Big peppers

The garden at the current time.

The garden at the current time.

Today’s post really shouldn’t be about the garden. We, Paulina and I,  have spent the majority of the day in the upstairs trying to move things around enough so the phone/cable people can come and do the fiber optics upgrade on Thursday. I am so excited about it. NOT!! After they do this house we will be moving to the house at our campsite and then to my Aunt’s house. I figure it will be a full day of sitting around and waiting for all of this to get finished. It shouldn’t be so bad at my house after I walk them around and show them all of the hook ups. I hope my aunt has her phone available on Thursday just in case I need to call to ask her anything while we are at her place. I know that we will go in to the house and open the basement from the cellar door. I plan to drag Paulina along for that as I am not sure that I can lift those new doors.

I have also been working on laundry. It seems in the summer we really don’t have that much laundry, or maybe it is because the pants are shorts and the shirts are lighter that the loads are less. This week I have been digging some items out of boxes and bags from the basement and in my room, and I washed up some of those too. I have a few things to take to the second-hand store tomorrow when I go to Eureka. If they don’t take the jeans that I have drying on the line, they are going to Bismarck on Sunday when we move Paulina. Yikes is it really that time already.

Picked today. I should have put something there to give you a scale idea of their size.

Picked today. I should have put something there to give you a scale idea of their size.

So, about those peppers. When I finished taking a load off the line, I took a side trip into the garden. I didn’t have a pail, so I only picked the peppers that really looked like they needed to be taken off the plants so the plants did not collapse. I grabbed two tomatoes because they fell off the vine when I went to check how ripe they were. We need to take a large pail to the garden this evening and pick lots of items. Tomorrow I am in Eureka, and Thursday is the fiber optics day, so it looks like Friday might just be the garden day. Hmmm, I guess the message for Sunday will be a Friday night thing. I cannot afford to be up late on Saturday if we are moving Paulina on Sunday.

Cherry popsicles help with the heat.

Cherry popsicle help with the heat.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow and the rest of the week. I am hoping that if it does, it will cool things down rather than add to the sweltering heat. I am afraid it will just make the humidity skyrocket and really make it miserable. The electrician has finished the office, so tomorrow will be a “moving” day for us as we will be able to put books on the shelves and such. I am not sure what I want where, but knowing me it won’t stay in the same place for long. I have a couple of ideas about how to downsize the amount of furniture in there, but who knows.

Paulina is heading to Wishek tomorrow for a hair do change. I should call the sister there and see if I could unload some produce there. I know that her husband would probably grill zucchini with Cajun spices on it. Of course, she likes to use it in cakes and such, too, so perhaps I best send enough for both uses. Hopefully we hear from her before Paulina leaves tomorrow, we should have cucumbers and tomatoes and onions and peppers too.

Crochet works in progress

A few years ago, and I literally mean years, I found information about turning t-shirts into rugs. Many of you know exactly what I am talking about, but most of you have already figured out just how much work is involved. I got all excited about it, and actually started on it, but haven’t produced much. If only I could find a way to make this faster, less time intensive, and find more really stained up in bad shape shirts. I would crochet a rug for every member of the family. I even went to thrift stores to purchase rag bags. What did I find? Mostly t-shirts with (ok, so watch that version of typing shirts without the “r” please.) logos on them were in the bag. The shirts did NOT have holes in. I could cut up a shirt with holes in. The shirts were not stained or bleached. I could happily destroy something like that. Nope, I got perfectly good shirts with team logos on them.

The other part of the bag was cotton pj’s mostly for children. Interestingly, one was for a little boy, the perfect size of Jaxon last winter. His mother and I sewed him new pj’s using that set as a pattern. I would love to do more of them if I had patterns for his current size. I believe the rest of that rag-bag is in my basement hoping beyond hope that it will be salvaged into some remade item rather than thrown into the dump at the next garbage pick up day. I am guessing that at the very least, they may end up as padding inside some quilt or pillow or something of the sort.

