I’m in the second year of my small berry crop. Here’s what I was anticipating by springtime:
Makes your mouth water, don’t it?
Especially for me, the non-gardener. I’m pretty proud of this little piece of earth, and all the sore muscles along the way. Bob has been very patient with the big Sutherlands Home and Garden truck pulling up unexpectedly (for him, that is), or the time(s) I have inadvertently left the hose on after watering, (okay, so I get distracted.)
His tastes buds do reap the benefits, however, except for that year I had an over-abundance of cucumbers—he still requests no cukes in the smoothies… Currently, our favorite taste treat is the fresh raspberries and blackberries coming in from the second-year plants. YESssss!!
Unfortunately, this year the birds have likewise found them. Especially the blackberries. I wondered why I wasn’t seeing the ripened fruit day after day, and here’s evidence (it’s not for the faint of heart)—
Now, I love birds. They serenade me in the morning. But that doesn’t mean they get paid by my hard worked-for berries. So off to Sutherlands I go (didn’t need their truck for this one) to get some equipment, and concocted this:
Not only was it not pretty, it was also not entirely functional. It didn’t fit, which meant there were gaps in the netting, and my attempts to cut and paste (well, zip-tie) left much to be desired. Birds aren’t quite as dumb as I gave them credit, at least not when they’re hungry. They know a good berry crop when they see it!
Learn from my mistakes, call my Dad for a little review in mathematic calculations, and a little ingenuity from Pinterest, and here is my current barricade:
Already I have seen a feathered kamikaze bounce off in bewilderment!
Inspecting my handiwork that next morning, I notice a few gaps, but also some nicely ripening blackberries. I easily reposition and secure the netting, and let the fruit do its thing, unmolested and secure.
“Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.”
I like that “guard AND keep”. It’s one thing to set up a protective fence but it’s another to make sure it’s still effectively working. And when it comes to protection, one size definitely does not fit all.
My precious berries were already protected from the ground forces of bunnies by the wire fencing—I learned that one the hard way a long time ago. But just having put in the berries last year, I hadn’t counted on the air strikes (although, I confess, I had heard of them from the past…oh, if only I had paid attention to experienced gardeners!!)
After losing some of the crop, I went into action—better late than never. But unfortunately, I “reacted” rather than “researched” properly, which left gaps and wasted time and money.
Finally, sacrificing some time (allocating that precious resource to a perceived priority—my berries!!) and relying on the experience of others, I have a tailor-made plan to “guard and keep” for a fruitful harvest.
When it comes to relationships, whether it’s in the family, or even in the Body of Christ:
- Protection must be intentional. (And it’s rewarding to see Satan just bounce off, not that he won’t try again.)
- We are given a template, but each “fence” will be unique; to force one on another will cause gaps and allow the enemy in to eat the “fruit”. (Ask me how I know…)
- Research is better than reacting. Humbly asking for help if more effective than wasting time and emotion on crisis management.
- Protection is ongoing: frequent inspections and adjustments must be anticipated. It’s called communication and resilience. Forgiveness and grace.
Fruit takes time (and effort) to produce. But its reward is sooooOOO000ooo sweet.
Ephesians 4:3 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation