Day 46: Outgrowing
So there is something I have found out with growing veggies in pots. It is wise to contemplate the size your plants will be in its adult stage of growth.
Take for instance cucumbers and zucchini. They need lots of room to grow. Where one grows all over the place (cucumbers), zucchini also need a good place to send their roots down, as well as bush out. In the case of these particular plants, I was running out of root space for them to grow well. So I got bigger pots! It was more expensive than I would like to pay for any pot, but thus far except for dirt and plants I had not invested much in this endeavor. It’s been only a couple of days, but I’m happy to say the zucchini plants as well as cucumbers are doing much better. I put both my cucumber plants in one big pot and zucchini in separate pots. Both are blooming and producing nice fruit.
I also repotted my green pepper plants and have several peppers coming on. Last evening I attempted to separate small seedlings of beets that were in clumps in their pot. I carefully moved each seedling around in the pot to give them more room to grow. My most difficult separation was green beans I had planted in window pots. I could see that it wasn’t going to be long before these plants maxed out their growing room. It’s amazing how many surface roots are around the plants and how their roots had intertwined with each other. Could I separate main roots and the plants survive on their own? That was the question.
That was last evening. Today I can report they are doing good so far. Surgery of separation was a success.
So today I encountered another dilemma. Along with the veggies I also have some flowers. Lantana are one of my favorite plants but I also have two gerbera daisies. I wondered why the mother mockingbird was squawking at me every time I was out by the garden. She has one of her babies hidden in my daisies!
Each day is a trial and error. I never know what the new challenge will be. I’m still trying to figure out the tomatoes. I know they like sun and lots of it. I tend to water too much when I see them wilt. Ugh! When it all comes down to the end of the day, I’ve been enjoying my little garden in pots. Like life it has its ups and downs with many challenges but also many rewards.
July 26, 2020
Day 45: A Gentle Reminder
On my Facebook feed quite often I see pictures of the past: a year ago, two years ago, etc. Last year at this time I had taken a picture of a (walnut caterpillar) I had spotted on my walk that looked like it was hanging in mid air. In reality it was on an unseen string and it was struggling to go back up to the tree to eat more leaves. Since then I have observed these critters and yes they completely deleaf trees especially when there is a bunch of them.
Earlier this month while on a early morning walk I just about walked into several strings of these caterpillars in my path. Naturally, I took a picture.
Today on my morning travels, I saw a string with two working their way up to a tree. Each time of seeing these, its always been when I’ve been facing a struggle of my own and trying to climb out of a mess or overcome an obstacle. The thought that stirred today is, you are not alone! The thought, “we’re all in this together,” came to mind but an even greater thought was, no matter how difficult the struggle we face we are not alone. There is one greater that comes alongside to walk with us. In this case,”hang with us”. To those who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are never alone in this world. He is our constant companion, a good listener, our hope, our encouragement. He is our song, our peace, our purpose, our joy. He is our security, our identity and in Him, we are accepted.
Yes these caterpillars show up at strange times for sure, but I also believe at least for today they were serving a “higher” purpose.
July 20, 2020
Day 44: Count your Blessings
For the most part, my morning walks are normally full of excitement and anticipation of what I will encounter along my trail. But there are some days that my walk feels like drudgery and well meaningless. Today happened to be one of those kind of mornings.
Part ways through I started being thankful for various things: Another day to get out of bed, to be able to see, to smell, to touch, to walk with my dog and even reflected on past things I had experienced over the years on my path. As I traveled on, my thoughts went to a neighbor who has been struggling with a cough for several weeks. I let her know I was thinking of her. This opened the door to thoughts of others I knew that could use prayer or encouragement.
Funny, when I changed the focus from myself to being thankful and thinking and praying for others, my disposition changed dramatically. My day ended up being a rather nice day for a Monday!
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
July 19, 2020
Day 43 Oh no, my brush is down the drain!
