Top 5 Facts to Know about Spring in Shady Pines

Top 5 Facts to Know about Spring in Shady Pines

It’s Spring Y’all!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Our top story in The Shady Pines Gazette is that as of Tuesday March 19th Spring has Sprung! That’s right.

The good people of Shady Pines Story Town are brimming with excitement and energy. I’m Zulah Talmadge, Editor of The Gazette, and together with Scoop The Cub Reporter, we are on the story.

The truth is, Scoop and I love this time of year here in our small Southern town. There’s just a wonderful feel to the air.

We put our heads together and came up with the Top 5 Things we think about most this time of year. See if you agree with us.

Reasons We Love Spring

1. Warmer Temperatures

As winter fades from the calendar, the temperature slowly starts to rise.

We go from building creations in the snow while wearing heavy coats, scarves  and boots to something else entirely.

In the blink of an eye, we bring out light jackets, then sweaters and finally short sleeves.

Soon you hear children laughing and see them chasing one another while playing all sorts of games outside.

2. Longer Days

The reason all of us are staying outside more is becuase the days are getting longer.With the arrival of spring, daylight hours extend as the sun rises earlier and sets later.

This increase in daylight very clearly shows us the changing season.A happy family hugging their pets

And as an added benefit, all those rays of sunshine help lift our moods and increase our energy. Don’t just take our word for it. Watch the pets in your life and see how they’re reacting.

If they’re anything like the Sanders’ favorite critters, Boomer and Halley, you’ll have your hands and arms full keeping up with them!

The Azaela Festival

4. Blooming Flowers

One of the most visually striking signs of spring is the arrival of those springtime flowers.

Acoss the southern region where we live all kinds of flowers bloom during this time. Parks, gardens, and neighborhoods burst with vibrant colors.

Why you can see tulips, daffodils, cherry blossoms, and magnolias popping up.

But around here we are partial to azaleas.

In fact, azaleas are such a big deal, we created a whole festival devoted to them. Yep.

We call it – what else? The Azalea Festival. People get all dressed up to attend a whole weekend filled with events and live entertainment.

There’s even a full scale parade with an Azalea Queen and her Court.

It’s a bloomin’ good time for one and all!

What We Don’t Like

5. Allergy Season

Not to be a downer but we do have to mention a not-so-peasant part of all those flowering plants and trees.

One of the Signs of Spring is the increase in pollen levels which triggers seasonal allergies for a lot of us.

Those springtime trees, grasses, and flowers release pollen into the air.

If you’re sensitive to pollen you’ll probably find yourself with symptom like sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes.

Fortunately the pollen usually only lasts a few weeks.

Then you can put away the allergy meds, tissues and eye drops and enjoy spring to the fullest.

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Putting the Thanks into Thanksgiving with Thank You Notes

Putting the Thanks into Thanksgiving with Thank You Notes

Time To Give Thanks

Thanksgiving week is here. The hustle and bustle is revving up all over Shady Pines Story Town. Folks make plans to travel, to visit relatives, or to welcome family and friends coming here to stay for a spell.

I’m editor Zulah Talmadge. At The Shady Pines Gazette we like to find new ways to cover the holiday. Oh sure, Scoop the Cub Reporter and I were on hand for the Turkey Trot and other Thanksgiving-inspired events.

But we want to take a more personal approach to this holiday based on the importance of giving thanks and gathering together.

Taking Note

We’re asking our neighbors to write a thank you note of sorts and let us know what they’re grateful for this year. They can send an actual note by mail, or just send an email to our address and you can do the same:

This one comes from our very own mayor, Beauregard P. Fibbs. Let’s see what ‘ole Beau has to say, shall we?

Zulah opens the email with the official title, Mayor of Shady Pines, right there on top. Zulah thinks to herself, I can hear him clearing his throat before he wrote this. He does that before every speech.

“I believe I speak for many of the citizens of our wonderful town when I say this year we faced a most unexpected challenge. No weather forecast prepard us. When that raging storm hit us full blown over the summer we felt we had been punched in the gut. Those violent winds and flooding rains caused so much damage to businesses and homes. Afterwards, I was deeply grateful for the many acts of kindness that I saw firsthand. People stepped up and stepped in to help individuals and families who had to rebuild. I continue to be moved by the courage and selflessness of neighbor helping neighbor. In this time of Thanksgiving, let’s remember the value of community and the importnace of working together to make Shady Pines a very special place to live.”

Zulah takes a moment to collect her thoughts. She’s known Beau most of her life. They grew up together. She can’t remember when she’s heard him speak from the heart like that. “Wow. Good for you, Mr. Mayor,” she says softly.

