But it’s dirty!

dirt
Happy birthday to me!!

Thought you could get rid of me, right?  Uh, huh, I’m like that bad penny that keeps coming around.

Actually, my dad warned me about being busier after retirement than before.  My gracious!  Right now I’m sitting on daughter #1’s back porch in California as her daughter #2 is getting ready to make her world debut…the sooner the better as far as mom is concerned.  (Remember those days, ladies?)

From here I fly to upstate New York where my own daughter #2 is recuperating from recent knee surgery.  All this after returning from seeing daughter #3 and fam over in Scandinavia earlier this summer. 

Has anybody got the time??  My body’s not sure anymore.

Oh yeah, then there’s this manuscript I’m trying my hand at writing, like half of the world also does.  But hey, it’s retirement!

Now, both of my sons-in-law are gardeners at heart, and I like to take cues from them.  Sitting out here in the beautiful southern Cal morning, I’m appreciating some of Mike’s creative handiwork remembering how we talked about improving our dirt—his is clay-ish, and mine back in the Midwest, who knows.  As I walked out to the porch this morning, I note bags of nice brown mulch.  He has plans!

It reminds me how the top of my wish list for any gifts for the past several years as been: dirt.  Bob, however, does not find that particularly appropriate or romantic, as in…

“No, honey, I don’t want to buy you dirt for our anniversary!  Can’t you think of something else?”

“But”, I counter, “you like to eat the things it grows, right?”

It doesn’t work.

So, I continue to buy myself dirt, the good stuff, to improve the soil in my gardens so I can improve the crops I plant. 

My sons-in-law and I also enjoy talking about compost, how to make it better, how we create our areas, all that.  It might not make for engaging conversation at a red-carpet party, but nonetheless.

As the old saying goes “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  So true.  How often is something I initially see as unclean or unworthy of my attention actually show up as foundational to what God is trying to accomplish in my life?  My vision needs to be renewed.

“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!”

Now there’s food for thought, but first the food must be planted in the dirt.

Okay, family’s waking up soon and grandma is going to be on duty.  Hope y’all are fine and I’m still here.  God bless!

1 Corinthians 5:16  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Just another part of a healthy garden

gardener-3336148_1920It’s August, and we’ve finally gotten a little rain.  My lack of gardening prowess is showing of late.  Part of it is not my fault—the flowers look considerably scorched because I’ve reserved most of the watering for the edibles. 

Unfortunately, even the tomatoes and cukes are having a tough time, which IS my fault. 

Composting, planting, weeding—I’ve definitely increased my skill set over the years.  Pruning, however…not so much:

garden

Problematic on a few different levels, right?  Continue reading “Just another part of a healthy garden”

Plug in the ears

books-3322275_1920You know that saying “so many books, so little time”? I’m considering an audio-book app for my phone.  It’s that time of year where I spend a considerable amount of daylight in the garden, which means my mind just kind of wanders, I suppose. 

I’m checking out the one from Amazon, lots of books I can download for around $15 a month.  However, that’s a chunk of change over time, so I may need to do some creative budgeting if I go that route. 

Of course, they have that inviting hook of a 30-day free trial, cancel at any time and get one or two books free to start the subscription.  And there’s this one book on prayer I’m interested in.

Hummmm…. Continue reading “Plug in the ears”

Which way?

flu-1679104_1920Week #2 of what has turned into a nasty sinus infection.  The cough is so persistent that REM is a luxury, and of course, lack of sleep sets me up for another migraine, which greeted me this morning when I woke up after a few hours of rest.  Bob was about to drag me to the doctor (nurses are such good patients, you know) but I betook myself yesterday and was first in line. 

The doctor (one of my former students, BTW) basically said I was already doing all the right things, and then added an antibiotic and high-powered cough syrup into the mix. 

As I write this, I’m sitting on the patio.  The birds are singing, a distant rooster is trying to wake up the town, and Bob—bless his heart—is sound asleep in our bedroom which I vacated in the middle of the night so at least one of us could get some Z’s.

And I realize I am at a juncture.  I can follow my symptoms down that road of negativity, or…

I could rewind what I just wrote: I am sitting (not lying in a sickbed) outside (the weather is beautiful, sunshine dappling through the trees in the cool morning air) listening to birds.  I’m drinking my pot of Yorkshire tea.  I have a healthy husband who loves me and our family.  Most of my plants are actually thriving in the garden.  (Okay, people, that’s a big one, just saying.)