I was thinking on a song our churches choir has sung for several years while getting ready for church this morning. The refrain goes something like this, “ No storm can shake my inmost calm, when to that rock I’m clinging, since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?” I had just put my liquid foundation makeup on and was putting on my powder foundation when the unimaginable thing happened. My brush fell down the drain! Thankfully I pulled up the stopper which held it in place from going farther down. Why was the drain open in the first place you ask? That’s a story in itself. So on with the drama. Tweezers and a comb didn’t work. Were there pliers in the pickup that was close outside? No. So the next best thing was to head to the barn. Thankfully I knew where the pliers were.” Long nosed “did the trick. Did I say it was after 8 and church is at 8:30 and I still had hair to dry.
Well the brush was saved, I finished getting around and we made it with a few minutes to spare. I was still singing... a dilemma (a small storm) had risen up. What to do? I kept my head. I asked the Lord what to do and he guided me better than I could think or imagine, with perfect timing.
Does life always work that smooth. Not always. When such things arise I normally panic. I’m learning that many of life’s difficulties get worked out a lot quicker if I keep calm. Faced any storms lately? There is “one” who is in the midst of the storm with us bringing us to a safe and calm haven.
Day 42 Not Today
Normally I come up with something to blog about but not today. I have a headache that keeps hanging on and I’m tired. So I will share some recaps of the day.
I was able to be an encouragement to a friend that is struggling with a decision. Thankful for the experience in my own life to give her advice.
Name that Tune played This evening was a good time connecting with family.
Our Bible Study group is studying a book by Andrew Womack called “Don’t Limit God”. I have a lot to learn in that respect. Lots of meat to chew.
The dishes are done and so am I. Good Night!
July 17, 2020
Day 41: Covid and Nursing Homes
Since March 15 I have not been able to visit, hug, or kiss, my parents in the nursing home. It’s not that they aren’t cared for because they are, as well as can be expected. Plus the nursing home is very good at keeping me informed of the facility and the safety and well-being of mom and dad. Thankfully with technology, we attempt FaceTime and I visit them both standing or sitting outside dads room. I guess it could be a lot worse.
As I visited them today through the window, there were so many small things I naturally would have done in their presence. Comb their hair, brush their teeth, put lotion on their hands, hang new pictures, trim nails and paint them, help sort stuff they have collected these many weeks, shaving them, tidying up their room. Helping them to understand why I can’t take dads tray through the window, or why can’t I help do this or that was the real challenge. Also note to self, be careful how much you take to give them, it overwhelms them and they they don’t know what to do with it.
I quite often come away feeling so unsettled. I realize that the real mom and dad are there physically just not always mentally. I’m learning not to be so sensitive, but I do miss them. Things that normally bothered me, I’m learning to except. Coming away being thankful helps tremendously. Thankfully, I was able to see them another day, thankful they were alert enough to know me and talk to me. Thankful they were doing good enough to sit up and even grumble and complain a little. You know, thankfulness rids me of being unsettled. Maybe this time of social distancing with Covid has helped me to let go of them a little easier.
July 16, 2020
Day 40: It’s the Little Things
I’m going to take a minute a share with you about how God provided a little thing for me today.
I have a recipe I use to marinate chicken breasts. Unfortunately its full of sodium, but it sure does make the chicken taste yummy on the grill. But that’s not my reason for mentioning it.
I’ve had 4 chicken breasts in the refrigerator to use. I hadn’t been able to spot the soy sauce in the door when I’ve thought about marinating the chicken. While looking for something else This morning, I spotted it and wondered if I had enough in the bottle for the recipe. I took the chicken out and trimmed the fat, and reached for a measuring cup to see how much soy sauce was in the bottle. It measured exactly ¾ of a cup. My recipe calls for ¾ of a cup. Now to many of you that’s no big deal, maybe even a coincidence. But I think differently.
Sometimes when we are looking for the big thing to happen we fail to see the little nuggets He throws in our path. I was very thankful to find I could put everything together for this meal. Thank you God for opening my eyes to your provision in the little as well as big things.
July 15, 2020
Day 39: Gardening over the Years
For many years since we have been married, my husband and I have had a garden. When the kids were young we encouraged them to help plant and tend to (weed) the garden. As the old familiar story goes, everyone normally likes the food that comes from the garden but not all want to do what it takes ( canning, freezing, pickling) to get it to the table.
