, but it doesn’t take long to cool down to outdoor temperatures once the sun dips below the horizon.
Even though I knew this and even though I had warning of that first late-season freeze, I did not do much to really protect my seedlings. I should have at least brought the tomatoes and peppers in.
I did better for the second freeze.
I had to start over with most seedlings. The tomatoes and peppers froze, turned brown and withered. The lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower survived, but stalled a bit in their growth.
After the freeze…the sun comes up. The glistening frost melts away. Surfaces, once dull and drab, sparkle.
After the freeze…the light gets in. The bitter cold recedes. Dirt, once dry and parched, revives.
After the freeze…new life emerges. The harsh winds gentle. Grass, once brown and dead, brightens.
When we built the greenhouse, we thought we’d be creating a space for garden supplies in winter, a head start for seedlings and a season extender. That was exciting. It was enough.
What we didn’t realize, was that it would also become a peaceful oasis for studies. A relaxing place to escape and sit quietly. An outdoor living space for family time and reading.
Oh, and a spa for the cats.
On sunny winter days, we can sit in the greenhouse and do our lessons. It could be 30 degrees outside, but a pleasant 50 and sunny inside the greenhouse.
If the house is too noisy or confining and we just need a different space to focus and learn, we head out to the greenhouse for lessons, reading or to work on a project.
We are looking forward to discovering new ways to enjoy this outdoor space, beyond our original vision. It has become a peaceful place of refuge. A spot to enjoy that first quiet cup of coffee in the morning with only the cat for company.
“I overheard Stardust telling Sparkle that she’d heard from Tinsel who got it from Bowie who–”.
“Ok, ok!” burst in Figgy. “I get it. You overheard a conversation. Now can we get to the good stuff?”
Pixie took a deep breath. “Santa found out that the Birthday Beagle and the Easter Bunny are staging a c-o-u-p.”
Figgy stared blankly at Pixie. “A coop?”
“No, a coup! The ‘p’ is silent.”
“The pee is silent? Are you talking in some kind of code?”
Pixie huffed and stomped her foot. “Basically, the Beagle and the Bunny have decided that Santa gets WAY too much funding from the Department of Festive Fun and Frivolity. They don’t like it and so have filed several complaints.”
“So…the board of directors has agreed to listen to the complaints at a formal hearing.”
“And…it is set for December 23rd.”
“That’s why they needed all the available elves?”
“Yes,” Pixie said. “They are trying to come up with a plan to deliver the presents in case Santa is…detained.”
Both elves sat on the window sill, staring out into the night sky wondering what would happen if Santa couldn’t deliver.
Startled, Pixie and Figgy turned around to see Joe’s face, bright and smiling. He held a small Twister mat in his hand. “I’ve got the games all ready and look what I made for you two!”
The elves both forced bright, cheery smiles and headed inside to finish setting up for Game Day. But their little elven hearts just weren’t as cheerful as usual.
“Maybe he doesn’t remember,” said Pixie Powder, a petite elf dressed in pink with rosy cheeks and twinkle in her eyes.
Figgy Frost, dressed in green, bounced on his tiny toes and rubbed the frost off the kitchen window. “Maybe.”
“I don’t see anyone,” said Glitter. “I think the coast is clear.”
The three friends tip-toed through the window and floated down to the kitchen table. They looked around nervously. Did Joe remember the agreement they’d made at the end of the Christmas season last year…
“Wait!” said Lil, turning to the group. “What if Joe promises not to tell anyone?”
Pixie’s head popped up. “Would that work?”
“Lil,” said Nim in a warning tone. “That’s never been done before. It’s against every rule in the book. Literally.”
“I know, I know. But, hear me out. What if we ask Santa to make an exception for a special case?”
“What kind of special case?” asked Figgy.
Lil floated up to Joe and looked him in the eye. “If we can get Santa to agree…will you help us next year, Joe?”
“H-help? Help with what?”
“Our pranks!” said Pixie.
“Our mayhem!” added Figgy.
“Our mischief!” All eyes turned to Glitter, shocked she would promote mischief in any way.
“What?” she said defensively. “Just because I don’t like messes, doesn’t mean mischief is off the table.”
Lil cleared her throat. “Think about how much fun it would be to surprise Jake and your parents each morning.”
Joe looked down at the four hopeful faces. Pixie and Figgy seemed to hold their breath as he thought it over.
The corner of his mouth hitched up–the start of a smile. “Th-that would be a lot of fun.”
Figgy looked around one more time and sighed. “I guess he forgot afterall.”
A shuffle of feet, an excited gasp and a happy giggle came from the living room as Joe peeked over the top of the couch. “Hi guys! I’m ready for mischief!”
The trio cheered in an excited whisper and started to tell Joe their plan for the first night, when he brought out a giant box of props.
“First, I thought we could set up this obstacle course for Jake and I to do. Kind of like you did last year. Then, tomorrow night, we can make a cookie mess in the kitchen. On the 3rd, we can–.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Joe, we already have plans for the first night,” interrupted Pixie with a smile.
“Yes,” added Figgy. “We always leave a start-of-the-season gift before the true mischief begins.”
Glitter grunted in agreement.
Joe’s face fell and some of the sparkle left his eyes. “Oh. Right.”
The team looked at eachother, feeling bad for disappointing him so soon in the season.
“We-ell,” said Pixie. “I suppose we could change it up a little this year.”
“Yes,” agreed Figgy. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to do something different.”
Joe smiled and jumped up and down on his toes.
“I have an idea,” said Glitter.
The two elves and the young boy looked expectantly at Glitter.
“Maybe we could take turns picking the activity.”
Figgy frowned. “What do you mean ‘take turns’?”
“Tonight, we can do Joe’s idea. Set up an obstacle course. Then, tomorrow, we could pick.”
Pixie and Figgy thought it over. It was a good idea, but could it work?
“Okay,” said Pixie. “Let’s try it!”
Joe bounced on his toes again and put his box of supplies on the table. “So, first we set the trampoline up…”.