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Good Morning! January has been been cold, gray and full of distractions and I am off my blog rhythm. Installs are going slowly because Houston can become a big mud pit when it rains! And the cold makes it takes days for the soil to dry out enough to work. Shawn is finding his new wellies are getting a lot of use. As I catch you up with life here at Ravenscourt and our landscaping and design business I will share pictures of my amaryllis that decided to start blooming this week. Christmas has come and gone and while I was so disappointed my Grand Trumpet® Nature’s Grace Red Amaryllis did not bloom in time to be table decorations, I am really enjoying them now as they greet me every time I go into the kitchen. 	  Grand Trumpet® Nature's Grace Red Amaryllis SingleJust after Christmas one of the crew, J.A., who has been with us since the beginning was bitten by what they believe was a Brown Recluse Spider. He didn’t realize it at first and let days go by before heading to emergency on New Years eve because he was not able to walk. It has been weeks of prayers, worry and doing what we can to help, while he recovers. The doctors said it is a miracle he survived. They told him if he waited one more day to go to the hospital or if he was forty not thirty and he would have died. Thankfully, I can now say he is doing well and just came home from the hospital yesterday. Shawn talked to him today and he was in good spirits and very happy to be back home. I share this for two reasons. If you have an insect bite that is very painful go to the doctor immediately. And secondly because part of owning a small business involves getting attached to the people that work for you.  It is truly an interdependent relationship. I was not worried about being down a person and how it impacted our progress. I was worried sick that he would not survive. I worried for his wife and family too!  	  Grand Trumpet® Nature's Grace Red Amaryllis SingleJanuary is one of the quieter months of the year for requests for landscape designs. This is good because it gives us time to catch up with paper work like closing out the year, getting ready for taxes and getting the office organized. This was interrupted with furniture in the office and living/meeting room moved and eventually pushed to the middle of the room under plastic sheets. We had been on the waiting list of The Sash Guy for almost 2 years. We wanted to get all the windows in the downstairs unbolted and working again. Not really knowing what this would entail or how long it would take we jumped at the chance to finally get this project going.  That started the Monday after Christmas and took almost two weeks; hard to heat the house with the windows open : ). When I complained, Shawn reminded me, it is probably better it is cold than warm, or the house would be full of mosquitoes.  Then we had to have them painted. This all wrapped up this week. Yeah! I am back to my quiet space where I can think and be creative.   	  Grand Trumpet® Nature's Grace Red Amaryllis SingleBecause it will be a while before J.A. will be able to work and because we lost a few other crew through the year, we find ourselves starting our spring hiring early. We do have a core group; each year as we grow we add one or two more. We are now running two crews of 3 to 4.  We have found with a small business like ours it is important to get the right people and give them time to fit in. We also needed to start finding crew so they have time to train. 	  Grand Trumpet® Nature's Grace Red Amaryllis SingleSo instead of being here blogging, I have been going to lunch with friends and catching up, spending time upstairs cleaning out closets, rearranging furniture and objects as we put the rooms back together (slightly differently) and having fun tending to the porch plants that have been hanging out inside staying warm. IMG_6359  	  Grand Trumpet® Nature's Grace Red Amaryllis SingleToday finds me very grateful knowing J.A. is alive! Pleased we have windows that are not drafty and actually open. Happy the amaryllis waited to bloom until I was getting tired of gray. The vivid red against the gray skies outside the window is the perfect background.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and I hope your 2015 is off to a smoother start than ours has been!

Happy Gardening!