Growing Anticipation

For a month with only 28 days, February sure seems to be the longest month of the year. We’re all hunkered down, hibernating until warmer weather arrives.

Growing Pains

This is a month of anticipation for gardeners. In our house that means starting seeds!  Discussions have begun about what to plant and where to plant it. Much like life itself, that entails addressing successes and failures from the past.

I am not the gardener, so I can only brag about my husband, Neil’s successes. They included his delicious crops of lettuce, cucumbers and Delicata squash. The biggest failure, however, almost proved catastrophic. Because we had such a wet summer, the rain saturated the ground, then splashed pathogens up onto the leaves above. This caused a lot of disease and premature rot, particularly on the tomato plants.

Planting Plans
Max loves his oat grass!

Undeterred, Neil has spent months planning this year’s garden and has a plan in place to avoid similar issues. He is also taking full advantage of our “grand-bunnies”, Max and Charlie.  Throughout the winter he has been collecting their bunny beans. There is also a worm farm in our basement. Bet you didn’t know that worm castings are amazing fertilizer. From the outside, our home looks as normal as the others in the neighorhood, but there is a lot growing on inside!

While winter has kept my hubby from his vegetable garden, it hasn’t prevented him from trying out some indoor growing. We have enjoyed a variety of sprouts in our salads — radish, mustard, alfalfa, cress and mung bean. All were delicious. And now, he is harvesting . . . (wait for it) . . . mushrooms! Neil did a lot of research and has tried out two varieties: Shitake and Grey Dove Oyster. He is like a mad scientist with his “fruiting chamber.” But that is a post for another time.

Sowing Seeds of Love

Today as I was thinking about spring and the upcoming growing season, I marveled at the amazing abundance that comes from one tiny seed. What an awesome creation that sustains both man and beast!

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:11)

God was and is the greatest gardener of all time.

Have patience. The warmer weather will come, and with it the beautiful flowering buds and songbirds returning to nest. What a glorious gift that we can anticipate during the rest of the wintry days!

Suddenly November

I am so happy that election week has passed. Amen?

Fall, which is usually my favorite time of year, has been an unsettling season thus far. Our family has been broken-hearted following the passing of my father-in-law last month. The mid-term election was a distraction amidst our grief. The non-stop drama didn’t end on November 6th, and continues on today.

Somewhere in all that chaos, November arrived. This realization hit me when the Black Friday ads spilled out of the newspaper this week. Ugh!

First things first. We finally tossed the Jack-o’-lantern that was sitting on our front steps. His toothy grin stuck around as long as the leftover Halloween candy. Both needed to go.

Next, my mom and brother came to visit and we dug out our fall decorations. This is something we usually do together in early September, but the delay didn’t seem to bother anyone. It was a crucial step in preparing our home for the coming holiday season and the long, cozy winter months ahead.

Yesterday we spent much of the day relocating our daughter’s two house rabbits, Max and Charlie, from the guest room to the basement. That sounds simple enough, but it was quite an undertaking! Each has his own hutch, toys, litterbox and dishes. Then there is the food — assorted types of hay, timothy pellets and treats. The move was stressful for the bunnies, even though it was only down two flights of stairs. We love them dearly, but look forward to the day that all three of them find a place of their own. In the meantime, our son deserves a proper (and rabbit-free) guest room, as opposed to the sofa in the basement, when he visits us later this month.

Photo from wilddelight.com

The weather is feeling more autumnal too. We had our first real freeze last night and the remainder of our flower garden died. The zinnias were blooming through last week, but now everything is brown and wilted. The birdbath had ice on it this morning, so it was time to add the heater. Our daughter filled all the feeders today and told me the Dark-eyed Juncos had arrived! This is a sure sign that winter is on its way.

I know many people dread the colder months, but I enjoy living where there is a clear distinction between seasons. What Northern Virginia lacks in fall color (from my perspective as a former New Englander), it more than compensates with its beautiful springtime blossoms. Our summers are hot and steamy, and our winters are damp and windy. Snow is hit or miss (mainly miss) but every now and then we get walloped.

But now I must pause before looking too far ahead. November is where we are now. I am determined to focus on each day as it comes and stop fixating on what I cannot predict or change.

I know that the Lord wants me to live in the present — not on the past or the future — but the now. And that is where I plan to be.