Taking Stock and Being Grateful

Next, Zulah opens up an email from Harold and Edna Sanders. Harold’s Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware on Main Street is such a gathering spot with it’s soda fountain smack in the middle of the store. And Edna’s Kitchen off the back of their home on Dogwood Drive is the place to pop in and see what new recipe she’s cooking up for the neighbors.

“Edna and I are so thankful for all the blessings we’ve experienced this year. We’ve been able to stay healthy, which is the most important thing. The store is still going strong despite some storm damage,” says Harold.

“Darling, we need to mention that Boomer and Halley are doing well, too.  Our Boomer dog had that awful sore on his front paw but it’s so much better now,” says Edna.

Harold nods. “Yes and Halley spiked that fever and scared us to death. But thanks to the wonderful veterinarian who treats both of our kids, that clever scamp of a cat is back driving her canine brother crazy again.”

“We’re both fortunate to be able to help out down at the Shady Pines Community Center with the big, annual food drive that helps so many in need,” says Edna. Together they end their note: “This Thanksgiving we send our best wishes from our household to yours and hope that you put love and gratiude at the head of your holiday table.”

Zulah finds herself nodding her head as she reads the email from Harold and Edna. It’s so true. We all have unexpected challenges that we can’t control. It’s how we respond to the unexpected that’s important and meaningful.

Giving Back

Speaking of the Food Drive, here’s a note from Rita Moreno, Director of The Shady Pines Community Center. Let’s see what she has to say.

“Every year it seems the need for food and other services continues in our small Southern town. But this holiday season we are very aware that many of our neighbors are still struggling to recover from the storm. We reached out to our friends in nearby River City and have been overwhelmed by the response. Truckloads of food, clothing and everyday items have been arriving daily. It just goes to show you that there are good people everywhere who are willing to help. I am so grateful for the outpouring of love and generosity from strangers that is helping to rebuild lives here in Shady Pines.”

Connection Is Important

Next up is Kim Dunworthy. Our young postal worker has had her fair share of struggles. Not only did the storm damage part of the Post Office, but Kim’s apartment was hit as well. She is now living with a friend while repairs are underway. But nothing stops that young gal. She’s known as ‘Keep it Moving’ (Kim) Dunworthy. Kim’s taken on additional shifts to make sure the mail is delivered on time. Some days she’s so tired  she can barely wave to me. But still she keeps going knowing people depend on her. Their letters and packages are her highest priority.

“I am so very grateful for the faith and trust the folks in Shady Pines have placed in me. I may be fairly new but everyone here is so friendly and treats me like one of their own. This year has been tough on all of us. At the post office we had to overcome obstacles we never saw coming. I am thankful this holiday for the friends I’ve met, the kind and caring people who go out of their way to help, and the ‘never give up’ attitude all of my co-workers have shown. My very best to you all!”

Zulah pushes back her desk chair, stands up and takes a deep breath. I knew that I would probably read some sweet notes from the wonderful people who live here. I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I would feel after hearing their thoughtful and heartfelt messages. I think I have to take a little break before I read the rest.

But let me leave you, dear reader, with this thought. As tough as the blows of 2023 have been, countless examples of resilieceand the goodness of the human spirit have been on display as well.

Keep your loved ones close, celebrate the good when you can and give thanks for everyday blessings.

From all of us in Shady Pines Story Town, Happy Thanksgiving!

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It’s a Shady Pines Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

It’s a Shady Pines Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Halloween’s A Comin’

It’s that time people! Halloween in Shady Pines is a big deal. Around our small Southern town folks get gussied up in costumes.

They decorate their houses and stores and come up with all sorts of pumpkin drinks and recipes.

But first things first. Before that ghoulishly fun night of candy hunting gets here there’s something you’ve got to do.

It’s best done with friends and family.

Can you guess what it is? You got it. Let’s go to the Pumpkin Patch.

I’m Scoop, the Cub Reporter with The Shady Pines Gazette and I’m going there now. My assignment is to discover why so many folks say this is their favorite thing to do each year.

One thing I can tell ya, it doesn’t matter if you’re a toddler or a teen like me. A pumpkin patch is fun for everyone. So let’s Skeedaddle!

Good To Be Outside

We picked a beautiful day to be on the hunt for an orange orb. Hey, look. This working farm is so big you don’t have to worry about bumping into people. And think about this. Running around looking for the perfect pumpkin is good exercise isn’t it?

Okay, now that I’m here where should I start? I’ve gotta find people to interview for my story.

Oh, good. Here’s a mom with two youngsters. If your kids don’t explore the outdoors very often, this is a great way for them to discover nature. Seeing how pumpkins grow out of the ground and are attached to vines is very educational. It helps them understand that pumpkins don’t just show up at the grocery store automatically.”

You know there’s something else that’s good about a pumpkin patch. Around every corner you can  make all sorts of discoveries.

