Well, hello there!
It's Spring. *does dance* Here in Southern Ontario, Winter is LONG. Like, 6-7 months of cold, wind, snow, ice, muck, very little sunshine but lots of grey days - long. Over the past years I have worked hard at embracing Winter and being thankful IN it - but boy, am I happy when Spring finally comes. When the sun comes out and the grass grows green and its planting season again, I am just giddy.
When we moved to the country five years ago, I was determined to have a big ol' country garden. And we did for a couple years - with moderate success. What can I say, I'm not at all a gardening expert. I was totally green. Pun intended.
Big harvest or not, it has ALWAYS been worth it to at least try to grow a veggie garden because of the value for the children AND for me... it is such a rich and wonderful thing to reflect upon the glory of God's creation. How does one tiny little seed sprout and give a bountiful harvest of delicious, nourishing food for our bodies? It truly is mind boggling.
How the Lord planned and designed each and every seed and plant and created this amazing system of soil, sun, water - I'm awed at it all. I am filled with wonder at His glorious works - at the gift of food and growing food.
So, yes, gardening has been a rich part of our little country life.
But... then we got this crazy whim to hatch chicks one spring and ended up with pet chickens who LOOOOVE to eat every living green thing a garden can sprout, so gardening became more of a war than a pleasure.
"Oh... look at that lovely cucumber plant sprouting up right there!" says Gloria Hen... and CHOMP, that baby plant is GONE. Yea... so we dropped the garden... out of a sheer need to preserve my sanity.
|Gloria claiming the Tomato patch. Sadly, she was killed by a wild animal last Spring.... What I wouldn't give to have her munching our greens again! Such a hilarious and sweet friend, never in a million years did I think I'd miss a chicken, but I do.|
Last year - we didn't plant anything at all either. We had just been accepted as Foster Parents in the Spring and were confident we would have a baby or toddler with us within a few months and I didn't want the extra work to worry about. Well, to our surprise, Spring, then Summer, came and went and we still did not have a new little person in our home. Then Autumn AND Winter passed and still we did not have a foster child. Now, as Spring is here a year later - we still pray and know that God has everything in His mighty hands and it will all go according to His plan, not ours.
Man, I'm 32 and I still haven't truly grasped the truth that God's ways are SO much better than my plans and I really need to stop thinking that I know how things are going to go down - because I never do...
So, this year, we decided to try something new - container gardening. There are a few reasons for this. First, it is easier than digging up mounds of garden space and weeding and tending, etc. Secondly, (and probably more importantly) it keeps the chicken girls away. We literally use a BABY GATE to keep them off our back deck and all the potted veggies will be one the deck. Ridiculous, I know, making such accommodations for a pack of 4 free-ranging, bossy hens... but this is my life. *wink*
As usual, I have no idea what I'm doing with regards to container gardening and I'm learning through heaps of library books and a mix of random YouTube videos and Pinterest. The kids are helping (sort of) and sharing the excitement... my eldest is looking on with his usual good-natured scepticism. And rightfully so - it is totally possible that this project will end with just very large buckets of soil all over our deck for 3 months. Let's hope not. But...
You know, can I just say - sometimes, simply modelling the act of trying something new- being willing to learn - is a powerful thing for kids to observe. They won't always help. They won't always join in, they might not even seem interested - but they are watching. They see what is worthwhile and meaningful for you and they do take it all in. So often, I've seen my passions and interests 'plant seeds' in the hearts of my children and all of a sudden, they are just as excited as I am or have developed an appreciation for something new.
The kids also helped choose and plant tons of new perennials around the front and back of our property. We've been meaning to do this for a few years. So, that's been the past few weeks. Buying plants (yikes...), digging up, splitting, moving, transplanting, replanting, watering, and watching plants, flowers, vines, seeds, veggies... you name it. The inside of the house is a total disaster, but the outside is nicer!
There's something so wonderful about getting your hands right in the soil and working the earth.
It is therapeutic - and in many ways, spiritual. Think of how many scriptures talk about soil, seeds, plants, pruning, growing... there are so many metaphors to these things in the spiritual realm. Just like taking a walk through a wooded path brings us closer to His breath of creation, so can getting our hands in the soil and working hard to grow something beautiful out of His breath-taking design.
I love to see the kids get excited about seeing plants sprout, grow, and change as well. There is nothing cuter than a sweet 7-almost-8-year-old following you around with his own little watering can, watering every plant in sight. *melts*
Here's something we read this week and I wanted to share it with you guys. Because it struck me and really made me think about the truth of God's creation. Check out the first paragraph under Seed Design:
|(from Understanding God's World text from A Beka)|
How much do I love this?
The PRIMARY PURPOSE of a plant is to
GLORIFY IT'S CREATOR.
Why have I never reflected deeper on this truth?
When a pea vine sprouts flowers, it is glorifying God. When our Tomato plant pushes higher and starts forming tiny little green spheres, it is glorifying God! We plant these plants and give them the opportunity to glorify their creator by doing what they were designed to do. And IN THAT process they also bring joy to us, food to us, and food to the insects and animals.
God is Amazing.
Amazing isn't even enough of a word. There isn't a word...
|"I know a bank where the Wild Thyme blows..."|
The Well-Watered Garden...
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11
So... what is this Well-Watered Garden thing all about?
Have you ever seen a plant or garden completely dry up?
A few years ago, when we had a much larger garden in the backyard, I randomly placed a small bean plant in a pot along the fence. I had one seedling left over from my planting, so I thought, 'why not just put it in a pot with some soil and let it grow there?'
It was a good thought - but then, I forgot about it and forgot to water it. For way too long. I continued to water my larger garden, which was growing beautifully and full of rich, dark soil and lush green plants. The little bean plant in the pot had completely withered to a pathetic, limp, hunched over stem of nothing. The soil was parched, cracked, and dusty. That poor little plant would never revive - it would never produce anything. It was numbered with the many, many plants I've killed in my destructive horticultural life...
Plants that get no water are a sad sight of, well, death.
But - then, have you seen a garden that is well watered?
Have you turned on the hose and drenched a veggie patch with good, cool water in the stillness of a Summer evening? Have you seen the way a piece of land can be completely transformed with seed, sun, and lots and lots of watering? Growth. Health. Green leaves. And... fruit. Or veggies. Or beautiful flowers.
This is a biblical metaphor to our very souls. Without Jesus - without the Lord God in our lives and His Spirit breathing into us - we are like that dried up bean plant... withered, bent over, scorched by the weight of the sun and the heat of this world. Dead. But with Christ, we are like that healthy, lush garden, the Living Water quenching our every thirst and causing us to grow strong with firm roots and spiritual fruits for His glory.
It is an incredible thought to reflect upon during this beautiful season of sowing, watering, and watching. Growth comes when the Water is poured out... oh, how desperately this 'plant' needs that Living Water... without Him, I would wilt and wither. But WITH Him and THROUGH Him, I am alive, I am full of joy, I am stretching upwards and outwards - by His grace.
A Couple Books that have really been surprising us lately:
Have a lovely weekend, friends.