I have pictures to share of the amount of what I have completed so far. This rug will go to Paulina for one reason only. It has been made from the sleeves that she cut out of her t-shirts in order to make them more comfortable to compete in athletic practices. It seems that the cut off was always more comfortable than the full shirt. I cut several of the sleeves into strips today. I had cut some of the others a few months ago and rolled them into balls of t-shirt yarn. I even did some crocheting with a few of them when we still lived in Linton. See, living outside of this big house allowed me to craft more. There is just too much yard here to craft, and not enough time to work on the other things. On the other hand, it might be the amount of discipline. I need to get some order to my day, and then perhaps, I will get some things accomplished. At any rate. Here is what I have so far. Hopefully, I will get this finished by Christmas. But don’t tell Paulina, she hates knowing what she is getting.

Piles of sleeves to be cut, and cut up strips to be sewed together into t-shirt yarns.

Piles of sleeves to be cut, and cut up strips to be sewed together into t-shirt yarns.

Balls of t-shirt yarn.

Balls of t-shirt yarn.

Rug in progress, minimal progress.

Rug in progress, minimal progress.

What crafts have you been up to lately, or has your garden kept you away from the other creative fun stuff??

How Far Do We Reach in Compassion?

The following texts were used in the sermon this morning. Genesis 45: 1-15, Romans 10: 5-15 and Matthew 15: 10-28. The title was as listed above. It wasn’t spoken exactly like this, but unless I listened to the tape, I wouldn’t know what it is.

Before we get too involved with the scripture and the meaning, I would like to thank you and Pastor Bergman for allowing us to be gone the past two weeks. It seems like so long since I have been standing here, but last weekend was really good for me to go and hear someone else interpret some meanings and give me some words to think about, though I am not sure I want to do that so very often as I feel a bit out of rhythm and behind on what has been happening in the stories we have been sharing, especially in terms of Jacob and what he has been up to.

One of the things that was mentioned last Saturday night as we gathered, and the program was led by Rev. Enno Limvere of the Ipswich church (He grew up in the Jamestown church.) was that we are a denomination of covenant. We are united as a church and a group of churches by covenant, not by any supreme order. We are ruled by local congregations made up of members and not by any regional or national leaders. It was the congregational way, and that was the polity chosen in the denominational merger in 1957. Because of it, we choose our own leadership and do not listen to the dictates of a Bishop or Larger Council or any one ruler. Yes, we sometimes have leadership or strong directions from General Synod, but those ideas or resolutions are decided by voting delegates that are made up of the people of the membership. It is people just like us. We are covenanted members who walk together in a united relationship that does not have a dictated belief.

I bring this up this morning as a reminder to ourselves of that fact as we look at the scripture in Matthew and then in Genesis, but before we do, I just have to share about being on my blogging site and coming across an article by someone who was berating our denomination for not being more like the “main line” churches. This person couldn’t understand why we bother to exist or why we weren’t more like the other protestant Christians. He didn’t see the point of a church like ours. I wanted to reply, but held my tongue or fingers off the keyboard as it were. I wanted to ask if he had really ever read the words of Jesus to find out what he really said to the leaders of his day. I wanted to ask him if he reads carefully the words written about Jesus, and thinks about what they mean to his life today. I want to do that today, both with the story in Matthew and the one in Genesis. This is perhaps too much to cover in one message, but I promise not to drag this out. So here goes.

Our scripture in Matthew today is really in two parts. The first past is another story of Jesus pointing out the rules and rituals of the Jewish leaders that are basically out of control. Now we all know the importance of washing our hands and in our day there is the hand sanitizer craze to keep germs away. For those of us with a weaker immune system or working in an area with lots of exposure to germs, it is really important to wash so as not to get or worse yet, pass an infection to someone else.

The truth about the Jewish rituals of washing probably began in an effort to keep infections at bay. Let’s remember there were no anti-biotics in those days and an infection could wipe out a population. But like many good things, this practice had gone over the edge. It had become a ritual for ritual sake and really lost its true meaning, and so Jesus makes a point that basically exposes the truth about the inner thoughts of the leaders. They were no longer doing the washing for the right purposes. They weren’t following their own beliefs for the right reasons.