The list goes on from there.  And I’m reminded of someone in worse straits than I:

“A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.  Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.”

Severely beaten and thrown in a dungeon, not a pretty site.  There was no denying their pain or predicament, but they were also at a juncture.  Gripe and complain, or focus on and use the resources they had (each other, love of God, voices to worship).

Admittedly, God doesn’t always send His breakthrough in the form of an earthquake.  But almost always there are others watching and listening to how we respond prior to the breakthrough. 

The highest miracle, and the bottom line of all life’s situations, is the spiritual breakthrough of those influenced by Paul and Silas’s reaction to their circumstances.  Hmmmm…

My tea is now gone, and thankfully, so is the migraine.  Time for a little gardening.  (Shhhh…don’t tell Bob.)

Acts 16:22-25 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…

rake-24250_1280I was out raking up the sweet gums balls in the yard…again.  I never realized what an arboreous pain sweet gum trees are; beautiful, yes, but there’s nothing sweet about stepping on one of those blasted seed balls that drop in the spring and fall.  The little buggers can be downright treacherous! 

Try to mow the yard with them hiding in the grass, and they go flying like so many high-velocity projectiles.  You’d better hope you have shoes on or your foot can be impaled by the hard spikes on this leftover seed casing.  Even with shoes on, the little sphere doesn’t politely crush when stepped on; oh no, when it rolls underfoot, it can send the unsuspecting bi-ped flying, giving the same effect as slipping on a banana peel.  Continue reading “Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…”

Shovel…check. Ibuprofen…check.

I put in this new garden two years ago, by hand, meaning without much help except for the big farm and home truck that dropped everything off next to the driveway.  And let me tell ya, those railroad ties are heavy!  (I think Bob helped me with one of them, but he had previously hurt his back, so I sent him back indoors.)

It’s been beautiful and fruitful:

Things are growing in the new garden!

But now, a few seasons later, the dirt seems to have settled and is getting a bit low.  I’m always asking Bob for dirt for my birthday, or Mothers’ Day, but his romantic heart can’t bear showering dirt on his wife when other wives are asking for jewelry or flowers.  Continue reading “Shovel…check. Ibuprofen…check.”

Charlotte, in all her glory

At this writing, my back is still sore from hauling dirt to the garden and turning the two big compost bins with my American Gothic-esque pitchfork a couple days ago.  Sad commentary on my current level of fitness.  I’ve also been neglecting the compost for most of the winter, unfortunately.  Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to warmer temps coming back more consistently to my part of the planet, and I want to take advantage of them. 

Another thing that also returns with the rising thermometer are the arachnoids… Continue reading “Charlotte, in all her glory”

Scissors, please

IWAA7A gruesome site greeted me when tending the garden after being gone for a week of family vacation.  Sure, there were the typical weeds and such, no big deal, just hands and knees stuff.  But what gave me a drop-shoulder-roll-eyes kind of pause was the leftover feathered carcass of a bird that had obviously been trying to pilfer my blackberries, but had gotten entangled in the netting.

Not a pretty site.  Not a happy ending.  (I will spare any readers a photo.)  I mean, he was, after all, just trying to get something to eat, doing what birds do naturally.  It’s sign1not like I could put up a “No Trespassing” sign, although my dad suggested I could hang up some brightly colored ribbons.  That could help them at least see the netting, but the berries are just so inviting, I’m not sure it would divert them enough. Continue reading “Scissors, please”

Ripe pickins

garden lastOops, I picked this melon before its time:

melon (1)

In my defense, I didn’t know what it was when it was growing, since I didn’t actually “plant” it.  Then when it starting sprouting, I uprooted it to give it a better chance in the garden, and as it grew, thought maybe it was some sort of squash or something.  Lo and behold, as it began to mature, it’s a cantaloupe! Continue reading “Ripe pickins”

Good fences make for good gardens

garden lastThis place is a wreck.  Sitting out here on the patio in the early morning Missouri summer humidity, I’m looking at the weeds resolutely poking through the already treated pave stones.  There’s some unwanted green stuff growing amongst the begonia pots, and the garden hoses are in dire need of mending.  On top of all of this, a brown leaf just now floated gently down (to meet the weeds on the pave stones, I suppose.) 

Now wait a minute!  It’s only July!  I’m not ready for Autumn yet!  Besides, no fair, since I’ve been out of town for a week, which gave the weeds and their comrades free reign.   Continue reading “Good fences make for good gardens”