Saturday, July 25, 2015

To Feel Like A Giddy School Girl.

I love to find pure, simple joy in the little things in life. The garden is one of those things in my life.

After settling the animals in for the day, I grabbed my big wooden bowl and headed out to the garden. Little by little fresh produce was add to the bowl. Once it got to the point of over flowing, I headed inside. Cucumbers, zucchini, paste tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, four kinds of sweet peppers, red beets. The array of colors was beautiful! Everything was emptied out upon the table.
  I returned back out to the garden. This time I hit up the hot peppers and carnival squash. The colors were nice and rich. The ground was rich and healthy. The plants are obviously reaping the benefits. Once the fruit was collected from the second round of picking, I head back inside the second time.
I stand in awe that we are able to grow fresh foods on our own land. I stand in awe that even in our corruption and imperfections, God still gives us such great abilities. It makes me feel so giddy and excited to grab my bowl and head out to the garden and see what beautiful treasures will await harvesting!
A days bounty

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Because Sometimes There Is No Understanding.

That phone call. The one where you are asked to come to the hospital. The one that drops your heart into your stomach. The one that leaves you numb, shaking, and using your every ounce of your being to control your emotions. A call I never want, yet came close to receiving.
It was a Saturday afternoon. I was going to go hiking with some friends, but storm clouds loomed heavily over head. Instead of a day in the mountains, we left to enjoy a day in the city. We jumped a train in and spent the morning meandering through a museum. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch and split up to enjoy some shopping. It started a light, misty drizzle at this point. We were having fun, laughing, goofing around and just enjoying a leisure day with no time restraint.
It was quarter till two and my friend, the Hammer, and I decided to swing into Barnes and Nobles to use the restroom and chill for a few. As I walked back out and over to where he was waiting, my phone alerted me to an incoming text. I reached for my phone as I came up next to him and froze. A picture of my parents’ truck was starring back at me. The front end smashed and twisted, the bed cover thrown to the road, debris all around.  
 “Oh my gosh, that’s my parents truck,” was all that could escape my lips. Hammer asked what was wrong and I showed him the picture. Taking a moment to regroup, hands shaking, I called my father. His voice was shaking. He said they were ok, but at the hospital. They were in pain. Hammer asked if we should head back home and my dad insisted on enjoying the rest of the day, friends were on their way to stay with them at the hospital. He said they were driving down the highway when someone ran a stop sign and hit them head on. The truck was thrown one direction and the car the other. The other guy was unconscious.
I was freaking out on the inside, shaking on the outside. Hammer wouldn’t leave the safety of the little corner we were in until he knew I was calm enough. I was grateful to be with someone whose head was working correctly! I grabbed a Robert Frost book and he told me to read him a poem. I picked my favorite poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay.
After a spell spent regrouping, the two of us headed back out to meet up with the other two guys. A few more hours spent in the city was drawn to an end as the rain started to fall, so we made our way back underground to the train. Sitting in silence, the 40 minute ride stretched on for what felt like hours. I was finished. I was ready to be home. I need to lay eyes on my parents and see that they really were ok.
Once back to the car, we had another 35+ minute drive back to Hammer’s house where my car was waiting for me. I jumped into my car and instantly called my parents, again, to see how things were going. My dad had been released from the hospital but they were still waiting on my mom… it was now 7 at night. It would be a couple of hours yet. A couple hours!!
Hammer and another friend, Hunter, came over to watch a movie and keep me company as I was left waiting. Finally, at 10:30, they came home. I could see them! Black and blue and sore, but standing in front of me. Home. Their mobility was low as the pain through out their bodies kept them bound in an invisible prison. I had to help my mom get dressed and undressed as she couldn’t move her left arm upward. But, my parents were home.
The next morning my father called the tow company to see if we could come clean out the truck. And that is when the sledge hammer dropped. No. The truck was shrink wrapped, no one was getting near it as this was looking like it would turn into a fatality accident. Words my dad struggled to take in. All the trooper could tell us was the other man was not wearing a seatbelt, in a medically induced coma, and he had no alcohol or drugs in is system.
My dad was plagued with thoughts of was there any possible way for me to swerve. No. What if I would have seen him come around the bend sooner and have been able to slam on my breaks sooner… but that wasn’t a possibility either. Why didn’t he slow down? Why didn’t he swerve? Did something medical happen? A hint to an explanation would have given him a level of peace, but there was none.
One week turned in to almost two when we were finally informed there was no way the accident could be tied to us and the truck was being released.  It would be towed to the Ford dealer down the road from us. That night we went to go see it. Pulling onto the lot there were a lot of cars involved with fender benders. Some with bumpers sitting next to the naked car nose. There, straight back in the last row, sat the Big Red Beast. Twisted and crumpled. By far, the worse looking car on the grounds.
Standing in front of it was worse than the picture I received. Metal had pierced through the hood. The engine was pushed back and into the cab a good two feet, pinned up by the front seats. The tow anchors… one was bent far to the side and the other was torn off all together. The driver side rim was bent and pushed up under the driver door. Two months of ownership and only 30,000 miles… the Big Red Beast was finished.
It was just over two weeks in that we learned more about the other driver, although practically nothing at the same time. He was still in the coma, fighting for his life. Two days away from hitting the four week mark, we now know they are trying to wake him from the coma. He will have a long road of recovery a head of him.
Each day my parents’ bodies get healthier. But I look forward to the day the Big Red Truck is removed from the collision lot. Driving home from work, I can see it’s twisted body sitting there, standing out with its bold color.  Insurance should wrap up next week and we will finally be able to replace the truck.
The funny thing is when shopping for the truck a sales man tried to sell them a Dodge. (no offense intended for Dodge drivers) My dad looked at the man and said I will only drive a Ford pickup. The man laughed at him… not good moves for a salesman. My dad mentioned how he has seen Dodges measure up after being in accidents and that was why he stood firm with his opinions.
My parents were on their way to a friends for dinner. Typically they would have turned off the highway and skipped over the mountain, instead of going around, to get there. But this afternoon they decided to break that routine. I believe everything happens for a reason. So why did this happen? My mom recalls looking around after she slid out of the truck and noticing cars stopped around them. As people ran to each vehicle involved, no trucks were there. A little white car sat directly behind where my parent’s truck was in line. The driver of that little car was a young girl. She ran directly to my parents to see if they were ok and promptly said, “If he would have hit my car I’d be dead.” They way the truck was thrown, what would have happened if he flew through the north and south lanes of the high way?
While we may never know if something happened to the man who hit my parents, one can’t help but wonder if God used the Big Red Beast to save the lives of those in the smaller cars. I don’t question their being in the truck saved their lives.
Times arise where we wish we had more information. When we wish we could have changed the out come… even when we were not the cause of the issue.  Sometimes the best way to handle the hurt of the unknown is to believe there was a purpose behind it and eventually we will understand.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Blessing in the Little Things of Life.