Jesus pointed out that it wasn’t what they were taking into their bodies that was making them sick. It was what was coming out of their mouths, and what was in their minds that was making them unworthy of being a leader or even a believer. It is still true for us today. It isn’t what we eat; it isn’t necessarily what we read or watch, though I am sure we could get ourselves into some pretty bad things if we tried. It is when we allow evil thoughts and ideas to enter our minds, and it is when we allow ourselves to not only think, but say hurtful things to one another. This is one of those passages that I probably need to copy and stick on the refrigerator beside my little list of new house rules that I put up this June, and one day magically was turned over with a new rule: Do whatever you want, put on the back. Perhaps the real rule should be, Do as Jesus would like you to do. Wasn’t there a popular saying not so long ago of: What would Jesus Do?

Now in that same chapter, Jesus was stopped by a Canaanite woman asking for him to cast the demon out of her daughter. This passage is one that appears to be a problematic one. Apparently by the time this was written, it was unusual for anyone to be referred to as being from Canaan and if they were from that region, they certainly would not be referring to Jesus as the Son of David. Matthew probably includes this particular story here to let the readers of the early church understand that the ministry and teaching of Jesus was for everyone. We take that fact for granted, yet early on, many felt that his ministry was only for the Jews.

The woman in speaking to Jesus compared herself to the dogs licking up the crumbs under the table. Some experts like to explain this difficult passage as being a joke. They try to say it is Jesus humor. Perhaps it was just written as one of those really awful comparisons that makes us as the reader finally sit up and take notice. Sort of like that story by Jonathon Swift, “A Modest Proposal” when he suggests they feed the over population of babies born into poverty to the starving as a way to solve two problems at one time.

As a woman of Canaanite heritage likely felt like a lowly animal slinking around the floor begging for the scraps when she was around the leaders of the Jewish religion. And why was she coming to Jesus for help for her daughter? Why wasn’t it her husband? It doesn’t tell us if there is a husband, and if we haven’t talked about this before, a daughter would not really be worth bothering a doctor or a healer about. It would only be the sons who had any value, yet here she is asking for help of this Jewish man, for her daughter.

If nothing else, this story should tell us that Jesus reached out to all people. He didn’t care the age, or nationality or community importance. Jesus was there for all. Because the woman had faith, and because she asked, he healed her daughter. I hope this lets us know that we need to have faith, and also that we need to ask for our needs to be met. Prayer. There is nothing like real honest sincere prayer. But I don’t have to tell you that. You know that far better than I do.

Our final story that I want to touch today is the story from Genesis. I suppose we could have spent the entire time talking about Joseph. Now we missed a few things in the two weeks that I was gone, but really I am pretty confident that we know the story of Joseph. He was the darling child of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachael. He was the envy of his brothers, probably more than spoiled. Well they got even all right selling him into slavery. Then he ended up working for the Pharaoh because he was in jail after being falsely accused of “going after” his master’s wife. He has come a long way, but in the story we read today. Joseph is finally reunited with his brothers.

Now wait a minute here. I can work out the hand washing story and the woman who is unworthy that Jesus finally gives in and heals her daughter, but these brothers of Joseph gaining his forgiveness, to me this is a bit much. Think about the person who has pulled the most rotten thing on you that you can remember and double it. Think about how badly these brothers, blood relatives, wronged Joseph. They sold him into slavery. He was still a kid really when they threw him in a pit; they were thinking of killing him; in fact they told their father that he was dead. A secret they kept for all these years. Now here at this reunion, Joseph is the one weeping in joy, and telling them it is ok, because it is part of God’s plan.

