The year 2020 will soon draw to a close. What a year! I reflected on all that has happened, and saw my year had begun and will close with the Festival of Trees at the Ward W. O’Hara Agricultural & Country Living Museum and Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski Sr. Education Center. This eighth year of the festival promises to be a bright spot and diversion during a difficult time. We all need some fun now. Tradition, too!
On Jan. 13, 2020, my daughter Lynne and I visited the museum. All the trees were still set up, the voting finished. I was told they had over 4,000 visitors. We marveled at the variety, and I was enchanted to see the second place winner was Brookside Veterinary Clinic. The staff had placed pictures of clients’ family pets (including the one shown with this column) as their submission. He is my friend Andrea’s Mortimer T. Katt, and golly, Mortimer doesn’t look too happy in his New Year’s celebration hat! He looked like my Molly, so I took extra time to view that tree. I also made a mental note to join in on the fun and help decorate a tree come December.
The plan was to do a nature theme, highlighting a garden. Everything should be handmade. The first ornament would be Judge Robert Contiguglia’s milkweed pod duck. He had made many of them to give away to friends. He brought them to the sportsmen’s club on Rockefeller Road. My son-in-law Scott came home with one. I loved it.
September found me with my friend Todd Gaglianese in his backyard collecting milk weed pods. I brought them home and laid them out in the greenhouse to dry and turn brown. In October, I opened the pods and removed the seeds to let them dry some more. On a windy day in late October, I ventured into the pasture next door and let the helicopter seeds flutter in the wind, hoping they will take root and provide a home and food next summer for monarch butterflies. The round head for the duck was collected in the pasture and along the hedge row.