It was this way when my sister and I were growing up too. Part of the reason we moved to the country was mom thought we needed to know what grew on vines and what grew on trees and not be ignorant of garden and farm stuff. Every summer we would plant a huge garden. Instead of daily going out and weeding, the weeds would about take over and then mom would drag us girls out early in the morning to pull the pig weed. Little did I know what a valuable lesson this really was. It’s always easy to start a garden and keep it up for awhile but its not long before everything gets out of hand... way too many weeds and zucchini coming out our ears.
With two of our children away from home, I’ve cut way back on gardening. In fact I’ve tried something different. I’m growing several things in pots this year. So far so good. With the hot weather this year it has been a bit challenging. Plants all need water, sun, good nutrients and proper growing conditions or at least near good conditions. Pots make that a bit more challenging. Some things need lots of sun and dry conditions to flourish while others need less direct sun. How to get this all figured out when in pots can be interesting. Take for example zucchini. They grow big and bush out. Keeping the proper amount of water in the pot and nutrients to keep them flourishing keeps me always watching and tweaking. One nice thing is I can move the pots around if I want. It is a learning experience anyway.
I’ve had lettuce and zucchini out of the garden so far with many of the veggies loaded with blossoms. The weeding is the easiest so far. Which I really like. Hopefully I will keep tending to my little garden and see what all will be harvested. Here’s to gardening.
July 14, 2020
Day 38: My Favorite Time
I have mentioned in past blogs, my daily routine of walking in the fields. Of all the times of day I walk, I must say as of recently the earlier the better. I will say between 6 and 6:30 in the morning.
There is something mystical and magical about an early morning walk. As the sun begins its course of the day on the eastern horizon, all of creation wakes with the suns first shafts of light. The shadows like the morning dew hang heavy over the fields.
It doesn’t bother me its wet, that’s what makes it so lovely. My husband keeps my path mowed often so the grass is not very tall and I wear waterproof shoes.
This morning the baby spiders had their webs of many sizes on display. Believe it or not the little purple thistle that are blooming have a fragrant sweet smell as I passed them. The Wood Satyr, and Pearl Crescent butterflies were drying their wings in the morning sun. The Timothy hay on the set aside ground has finished blooming and is ripe for mowing. The morning glory opens beautifully with a bee stopping by for nectar. This morning was especially cool but that was ok. Too many sights to see and observe to feel the cold. I especially love the time alone in the quiet. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the song, “He Walks With Me”. A little quiet time alone with God.
Every day is different. That’s what’s so amazing about early morning walks.
July 13, 2020
Day 37 How’s your roots?
I’m sure different ones would say what roots are you talking about June? Hair roots, family tree roots? Where are you going with roots?
Root systems are something I have been pondering the past week or two and yesterday the sermon at church talked about the sower and the seed. Since my husband is a farmer there is lots of talk about soil, nutrients, rain and the lack there of. Since we have experienced a total opposite weather pattern from last year with its wet, wet and more wet, this year has been dry, dry and pretty much dry with a blessed couple of showers thrown in. My husband and I had a discussion not too long ago about when is a good time to plant crops? On the side of wet or on the side of dryer conditions? He said to plant dryer. He generally tries to put the seed in deep enough moisture so that if there isn’t a rain there is still some moisture there for the seed to germinate and grow. For both corn and soy beans you want a good hardy root system. One way for that to be established is during dry weather. Roots grow towards moisture as most would know. Dry spells force root systems to become better because they grow down and deep tapping into moisture and nutrients in the soil.
On the flip side of that, soils that are really wet make for shallow root systems that are just below the surface. When hot dry weather comes, its really difficult for the crops to withstand the difficult conditions. They dry out, are susceptible to different diseases and subject to unhealthy plants which produce lower yields.
As I watch the crops grow in the fields, I’ve begun to apply this to my life and how I take care of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual root systems. Do I have shallow roots that cause me to be diseased and have “root rot” or do I cultivate good things go through dry, faith growing seasons that make my roots strong? It is an every day choice and challenge.
Here’s to a good growing season!