I will tell you straight out that the one thing I can’t do is the hypocrite thing. I cannot in good conscience stand here today and be all smug saying, yes, yes what Joseph did is the only way to be. Yes it is the way to be, it is what God asks of us, but boy or boy, I can tell you straight up, it is not something that I am capable of doing all the time. I understand how happy Joseph was to be reunited with his younger brother Benjamin, but I don’t know how Joseph could look at those older brothers who sold him into slavery for some [pieces of silver/sounds like a recurring story.] How could he just let them get away with it? How could he take them in and care for them?

Joseph did what we are asked to do. Just as Joseph reached out to his brothers, the very brothers who wronged him, so we are asked to reach out to our brothers and sisters no matter what. For me this week, this is hard. I have to remember back to some words from Dr. Strandness. He said we don’t always have to like someone’s actions, but we do have to show Christian love. This story about Joseph is one of those Old Testament stories that point us to Jesus and the love that he brought to earth. This story reminds us that we need to love everyone. The story of the Canaanite woman with the demon possessed daughter lets us know that Jesus came to bring the gospel, the good news about him to everyone, not just to the righteous. The word is not just for those who wash their hands, those who follow the ways of God and the law. It is for everyone out there.

Perhaps part of the pondering of our mission as a church should be to think about whom in our community is the Canaanite woman with the demon possessed daughter, not literally, but you know what I mean. Who are the unwashed, and how do we act more like Joseph. Remember we are a people of covenant, we are a united people. Let’s look around for those missions that will help us fulfill those tasks. Amen!

Rain shower

This morning the air was heavy. It was muggy and humid and you could barely see more than a quarter of a mile. Around here that is a big deal. When I sat outside to read, it started to drip, that’s how heavy the air was.

Heavy air

Heavy air

By the time I finished my morning reading, and got another cup of coffee, James was home from the local car fix it shop. The little green neon wouldn’t work last night and we need two cars functional after Paulina leaves for college. It was just the brakes. It is a 1995 model, and has never had brake work done, so this makes sense. At least it wasn’t a gear or something like that.

As you can see the picture above was taken after it started raining. James and I sat on the chairs under the lower porch just watching it rain and taking in the lovely smell of the outdoor male cats. Uck!! Some days I wish that noise blind were real, but I will never get used to that smell. Time to start cleaning, but they just add on. I suppose it is time to bite the bullet and enclose the place so that they can’t get to spray on the chairs and such anymore. At any rate, here is a picture of what the gushing rain looked like for the 15 minutes that it came down pretty well. At least we don’t have to water the garden today.

There was a small patch of dry under the table for a bit.

There was a small patch of dry under the table for a bit.

You can sort of see the rain hitting the concrete here.

You can sort of see the rain hitting the concrete here.

The table is getting washed.

The table is getting washed.

The gutters were gushing. I tried to capture it here, but it doesn’t show up as wild as it was running. You can see the standing water, though, and that gives an idea of how it was coming down. It subsided by the time we went inside, but we know that today will be another day of working inside. If it isn’t the rain, it is the heat to keep you inside. I guess that is August.

Water in the gutter.

Water in the gutter.

Spilling over.

Spilling over into the area that needs to be made into a walkway, but the irises need to go first.

Shot from the porch of the frogs swimming in a gutter catcher.

Shot from the porch looking down at the frogs swimming in a gutter catcher.

As the rain barrel was over flowing, we pulled out some pails of water. These could be mosquito breeders, but we use them to water plants almost as quickly as they fill.

Catching the rain water.

Catching the rain water.

Drips off the upper deck.

Drips off the upper deck.

More in progress items

Going in the pattern of the three point essay, I will hit three things I currently have in progress. The first is trying to do some reading, next is the never-ending garden things, and finally the de-cluttering that I keep hoping to get accomplished. First things first: Reading.

The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts is a good summer read.

The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts is a good summer read.

I am nearly finished with the Tea Shop book, and will be able to start something else on the stack. I have been given some interesting books at my installation and by church members not to mention all the books in the office and at the church. I could be reading a long time, non-stop. Now if I would just find/make the time for it. Maybe that stack of books will give me the motivation to get those rooms cleaned so I have a better place to read besides just before I fall asleep at night.