The Unexpected Finds

For instance, take a look at this photo I took. Do you see the colors of that butterfly next to the pumpkin? Being out on the farm you can be amazed at Mother Nature. I think this kind of stuff is really cool!

I met another mom who told me, “From the second we arrived, my children ran off with smiles, but quickly, they realized how much work it was to be in a field of pumpkins. Even running took work since the vines were everywhere, waiting to trip little, toddler-sized running feet.”

It turns out that not only is this a great way to spend time with the family, there are lessons to be learned. There aren’t a whole bunch of people working the farms these days. So a lot of  kids don’t realize it takes hard work to be a farmer.

One young girl I met was getting a little taste of that. Just trying to push a wheelbarrow with a big ‘ole pumpkin was something she hadn’t done before.

She said she didn’t know pumpkins grew from tiny seeds. She also didn’t realize that they come in so many shapes, sizes and colors. “It’s kinda like people, isn’t it? she asked.

I have to admit, I’d never thought of that before. One couple I met said they love coming out here each October. But this year it was especially important to them. “We know so many farms and other small businesses are struggling right now. It was important to us to come out and support them.”

Pumpkin Carving and Fun Recipes

That’s reason enought for me to go home with some pumpkins of my own. I don’t know about you, but our family usually has a pumpkin carving contest. Last year my dad won. It’s time for me to take the title back!

The other reason I need to pick up some pumpkins is to inspire my mom. Around Halloween she likes to scare up some pumpkin dishes for us. I’m talking about everything from pumpkin pies to pumpkin pancakes. Here are some recipes for you to try: PUMPKIN RECIPES

There’s one more thing I want to mention.

These pumpkin patch visits make for some great family photos. Everywhere I look I’m seeing parents taking all sorts of shots.

Oh, No! Look at the time. I’ve got to get back to the Gazette office. My editor, Zulah Talmadge, is probably wondering why I’ve been gone so long.  But this is just so darn much fun. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

– Scoop Out 

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Shady Pines Wonders What To Do on Earth Day 2023?

Shady Pines Wonders What To Do on Earth Day 2023?

 Give The Planet Some Love

Get ready because Earth Day is Saturday. Hi everyone. I’m Scoop the Cub reporter from The Shady Pines Gazette. Our planet is an amazing place but it needs our help to thrive!

That’s why each year on April 22, more than a billion people celebrate Earth Day to protect the planet from things like pollution and cutting down too many trees.

This year’s theme is: Invest in our Planet, Protect our Future

 By taking part in activities like picking up litter, recycling and planting trees, we’re making our world a happier, healthier place to live.

Plant That Tree

We learned in school that there are around 15 billion trees in the world that are cut down each year. You can make a difference by planting a tree of your own.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen for people to breathe. They also provide shelter and food for animals such as squirrels and owls.

Trees also provide shade where you can relax on a hot day.

Turn Off The Lights

Does that lamp really need to be on while the sun is out? Electricity doesn’t just happen—it has to be produced from things around us. A lot of times it comes from fossil fuels (like coal, oil, or natural gas) that contribute to climate change

But electricity can also be made from renewable sources like wind, water, and the sun.

No matter where it’s coming from, try conserving electrical energy by using only what you need.

Limit Your Water Use

It might seem like it’s everywhere, but clean, drinkable water is a limited resource. Did you know less than one percent of the water on Earth can be used by humans?

The rest is either too salty or too difficult to access.

Turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth can conserve up to eight gallons of water a day.

To help save even more water, challenge yourself to take a shorter shower (but still get clean!).

Offer Your Time

With a parent’s permission, you could volunteer to pick up trash. Editor Zulah Talmadge and I are going to be at Shady Pines’ Stonewall Park on Saturday to cover a ‘Trash Pick Up’ event. Maybe you could find something like that where you live.

You could even start a collection drive for recyclable items, or organize a screening of an environmentally themed movie.

By getting involved and working with others, you’re not just helping the Earth—you’re making new friends too!

Whatever you do for our planet let’s all pitch in, have some fun and try to make a difference!  –Scoop out!

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It’s About Time! Shady Pines Springs Forward

It’s About Time! Shady Pines Springs Forward

It’s Time For a Change

Hey, it’s me. I’m Scoop, your cub reporter with The Shady Pines Gazette newspaper. This just in. It’s that time again. Get, it, “time?”

We’re about to spring forward an hour due to Daylight Saving Time. It officially happens at 2am this Sunday morning.

So you might as well get ready now ’cause you know it’s coming. And for whatever reason, it always takes some getting used to.

“Scoop are you including in your article what people should do ahead of time?” asks Gazette editor Zulah Talmadge. “I know we always get letters from parents who say their kids are really affected by this change.”

