We’re rewarded sweetly when we tend to nature

Ellen Emery

Every time I stopped to visit a friend at her nursing home room, I was amazed by the beauty of a seasonally decorated evergreen tree in her room.

The tree, that was perhaps 3 or 4 feet tall, stood in her room throughout the year.

I believe it was this woman’s daughter who decorated the tree seasonally.

There were the loveliest of Christmas decorations, which transformed into snowflakes for January, hearts and then shamrocks and flowers.

What fun it was to stop and visit and enjoy the tree decorated in its holiday finery.

I think I have shared in this column that our feline friend, Tigger, loves digging in dirt and eating plants.

Each plant that The Gardener has brought inside or has cared for so wonderfully (he actually harvested a lemon this week from an indoor plant) has to be in a hanging basket in order to survive our Tigger’s enthusiasm for digging and chewing each plant in our home.

The first year Tigger arrived at our home, we discovered his ability to knock every ornament off our Christmas tree and climb within the branches digging his way through the tree.

It was then that a small potted evergreen tree was purchased and placed in a hanging basket high above our feline friend’s explorations.

This year, The Gardener brought in a small tree from our yard placing it in a hanging basket.

It was decorated for Christmas and decorated complete with lights and ornaments.

The tree is growing under The Gardener’s care and is waiting to be returned to the outdoors in a few weeks.

This past week, I looked at the tree and remembered the beauty of my friend’s decorated tree.

I suggested we decorate our evergreen for Easter.

I remembered some small wooden Easter eggs and bunny rabbits.

Those were placed on our tree.

And then I remembered a string of lights that I had forgotten to include when putting away our Christmas ornaments.

This string of lights had been placed in a drawer nearby.

Batteries were installed and we had a lighted Easter tree.

The string of lights is sound activated and great fun.

Each time we would talk or if the television sound increased, the lights would blink brighter!

(You can also set them on a steady light.)

We are venturing out more now that we have both had our COVID-19 shots (for which we are still most grateful), but time at home is still precious.

There are no small children in our home and no visitors to assist in dying eggs or to enjoy a basket of candy.

This seasonally decorated tree was great fun.

I would hope that others will decorate a tree or perhaps a large plant in your home — add flowers or butterflies or even a string of sound activated lights and enjoy your tree and celebrate the season.


Lucia Johnson will celebrate her birthday April 13.

What an extraordinary woman.

I think it was Jeff McCallus at Massena Hannaford’s grocery store who introduced me to Lucia.

One day as we visited in the check-out aisle, I was told about a local Massena woman who had had her recipe included in the Hannaford magazine.

He gave me a magazine, and I contacted the woman whose recipe was featured.

Lucia is truly amazing — so kind with such a caring heart.

She invited me to her home.

Her cooking is worthy of recognition in a national magazine.

Everything Lucia cooks and bakes is delicious.

Lucia also is a wonderful poet.

I love her use of words as she describes family, friends and life in the north country.

Her poems were published in a beautiful book, “Glimpses of Life.”

A note sent to me explained that this extraordinary woman had donated her proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association.

She and her daughters Marilyn, Stephanie and Charlene work tirelessly to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Their work is outstanding.

Each note, now mostly by email, and time spent visiting over coffee in her dining room are treasured.

What a marvelous “coffee drinking friend” and what an amazing individual.

How grateful I am that Lucia Johnson has touched my life.

My warmest wishes, Lucia, for a beautiful birthday and only the best as you celebrate your special day Tuesday.


Last week when I checked on the red-tailed hawk family in Ithaca, the Cornell Bird Cam showed three eggs in the nest, one more than when I had watched a few days earlier.

I believe the last few years there were also three eggs in her nest.

What I found amazing was the care the parents demonstrated that day.

It was snowing in Ithaca.

Father Arthur brought a branch for the nest — he laid it down and then fluffed his feathers moving in to take his turn sitting on the nest.

Mother Big Red left the nest with the father taking his turn with parenting duties.

What a lovely moment for those watching on a snowy Ithaca morning.


As I visit with others who live downstate and across the country, we are so fortunate to have gas attendants available to pump our gas.

I stopped Friday at Western Door.

The gentleman who pumped my gas is so friendly and helpful (complete with advice on speeding).

He took time to wash my windows.

And with my windows rolled up, I heard him singing from behind his mask at the back of my car.

What a joy!

Aren’t we lucky to live in the north country where a kind, caring gas attendant makes sure my car is ready for travel?

I certainly think so.


“So we take each day, and enjoy it to its fullest.”

— Lucia C. Johnson

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