Next stack of books, but not a good picture of them.

Next stack of books, but not a good picture of them. I think I will stick with those that have purple or lavender on the cover as my summer reading theme.

I took another chance on the Farmers Market thing. It was not as bad as it started out, but I guess being that I was able to unload some of the extras it was a successful trip. I will take some to church tomorrow, and then to Alvina, so we should have the extras gone before we need to pick again.

Items on the counter before Farmers Market. I sold all the peppers except the yellow ones.

Items on the counter before Farmers Market. I sold all the peppers except the yellow ones.

A bit of a scare this morning when I was packing up the van. Sophia came to the house carrying a mouse. I figured it was dead, but not because. She laid it on the driveway, and it started running. I closed the garage door and ran into the house. Later Paulina and I heard a cat upstairs in the northwest bedroom. We were nervous that it had gotten inside because we never saw it dead. Well after Paulina braved the room to investigate, she found Tigee caught in the bedding. Yikes!

After Farmers Market, I took a little time to take some flower pictures. The wind yesterday tried to eliminate some of what is just starting to look good. One lone yellow poppy is blooming. Hopefully we can get those going better next year. The zinnias are looking good in both their areas, but the cosmos took a hit when the wind threw a lawn chair at them. Lucky it didn’t break any pots or lights. The pot in the middle of the pond was found in the pond when Paulina came home. Good grief wind, enough of you.

Yellow poppy.

Yellow poppy.

Zinnias in the hollyhocks.

Zinnias in the hollyhocks.

Geranium and morning glory plants in the pond

Geranium and morning glory plants in the pond

Cosmos with some broken stalks.

Cosmos with some broken stalks.

Light yellow colored petunias. Love this color.

Light yellow colored petunias. Love this color.

Zinnias in the corn.

Zinnias in the corn.

Corn not quite ready. Adie picked some of hers yesterday, jealous!! But not really ready for the kernels stuck in the teeth thing.

Corn not quite ready. Adie picked some of hers yesterday, jealous!! But not really ready for the kernels stuck in the teeth thing.

I see there are weeds in the corn again, but at this point they won’t do any harm, and I have more to do than pull those things. This brings me to the last of the three paragraph essay. The basement. I won’t say much about it. We did get one small can of garbage out of there yesterday, and one box of jeans to be cut for quilts or repurposed or something. Anyway, I will leave you with one last horrible picture of the current clutter. I took the picture to hopefully have a before and after post in the very near future. Now just to rid it of the cat litter smell.

Basement clutter, grrrr! I should make this a thumbnail size so no one can see the mess.

Basement clutter, grrrr! I should make this a thumbnail size so no one can see the mess.

Items in progress

So this will be tagged under garden, cooking and knitting. So there has been lots going on around here. Yet tomorrow after watering the garden, I really, really need to get after the basement. I cannot afford to waste another day. Besides, I want it done so we can move the bed out of the room down there, and move a desk to that room then put a bookshelf into the computer/office area so that I can function in there. Oh so many plans, and I know how it will go after a night of letting the cats in and out and watching for mice. Hopefully James will not be tied up in semi-useless meeting tomorrow after football practice. Get this, it is the first day of practice and the other two coaches will both be gone. I am not sure how that works. I couldn’t keep a coaching job, and I wasn’t so much as late to practice let alone come and go as I please. This generation, but that is getting me off track.
Below is what has been gathered from the garden in the last three days. I have several more peppers on the plants, and on the cucumbers.

Produce currently on the counter to be used.

Produce currently on the counter to be used.

I have also been taking some time to look through my newest cookbook. I picked it up at the 125th in Jamestown. The inside is unique because there are pictures of the stained glass windows from the church on each of the divider pages. Oh dear, I forgot to show any of those. Well perhaps after I use a recipe I can show the divider page that goes along with it. My only complaint is that Jessica did not submit her dog treats.

