A week ago my husband and I were in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We had six days mostly off the grid, reading and doing small projects. The day that we arrived it was raining. It rained a couple more days. One night we had thunder, lightening and a heavy down pour.
The benefit was all the bright green foliage, the wild flowers and the apple trees heavy with apples. When I took time to see the flowers, to pick apples and watch the birds flitting from tree to tree, I was refreshed.
For I know the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does in heaven and on earth, In the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
Psalm 135: 5-7
The prompt for Five Minute Friday is: RAIN Visit this community of writers by clicking here.
From spring to fall the garden is a place of wonder, amusement and challenge. Here are thirteen examples.
The tulips are one of the first blooms in my yard.
The scent of the lily of the valley is pleasing. I love how the little bells peek out from the green fronds. This is the flower for the month of May—the month that my first baby was born.
The elderberry bushes had abundant flowers this year so I picked the flower heads (umbels) and made elderflower syrup. You can find the recipe here.
When the elderberries are ripe—they are also abundant—I will make elderberry juice. You can find the recipe here.
This year I picked 6 quarts of cherries from the cherry tree, but this tree requires a lot of tending. You can read about it here.
The grandchildren enjoy picking the raspberries, mulberries and currants.
It was a delight to see a hummingbird flit among the branches of the cherry tree. I placed a hummingbird feeder close to the tree. The little bird has been back.
The pickling cucumbers are growing well. I have been making lacto-fermented pickles. You can find a recipe here.
This year I am growing tomato plants in containers. I was so pleased to see the developing tomatoes. And then I noticed a half eaten tomato. The next day I realized that there was a huge tomato worm on the plant. (Where do they come from?) He had devoured the leaves from two stems and was devouring another tomato. I had to call my husband to pick him off. (Didn’t even think about taking a picture this voracious green worm!)
I have become quite good at finding the Japanese beetles on my plants and can readily pick them off. If you find them in your yard, pick them off and drop them in a container of soapy water.
The calendula flowers in glowing colors are blooming. I pick the blooms and dry them for tea. The flowers are also good for making a salve. Read more here.
As I watched from my kitchen window I noticed a squirrel that was busy trying to untangle a burlap strip that I had wound around the base of the plum tree and a steel rod. The plum tree was growing at an angle, and I was trying to help it grow upright. The squirrel ducked in and out of the burlap, gnawing at it. When I went outside he scampered away. He had it shredded the burlap in places, hoping to carry it off.
The zinnias are beginning to bloom. At first they have a single layer of petals. And then additional layers appear and the color becomes richer. It is a nice metaphor for the way we grow as Christians. As we follow the Lord obediently, spending time in the Word, our life becomes fuller and richer.
Today’s prompt for Five Minute Friday is: THIRTEEN Visit Kate Motaung’s blog to see the various ways writers were inspired by this word. Thanks for visiting!
It is the last day of February and my dwarf irises are blooming. I was surprised to see their purple petals as I returned home from a weekend trip. Winter isn’t over, but my tulip and hyacinth bulbs are sprouting leaves.
What will our spring be like? My thoughts turn to garden plans. Every year I like to introduce a new plant to my herb garden.
It is so convenient to have fresh herbs for the kitchen. I have thyme for chicken and broth, sage for turkey, rosemary for potatoes and soups, chocolate mint for coffee, tarragon for salad dressing and basil for pesto and tomato sauce.
This year I want to add stinging nettle. I am familiar with nettle tea, having read about it in the Wise WomanHerbal for the Childbearing Year.
The common stinging nettle is a uterine tonic and general nourisher with a special ability to strengthen kidneys and adrenals. Its high mineral and chorophyll content makes it an excellent food and tonic for the hormonal system.*
TheNew American Herbal has more information about this plant. It is called stinging nettle because the leaves have fine hairs that cause pain and inflammation when touched. It is important to wear rubber gloves when harvesting the leaves of this plant.
Properly handled with gloves and long sleeves the leaves can be easily gathered and then neutralized by the heat of cooking . . . Once you know how to respect them, you’ll find nettles deliciously mild with a deep nutty green taste and a slightly minty finish. **
I saw a recipe for nettle soup in a Swedish cookbook. I think the nettle leaves would be a good addition to broth—adding good mineral content as well as flavor.
And so I will order some stinging nettle seeds from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds. Then I have to decide on a safe place to grow them—perhaps in a container.
Do you have some garden plans?
*Susun Weed, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, Ash Tree Publishing: Woodstock, New York, 1986, p. 2
**Stephen Orr, The New American Herbal, Crown Publishing Group, New York, 2014, p. 330
In late April of 2012 we visited Windmill Island Gardens in Holland Michigan. The park wasn’t due to open quite yet, but the tulips were early and we were fortunate to see the gardens in full bloom.
Tulips have so many varied colors. It it a tribute to the Creator of all flowers.
The news and politics can weigh heavy on my mind, but God makes rest and joy available in nature. I have some tulips blooming in my yard– and happy memories of Windmill Island.
When I go out to the garden the noise and rush of the world comes to a pause. Now the peony stems and buds are poking through the soil. The lilacs are beginning to bloom and I see the promise of berries on bushes and strawberry plants.
The poem by Winifred Mary Letts (1882 – 1972) makes me smile.
That God once loved a garden we learn in Holy Writ. And seeing gardens in the Spring I well can credit it.
It is easier follow the guidance given in Philippians while working in the garden.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
Can you imagine what it was like for Adam and Eve to talk with God in the first garden?
We had a lovely afternoon at the Chicago Botanical Garden. The flowers were in bloom in the conservatories. Lovely wreaths adorned the walls. Poinsettias lined the displays and were hanging from the ceiling! A variety of trains were on display as a Christmas exhibit. The miniature trains travel on tracks through scenes of Chicago.
Are you discouraged by the conflicts and moray decay all around us? I am. The study of the book of Acts is giving me hope. I am glad that this book was chosen for the fall Precept Bible study.
Sometimes political issues stir my emotions. Can political action groups solve the problems? They may have a place, but the problems in our country are spiritual.
It is not wrong to stand up for a point of view—in fact we must pursue truth. Every life is valuable. God designed marriage as one man and one woman. This truth comes from the word of God.
As I spend time studying the Bible, I realize that God’s plan of salvation is woven through the scriptures and this message is most important. The gospel changes hearts. The apostles spoke about Jesus:
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
The apostles and early church were focused on the message of the gospel. Even when persecution began they prayed for boldness.
And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness. Act 4:29
Followers of Jesus, the church, have a specific role for this time. We are called to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Through our words, our attitudes and actions we have a responsibility to have a message that points to Jesus and salvation. Sometimes we fall short. We need to be in the Word, in prayer and dependent on the Holy Spirit. Jesus has given the Holy Spirit to be our helper.
I know that I am more sensitive to the Holy Spirit when I am studying my Bible, spending time in prayer and joining in fellowship in my home church. These are necessary activities. I encourage you to embrace these practices.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God, among those who are being saved, and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2: 14-15
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for completing the plan of salvation. Thank-you for forgiving my sins and giving us your Word. Guide me by the Holy Spirit to be a witness for you.