The most recent snow missed us (too bad), and now another cold front has settled upon the upper midwest. It looks grimly cold outside. This is a tough month for gardeners psychologically, and physically with limited exercise, but things are even worse for non-gardeners. As a recent retiree, people keep asking if TPP is OK, enjoying retirement, and keeping busy? Yes, yes, yes. There is a great thing about being a plant-loving, gardening botanist which is that you cannot actually find the demarcation between your work and personal life. So, when gardening is bleak and impossible, TPP turns to curation work and plants growing in the glass houses, and other things. And even now arrangements are being made for the purchase of a new Scaidopitys to replace the one that died from the summer drought in 2013. And of course, sort of conflicting with gardening, field research continues, although at this stage its just preparing for the field so seeds are being vernalized and seedlings have been brought out of cold storage. Lastly when you get stone cold bored, you can always blog, or cook, or do home improvement projects for you know who. So, no question about it, TPP finds plenty to keep himself busy and amused. An encounter with an unfortunate colleague demonstrated the problem some recent retirees have. He doesn't garden, cook, or do anything domestic; his research was expensive and the grants dried up, and students did all the work anyways, and someone else will be assigned the lab space. He said he found himself sitting at home watching TV and he realized how pathetic that was, but still hasn't found anything to keep himself amused, which is why he was hanging around the dept office talking with people. The lesson here is that everyone should garden; you always have something to do even if it's just reading seed/plant catalogs and browsing through nursery web sites waiting for February to pass.