Cookbook

Cookbook

Finally, here is the latest round of knitting. It is amazing what can be done while riding in a car. If we had bus lines around here that we could hope on and ride to the big towns, I would have so many projects finished it would be unreal. I took the pattern for these so easy slippers from Pintrest. You cast on 28 or 30 or whatever works. The cast on covers the around the foot, say like the inseam. From the cast on knit with garter stitch about five inches or the distance from the heel to the ball of the foot. Switch to a rib stitch of knit two, purl two as far as the length from the ball of the foot to the toe. Instead of casting off. Cut the yarn with enough length to thread a needle and pull it through all of the stitches and sew them together along the ribbed edges. This forms the top of the slipper. Be sure to have a long tail at the cast on, and use that to stitch up the heel. I am thinking if I just have a trace of someone’s foot, I could make these any size. This is even more fun than beanies. OK, enough for now!!

Slippers, hope they fit someone.

Slippers, hope they fit someone.

Yikes on the picture, one looks larger than the other. Believe me when you lay them on top of each other, they match. I wonder if I pulled one of them out of shape. I guess blocking really is important.

Favorite flowers and garden work

One of my favorite flowers is the Echinacea. I have tried to get more to grow, but so far this is the only one that sprouts. At least it is in super bloom mode.

One of my favorite flowers is the Echinacea. I have tried to get more to grow, but so far this is the only one that sprouts. At least it is in super bloom mode.

Today I watered plants in the vegetable garden before even having breakfast. As I was doing that I noticed the cabbage is really being chewed up. I have not seen the culprits, but they have left their mark. Because I had plenty of other work to keep me going for the day, I left the cabbage for later. The solution was administered after supper. It included a pint of all-purpose flour. My neighbor suggested that a few years back when she read the label on the can of stuff we usually put on the plants to kill bugs. She noted that along with the poison was a great amount of flour. She wondered what would happen if we just used flour. Well we tried it on the tomatoes at that time, and as long as there was no rain, it worked pretty well for a few days. So today I decided to try it with the cabbage. If it works, great, if not, I am only out a bit of flour and I haven’t put any poison on my plants. Here are a few pictures.

Cabbage before.

Cabbage before.

Cabbage with flour.

Cabbage with flour.

I also threw a bit on the tomatoes just for fun. The early girls or 4th of July, whichever I planted are starting to produce. The tomatoes are fairly small, but taste so good on salads. I am thinking about five plants of those will be plenty for me next year. I need my Romas back. I am thinking like 20 of the Romas and 20 of the Beefsteak and then 5 of the early ones and 5 of the cherry kind. I think that will be just about right. I need to keep track of that for when I start planting again.

Tomato plant with flour.

Tomato plant with flour.

Peppers are really going crazy, and so many are colored this year. Great seed packet for a change.

Peppers are really going crazy, and so many are colored this year. Great seed packet for a change.

Zinnias outside of the corn to attract pollinators.

Zinnias outside of the corn to attract pollinators.

I have a few other pictures of what is going on around here. We checked the apple tree on the south edge of the yard tonight and found a couple of those spider things in it. We cut those out and tied them up and disposed of them, then James washed off the clipper. It seems I just finally got that stuff out of the plums, and now it wants to attack this apple tree. The tree has a few apples, but still no major crop. I think it is time to plant a couple more.

Apple.

Apple.

Below are a few of the flowers that I really enjoy right now. Just wanted to share a bit of the containers and border garden. I so love sitting out on the patio in the morning and the evening. It is really nice tonight because there is no wind. I wish it could always be like that, but I guess the wind is important for certain pollination, (Corn) to happen, so that is ok, too.

Red petunias with brown spike plant. I love how these colors work.

Red petunias with brown spike plant. I love how these colors work.

Yellow pinkish hollyhocks

Yellow pinkish hollyhocks

 

Bee in the hollyhock flower.

Bee in the hollyhock flower.

 

Kalancho is really getting thick leaves out in the sun.

Kalancho is really getting thick leaves out in the sun.

 

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