Living life wrapped in the craziness of… to put it simply… life can easily leave one overwhelmed. So often we cannot stop and smell the roses, because we are already planning out tomorrow. That is one thing I adore about my garden and animals. I have to go out and tend to the animals a few times a day. I have to go and collect the produce every few days. I have to stop being busy and step out into the sunshine and fresh air.
After five years of trying to get a good soil,  grow a plant that didn’t look like Charlie Browns Christmas tree, and actually collect food for more than half a salad… last year I finally collected enough to eat regularly, share and store a few squash for winter.  It was exciting!
I spent the next number of months watching the sun. How did it go across the yard? Which areas got morning sun versus afternoon sun? What spot got sun almost the whole day? What area got no sun at all?
As the leaves began to fall and the grip of frozen death crawled in, I started planning this years garden. What seeds did I have stored up from the previous year? Would I need to get any other seeds or plants? What planting rotation would I have? Then came the big question…. How much space will my parents give me?
The main garden.
I talked to them, shared my plan. And they liked it. **In my best Mufasa voice** “Whatever the light touches, Abigail, shall be your garden.” Oh yeah, score!
With my parents blessing I started planning. I can elongate the garden on this side, stretch it like a pie slice on that side, there is an 8x15 patch over there, the edge of the deck, around the one side of the pool. AH, but when it rains the water drains over there like a river, better make that an 8x10 patch. I can put these seeds here, those seeds there. The herbs can go up there. It was a beautiful thing. I mapped the space out twice until I was satisfied. 
I waited patiently for the frost to end and spring to arrive. When I say patiently, I mean patiently! The first day of spring was meet with almost 6 inches of snow. May first came and went with frost still arriving in the morning. Then finally… at last!... it appeared to be safe to start as the frost melted away over night into soaring temps and a cooking sun.
Around the deck.
Soil was delivered and the garden was laid out. The plants that were started were tucked into the soil. Four hours of crawling through the garden gave way to hundreds of seeds sinking into the warmth of their home. Hard work left me refreshed and hopeful. This garden would be a beautiful thing.
Little by little the seeds gave way to life poking up from deep within. Leaves started to emerge. Flowers glistened across the stretch of land. Arms reached out to claim their space. The garden has started to become fruitful.
All together I have about 1/10 of an acre covered in plants. I am still working on using the whole space to it’s full potential, but I’m still a work in progress as this is only the sixth year of trying for a green thumb. This little space consists of 2 kinds ofradishes, red beets, carrots, cucumbers, candy onions, 7 kinds of peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, eggplant, ground cherries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberries, 6 kinds of lettuce, 5 kinds of tomatoes, 4 kinds of beans, popping corn, sweet corn, red skin potatoes, sweet potatoes, 6 squash, zucchini, and a mix of edible flowers and herbs.
The squash jungle has since met in the middle!

I look at my squash jungle and it makes me smile. Snipping lettuce, pulling tomatoes and sending the abundance home with others makes me feel refreshed. Digging my gloveless hands into the dirt and pulling up the radishes renews me.
It’s the little things in life that we should stop and enjoy the blessing of. It’s laughing at the thought of the oilman needing to delivering oil and protecting the jungle from his hose… which I thought I had thought through prior to planting, but the great green jungle took over. It’s a choice to plant that much. It’s a choice to keep up with it. It’s a choice to enjoy it. It’s a choice to find the blessing in this little thing called a garden.