Strive to keep New Year's Resolutions
by JAMES A. MARPLES
Jan 03, 2014 | 1423 views | 0 0 comments | 163 163 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I am quite relieved that the year 2013 is over. Hopefully, the year 2014 will be the beginning of a fresh page in everyone's collective and individual Life's Journey. In 2013, I had a cousin pass away. It was a very sad year. He had a farm that I lived at for four years, and it was the same farm which I helped him tend for nine years straight. He was a great guy: Hard-working, knowledgeable, dedicated and had his own unique sense of humor.

He was Big, strong as an ox, and a Master Gardener -- ironically, all he personally "planted" at his farm was a cactus, a few fruitless mulberry trees and he and I transplanted some Catalpa trees and blueberry plants. While I lived on-site at his farm: we had a garden: Onions, radishes, okra, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupes, zucchini squash, and lots more. We even gave-away our produce and surplus chicken eggs to homeless missions, numerous churches for their food pantries, nursing homes, and to anybody who had a need. The biggest irony is that: My cousin didn't plant a single seed: I did. I give him full credit for his credentials as a "Master Gardener"; he knew gardening terms, tools and know-how "from A-to-Z".

He even knew Latin names for various plants and shrubs. I have no idea as to 'why' he always did a "New Year's Resolution" to do this and that....and "a garden" was always on his numerous "project list"; yet he failed to follow-through on the goal himself. I would even wait and see if he would take the initiative to start his garden. Each year came and went, until it was almost too late --- then, I would begin my own planting. He even helped me prepare the ground for tilling and fertilizing. It is possible that since he worked at a "Garden Center and Nursery" as his day-job, that he simply got "burnt-out" on things at his farm. He often joked that although HE had the paperwork certification; I had the actual "green-thumb" and genuinely worked-the-soil.

I tried to ease his mind that I only had practical experience from years and years of doing gardening with my late parents. Yet, the gardens I planted produced bountiful harvests. I even had cousin Jon pick the very first zucchini squash. It was his favorite and he ate it with great delight. I felt he deserved to enjoy the produce that was grown. Plus, I don't eat squash myself at all. As with many things: I grow it, but I seldom ate anything I planted (except for our potatoes) since I am a breakfast-fare type of food eater.



I have tons of respect for my deceased cousin. His flaw was that he moved from project-to-project without finishing. When I first came to his farm in 2004, he had just moved there a few months earlier. He was plagued by soil-erosion. So, I bought a 70-pound bag of grass-seed from Kansas.

I was at his farm just a few days ago. It felt empty to be there without my cousin's presence. Years ago, he often complimented me on the lush green grass; plus I planted turnip-seed and patches of lettuce to help keep his sod stable to enhance soil-stability as well as "plentiful greens" for his chickens and goats. My cousin had the best of intentions. His knowledge was impeccable. Yet, he tended to procrastinate by his having so many irons-in-the-proverbial-fire.

I see this same trend among various other people who make "New Year's Resolutions" to diet, lose weight, read a certain book, commence a remodeling project, or to spend more quality-time with their families. My advice to everyone: Make your New Years' Resolutions "stick". It will require personal fortitude and a plan to adhere to. The focus MUST BE on ATTAINING THE GOAL not merely making the "RESOLUTION".

It was bittersweet to see my deceased cousin's old farm. I miss him a great deal. But it was rewarding to see the lush green grass (even in winter) a deep, pleasant shade of 'green'. It was pleasant to see patches of purple-top turnip leaves and broadleaf turnips waving in the breeze.

Although there were no more goats and no more chickens to enjoy that greenery...just the sight made me think of all the happy memories. Granted, it took effort, but I am glad that I stuck to the "Resolutions" which I was able to follow-through and accomplish.

So, if anybody makes a "New Year's Resolution", I hope they will stick to it; stay motivated; and stay on-track not just in January, but in May or August or even nine years from now...you can take your own satisfaction in "staying-the-course" to achieve a goal. If you succeed, you will be glad that you "held firm". A pledge means nothing unless you "follow-through" on it.

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