Faith · Gardening · Joy · Photos · Poetry

Savoring Oregon Summers

Succulent strawberries, so shiny they look fake,

strawberry

Drip juicy goodness to stain your favorite t-shirt.

They are followed promptly by God’s gift for July birthdays:

Ravishing vanilla cake with raspberry filling;

As rich, rare, and radiant as my ruby birthstone!

Hot on their heels come brilliant bursts of blueberries.

I oblige my happy belly, fresh or in cobbler form.

And now this luscious blackberry beckons her debut.

 

What an oral orchestra, as sensational as fireworks;

What tokens of lavish love to us,

So gratefully accepted.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/savor/

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Christian · Gardening · Humor · language · Relationships

The Hypocrite’s Goose-egg

If there’s anything the Lord made clear, it’s that he strongly dislikes hypocrites.

Last night I was one and I sure got what I had coming.

I am a gardening nut. I could garden all day and all night if I could. But life interferes. A few days ago, I helped a friend, who has never gardened in her life, set up and plant a garden. I felt like quite a gardenista, giving her all kinds of tips and sage advice. I wanted to set her up for success and a lifetime of great gardening. To do so she must survive many mishaps, let-downs, and challenges.

We were loading mulch into our wheelbarrows and carrying it to the garden. I noticed that whenever I returned to the mulch pile, the pitch fork was lying (not laying, pitch forks don’t lay anything. I guess they lay dirt…) on the ground with prongs pointed upwards. I just now learned that “upward” is interchangeable with ‘upwards’. Pretty cool. I’ve never been sure which one to use. But I digress.

She works in a trade so I’m sure tools are pretty important to her. Responsible garden dojo that I am, I promptly educated my trusting apprentice on the proper use and placement of the pitch-fork. “Stick it upright on the pile or in the ground so you can see it. That also saves you from having to wonder how long ago it was you got that tetanus shot as you do the ‘I just stabbed by foot with a manure laden tool’ dance.” She was impressed.

This woman will make a brilliant gardener, just like me.

Yesterday I worked in the yard after dinner. It was getting dark so I decided to haul one more load of mulch to plant my banana plants before turning in for the night. It was pretty dark but I could still make out forms. The last few feet to the hole were uphill so I had to really muscle that loaded wheelbarrow. It was all I could to balance it on the hill as every time I tried to set it down it threatened to tip over. I threw the pitchfork off to the side to get it out of the way. I strained and twisted my poor body, one knee raised to support the wheelbarrow, and one hand holding one handle. Gutteral grunting was helping a lot and when I stopped grunting the behemoth load pitched dangerously till I resumed the grunting.

I was in a lurch, I couldn’t park the creaking wheelbarrow but I couldn’t very well stand here like this all night. The darned thing decided to help me out as it swayed this way and then that. Finally it leaned over so far it staggered and toppled like a drunk. I quickly let go so it wouldn’t fling me across the garden in the dark.

I stood there tried to look dignified and glare at the foolish pile that was nowhere near where I needed it to be. At this point I could hardly see the hole but I could make out the broad starts. I was very miffed about this predicament. I stepped to the side of the mulch to the retrieve my pitchfork when out of the clear blue a golf ball at top speed clocked me so hard right in the forehead that I saw stars.

I don’t know if the bonk jolted me worse than the shock. I stood swaying like my drunk wheelbarrow. The strange thing is that the golf ball didn’t fall. My hand quickly went to my forehead for moral support and found, not a golf ball, but a long hard handle to my pitch fork still standing in place!

Of course I’d dropped it, prongs facing up, stepped on the prongs, and clocked myself in the head. I was still standing on it. I hadn’t thought of this consequence!

I nursed my goose-egg and my pride. I’ll get to the pile tonight.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/survive/

Gardening · Humor · Relationships

Impressions II

As I pulled up the bumpy side-road around 7.18 pm, I could see him looking up and down the road nervously. He waved enthusiastically and hurried up to me after I pulled up, shovel in his gloved right hand.

“Well hi!” he greeted happily. He hurriedly took off his glove to shake my hand after he opened the door to let me out. “I’ve been working hard… real hard. I’m done with banana plants forever. I’ve had it. It’s good to see you.” He smiled.

We meandered to his amazing back yard, stopping and bending to smell this, reaching up to touch that – an inebriating feast for my senses.

“You were the first one I offered them to and I wanted to make sure you were the first one to get them.” He had tens upon tens of them. I nodded and smiled. I only wanted 4 but it would have to be this way. Order, order, order.

“I offered them to lots of people. But you were the first.” He bent over to pick a weed. His clematis were stunning. Purples of all shades bursting and spilling over.