“Yes, Ms. Talmadge. I’ve been doing some research and here’s what I found out.”

* To be on the safe side, Saturday night before you go to bed, remember to set all your clocks ahead one hour. Otherwise, when you wake up, you’ll be really behind.

Scoop sighs when he thinks abut this first suggestion.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been late for something on the Sunday after this happens!”

Zulah nods. “A lot of folks in Shady Pines wonder why we do this twice a year. In the fall we fall back an hour, and in the spring we spring forward.”

Scoop throw up his hands. “I know. It’s crazy isn’t it? There’s talk they may do away with Daylight Saving Time, but for now, we’ve got to live with it I guess.”

* Sleep experts suggest going to sleep — and waking up — slightly earlier in the days leading up to daylight saving time to help adjust yourself to the change. That’s why you need to start now.

Zulah has something to add. “You know what I started doing last year that really helped me?”

“What?” asks Scoop.

“Well,” says Zulah, “When I wake up on that ‘Change The Clocks Sunday,’ I open the blinds and get some sun. I do this right away. Or, I’ll take a morning walk, ’cause I read somewhere that helps reset your internal clock.”

It’s The Law

“Get this Scoop, In case you’re wondering how long we’ve been doing this, Daylight Saving became a federal law in 1966, with passage of the Uniform Time Act.”

“Oh, and another thing Ms. Talmadge,” says Scoop. “We have to remind folks that it’s Daylight Saving, not Savings, so they can correct any of their friends or family who get that wrong.”

The Rules Don’t Apply Everywhere

“That’s a good point Scoop,” says Zulah. “Here’s something that doesn’t make sense to me. We change our clocks and routine here in our small Southern town, but if you live in Hawaii or Arizona, you don’t have to do anything. Other non-observers include American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”

Scoop shakes his head. “I don’t get it. But I am going to ask our readers if they have any tips on how to get through Daylight Saving without it rocking their world, please let me know and I’ll share it with everyone.”

In the meantime, Scoop out!

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Celebrate National Make Your Dream Come True Day

Celebrate National Make Your Dream Come True Day

that Dream Big

Dreams are the wings that let us soar through life. And this year,  Make Your Dream Come True Day is Friday January 13th! Breaking NewsI’m Scoop The Cub Reporter here at The Shady Pines Gazette news and we’re learning about this in school.

It’s really cool. No one knows for sure when this “Day” got started. But the idea that dreams are important has been around for ages. Seriously.

Ancient people often believed that dreams were messages from a higher power.

In fact, the Ancient Egyptians believed this so much that they actually would lie down on special ‘dream beds’ in the hopes that a dream would give them advice, comfort, or healing. How about that?


There are other kind of dreams that highlight our hopes and wishes. Some people call those daydreams. I bet your parents have said to you more than once, “Stop daydreaming!” I get lost in my thoughts sometimes. But you should know that a lot of folks get some really good and creative ideas while they’re daydreaming. So don’t knock it!

Dreams Become Reality

If you want examples of people who dreamed something and then it turned into reality, here are a couple:   

A long time ago in 1865, a man dreamed up the idea of a little girl falling into a magical land and having all sorts of adventures with the characters she found there.
His name was Lewis Carroll and he wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Have you read the book or seen any of the movies?

If you have then you know reality merges with dreams in an amazing way in this children’s tale. Not only that, but it has become one of the most beloved and enduring children’s stories of all time.

Here’s another example. In 1925 a man turned a mouse into an empire.

The Most Recognized Mouse in The World

Back in 1928 Walt Disney dreamed up a cartoon character — Mickey Mouse — who turns out to be the most famous mouse ever. Mr. Disney created Mickey, and later Minnie Mouse, at a time when he was nearly broke.

Disney goes on to create an empire that is recognized around the world. I bet you’ve been to Disneyland or Disneyworld. And if you haven’t you probably want to go there.

The Magic Kingdom is filled with all sorts of wonderful characters from the many Disney movies that have been created over the years.

We Need Dreams

Big, small, and everything in between, we need dreams and wishes to make us want to do more. Some dreams even inspire us to make our lives better for ourselves and for the people around us.

Do you know why I feel that way? Because if one person hadn’t dreamed up Shady Pines Story Town I wouldn’t be talking to you right now.

I wouldn’t be learning how to be a good reporter and photographer from my mentor, editor Zulah Talmadge.

Most importantly, all the folks here in this tight knit community wouldn’t be here. And we know how much fun they have telling stories to kids to help them grow up to be good and decent people.

What are your dreams? Are you working on them? If not then maybe Make Your Dream Come True Day might be just the push you need to make your dreams come true too.

Sometimes, all it takes is a little encouragement!

-Scoop out

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