Lesson Learned

It had been days since the sun had shined.  Then, yesterday morning, the sky cleared and the glorious sun approached the horizon.

There is something so rejuvenating about the sun in the middle of winter, isn't there?

By the time we had reached the chicken pen and started the second half of morning chores,
the sun had risen high enough to cast its rays upon the snow... illuminating the solid crust of the snow like a million sparkling gems.  It was spectacular!

Even the animals turned and faced the rising sun.... looking for some hint of warmth.

By afternoon, there was enough warmth that many of the animals napped in the sunshine.

The day before this photo of Brown Sammie was taken, beneath Old Job, our 200+ year-old pine tree next to the barn, Old Job was covered in ice... his branches hanging low to the ground.

By afternoon, the ice had melted as well as a patch of snow beneath  Job- leaving a single patch of green grass 
(the only patch anywhere on the farm.)  

Sammie was happy to have found that patch of earth.

In those places untouched by the sun, ice remained.

Even with the cold, the sunshine does so much to raise one's spirits.  We thoroughly enjoyed the change knowing that within the 24 hours that would follow, more snow was predicted to fall.

I am hoping that wherever you are located, you have power and heat and water.  I know that much of our country is battling extreme cold temperatures.

As you read this, this morning, chances are we are out shoveling paths for all of our friends yet again.

Just in time for a day of being cooped up, the chickens are enjoying their clean houses.  I did my best to pick up every single bit of chicken poo deposited last night in an attempt to keep their house as clean as possible.  I swear we spend most of our outdoor time cleaning up poop.  And I wouldn't have it any other way!!

 A few weeks back, while perusing my seed catalogs, I decided to do an online search for different colors of gomphrena and celosia.  I love these two flower breeds as they dry beautifully and their colors last.

I found a website "USA Garden Center" dot com.  The website said they were located in Fresno, CA, so I went ahead and ordered some seeds.

Yesterday this arrived:

(from China... of all places)  You might notice that the packets are not actually labeled... just seeds with a little scribble on the label as to the color.  I would never have intentionally ordered seeds from China and I am pretty sure that it is illegal to import seeds from China.  That would explain the customs declaration on the back of the envelope that declares the contents to be "headwear".

I immediately emailed the USDA and asked what I should do.  I know that the seeds must be disposed of to prevent the proliferation of invasive species.... and God knows what else might be in those packets.  The email that I received back referred me to our local USDA office.  I will be sending the seeds to the USDA with a cover letter explaining how it is I came to possess them.  I am hoping that they can do something to shut down the website.  At least I know the seeds will be disposed of properly.

Lesson learned:  I will only order seeds from the catalogs that I receive in the mail from now on.


colleen said…
I would be so ripping mad about the seeds!! It's almost impossible to find things not made in China. My husband pick up some clothespins for me from our local Amish store and was happy to report they were made in USA. In big letters on the front was the name of a town in PA...so one would assume they were getting USA made...wrong the fine print.. made in China. xoxoxo
Lisa said…
Or seed companies you know are reliable. Two of my favourite seed companies no longer send catalogues to save paper. Which I love.
Our weather here this year has been incredibly mild. So mild we were worried about tapping trees. It hasn't gone colder than -6 Celcius and most of the time it's been above freezing. We now have snow on the ground but not much since it rained cats and dogs two days ago. I think no where is more prevalent than SW Nova Scotia that shows the effects of global warming. When I was a child I began snowing in October and didn't stop till April. Now snow has gotten rare. Temps have gone up and our bay no longer freezes. Even our gardening zone has changed. We have birds and insects that we never used to have and Halifax is even growing palm trees!

Yes the warmer temps are nice on the old bones, but it's not good for our ecosystem.

Sorry for the rant. Just things like that bother me like crazy.
Tami said…
Beautiful pictures! Shocked about the seeds. Lesson learned indeed!
jaz@octoberfarm said…
i've been looking for some exotic seeds and now i will be very very careful! thanks for the heads up.
Diane said…
You should check out Seed Savers. An organization dedicated to saving heirloom seeds. Go to www.seedsavers.org
Anonymous said…
I'd recommend checking Etsy (yes, they have seeds). Before ordering, you are able to message the owner to ask the source of the seeds. Etsy is becoming my 'go-to' site when I am looking to buy.
Grandma Zee said…
So glad you were able to find how to dispose of those seeds. seedtreasures.com is a small family owned business in northern Minnesota, I have ordered from them for several years. They don't have a huge variety of flowers, but lots of heirloom tomatoes and other vegetables. I love their Bill Bean tomato and Amish gold slicer. They are certified heirloom and non GMO
This N That said…
China has their fingers in everything...Dog treats for one..If you read the fine print on some of the "Made in the USA" packages they have often been produced in China..packaged here or Visa Versa..Sorry about your seeds..Yes, who knows what you would be growing..I saw the Chinese lettering in the picture before you mentioned it in your post..That was an "Oh no" moment..Looks as if you got lots of new source suggestions..
Happy shoveling.
Leslye said…
What beautiful pictures of the sun coming up on the snow.Thank you for recommending "Penguin Bloom" and " My Octopus Teacher" they were wonderful.My Octopus Teacher was amazing!
daisy g said…
What a bummer! I am leery of buying from new to me companies.

Gorgeous farms cape photos.

Hope everyone is cozy at home.
Good grief. That's disgusting. And you wonder how many other people have ordered from that company online and are receiving seeds from China. Well, thank you for what you're doing with yours at least.
Lynne said…
The Seeds . . .
A bit scary . . .
Good for you getting right on it!
I am very careful about on line ordering . . .