The banana starts were surrounded by dead, ugly, bulbous growths. He started to  load them into the pots I’d brought. Immediately, I realized they wouldn’t fit unless the dead parts were cut off. I was making strange altering shapes with my lips, the way I am told I do when I’m musing. Should I say something or just watch? He tried to wrestle the whole mass into the pot.

I ventured cautiously, scratching my head then stroking my face unnecessarily. “What do you say we cut the dead part off? Looks like the start has lots of its own roots.”

He stopped what he was doing, leaned in, and locked empathetic eyes with me. “What you don’t know is that this dead bulb feeds the start. It’s the original mother and after it died, it now feeds the starts. If we cut it off, the start will die. Now, technically it’s your plant, so you can do whatever you want with it, but that mother needs to feed the start,” he explained patiently, really needing me to understand this.

That was all very good but all I wanted was to get it into the pot. I stroked my face again and walked away to admire other plants and give the man his dignity.

A brutal breeze was whipping around. After an eternity of finagling, the kind that comes with much sweating, contorting, grunting, and mumbling, he said, “You know, we will probably have to cut into this mother to get it into the pot.”

“That’s a great idea,” I assented casually from across the yard.  I really need to stop touching my face so much.

I eventually strolled back to him. He had loaded four pots and one was more full than the others. He’d placed two starts and their dead mothers, God rest their souls, in it. An empty pot sat beside it. He was struggling to load it onto the wheelbarrow.

“Josh, let’s take one of these out and put it in the empty pot.” I suggested, trying to help him get the pot off the ground.

“It needs to stay with its mother, ” he explained.

“I know that now, but it looks like we have two sets in this pot. I was thinking we could put this top one in this empty pot.”

“It’s your plant now, so you really can do with it as you please. At your house. I told you I am so done with the darned banana plants.” His voice was strained as he heaved the incredibly heavy pot onto the wheelbarrow. “Done with them, that what I am!”

I could see why. They were killing him. Literally.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/impression/

Gardening · Humor · Relationships

Impressions I

I dread his calls.

My friend Josh is an older gentleman who lives alone in a meticulous house. He is a great guy but overly congenial. He is as set as cement in his ways and worships orderliness. He has a magnificent garden and enjoys sharing plants. I ran into him the other day and he mentioned he had some banana plant starts to share.  “Would you like some?”

“Sure.” I responded.

He called early the next morning. His phone calls aren’t easy to navigate and I didn’t have it in me to answer. It would be hard enough to slog through the voicemail. He didn’t let me down: “Hi, this is Josh. I have banana plants ready for you. Let me know what time you can come by today. They’ll need to get in the ground pretty soon here. Call me back and let me know what time you can come. I’ll be home all day. The morning’s fine. The afternoon would work too. Call me back.”

The day got away from me. He called again the next morning and I answered. “Good morning,” I said.

“I called you yesterday but you didn’t answer,” he said, almost hurt.

“Sorr…” I started to say but should have saved my breath.

“So, you’re the first one I offered the plants to and I want you to be the first to get them. They need to get in the ground pretty soon you know.” He could tell I was not appreciating the urgency of the matter.

“Well, good morning, Josh.” I smiled.

“Yeah! So… what time can you come today?” He was undeterred.

“Today doesn’t work for me but I can certainly come tomorrow.” He paused. I could tell he would have to pull a chair for this conversation.

“Tomorrow… mmhh. I don’t know. Let me look at my calendar.” This part of the conversation is the same every time.

What I don’t understand is that he already has all of today blocked off for me, never mind it’s a 30 minute job. “How do people get through life?” he is asking himself, incredulous.

“I guess I can do tomorrow. What time?” He is clearly put out.

We set a time and he hung up before I finished signing off. I smiled.

Not an hour later I learned I’d have to cover my coworker who’d been in an accident. I picked up the phone to vex Josh.

“I could have swore you said you couldn’t come today,” he was scratching his head in confusion. “Mmhh… I don’t know, let me look at my calendar.” I was really throwing him for a loop. “I guess today is good. What time?”

“I drop my son off at Scouts at 7 and can come thereafter.”

“But it’s dark at 7,” he was completely befuddled.

“No Josh, it’s not dark till 9.30.” I said smiling.

“Really?? Alright we’ll see. Guess I’ll see you at 7. I’ll put it on the calendar.”

“Not right at 7, a little after.”

This was brutality. “But you said 7.”

“Josh, let’s say 7.15.”

“I could have swore you said 7. I’ll change the calendar.” He muttered breathed deeply.

I made a mental note to look at this calendar when I got there. He will never understand me or how I muddle my way through life.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/impression/