Morning in the garden

Morning Glories

Sunflowers looking for the sunrise

Sunrise August 30, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

This morning was beautiful as we were leaving for school. I grabbed a few pictures to share. Nothing else to say. Sending prayers to all the people in the path of the storms and the floods down south.

Tuesday cooking from the garden

Fried potatoes with beets and beans

Today I was so tired and it was so warm when I got home from school that I decided to stay inside. I was trying to watch Jeopardy when I fell asleep on the couch, pretty standard event for me. I love that show, but I fall asleep almost every time I watch it. Afterwards I proceeded to work on supper. I peeled a couple of the cucumbers from yesterday’s picking and put them into a vinegar and cream mixture. Next I peeled and cubed the beet, and about five small potatoes, then I sliced up some of the beans all from yesterday’s gathering and put all of them into a fry pan with a couple of tablespoons of butter and a bit of olive oil. I salted them with some sea salt, this is good for flavor and makes the beans weep which adds enough moisture to enhance the cooking.

Fried potatoes with beans

This is sooooo tasty. The potatoes and beans are great alone, but the beet adds a little color and gives a little sweetness to the dish. A pan of this never has left overs, which is my newest issue in my anti-clutter mission.

I also took the one frozen pie crust that was left in the freezer and used it to make a couple of apple pie tarts. For filling I used half a quart of apple pie filling that I canned last year. I have been hoarding those jars because I know we don’t usually have a large apple crop two years in a row. But it might be time to use a few of them now and then. It was a welcome desert this evening and gets another corner of the freezer emptied. I need to clear out whatever I can as there will probably be a few items to add before the snow hits. I have a feeling when the frost comes and those flower plants are gone, we will finally find a good beet and carrot crop. Yikes!! What I should harvest this year are the seeds from the cosmos plants. I wonder if I could find an outlet for them. For that matter maybe I should consider the holly hocks. Well, I guess enough rambling for today.

Picking in the garden on Monday

Pick of the day!!

I went straight to the garden after coming home from school today. Well not exactly straight. I did go into the house to drop off the mail and change clothes, but you get what I mean. I started by digging some of the potatoes behind the garden.

We had to move our fence a little this year to comply with the standards of the dike that was put there by the Corps of Engineers. It is no wonder I watch the thing like a hawk. I get so tired of watching others use it as a walking path or even a place to drive everything from their ATV’s to small jeeps. I think that was the night I nearly lost it. Seriously that was during the height of the drought here, everything was dry as a bone and they were driving across tall dry grass with a motor vehicle. Just mowing was dangerous enough to start a fire. I am not sure what I would have done had they started a fire and jeopardized our buildings. Ok, so I am getting a bit off track here. It is just that I have been so worked up about some of the what I call selfish politics in our town lately, and this seems to be the piece of the pie that strikes my craw the hardest.

So, back to the garden. I dug potatoes, picked beans and cucumbers and pulled one beet. The cucumber picking on the fence is almost a joke. I was chasing back and forth from inside the fence to outside the fence trying to find a, as in one single cucumber like six times. I kept looking at it and thinking it was on the other side of the fence. Finally I started to look at exactly on what panel of the fence it was located as I went back and forth. By the time I was finished looking for the one cucumber, I ended up with four nearly identical cucumbers from pretty much the same area, two inside and two outside of the fence.

Most of my problem was because my sunglasses kept falling down as I was digging under the leaves trying to locate the buggers. Picking beans is really much easier. I won’t even get into the tomato thing because I finally gave up on that. The plants have overgrown their area so badly that I don’t think even Ana could get inside of them to look for any tomatoes. I also gave in and liberated the pepper plants. I took my little garden pruner along to the picking and used it to cut several of that large and overbearing cosmos plants away from the peppers. With the water I gave them tonight and the heat of the next four or five days, we might even be able to harvest one or two by Labor Day weekend. Hurrah!!

It was hot here today. It was also dry, I wish I could send some of our dry to south Texas. We will have a full week of over 80 degrees with no hope of precipitation. Watching the flooding on television makes me really wonder why things can’t just be at an even keel, but I guess that is how things go.

On a sad note, a very, very sad note the body of a missing young lady was located in the river near Fargo, North Dakota either last night or this morning. She went missing several days ago and her family somehow knew immediately that something was very wrong. She was about the age of my youngest daughter either 22 or 23. She was 8 months pregnant and that is what alarmed everyone. The baby turned up a few days ago with a couple who were not related and not people who should have had the baby. I just can’t get this incident out of my mind and I cannot even fathom the pain of the family and the horror that poor young woman went through as they stole that baby from her body. Today I have a hard time understanding how people can be so vicious and cruel and evil because things like this are just evil. News like this makes me understand why some people believe more in a God of vengeance instead of a God of love. If you have any better answers for me please share. I just don’t have any today. Here is hoping that tomorrow is a better day.

Message August 27, 2017

Today was a different sort of day in church. No Paulina and no sisters, but we had several visitors so that was really interesting. Two ladies who grew up in our church stopped to be with us. One lives in town but has married into another church, but the other has moved to Montana and she so wanted to come back to our building to worship in the church of her youth. We greeted them warmly and made sure they had a history book before they left. Here is the script of the message they heard, though it really was a bit different. When I have a receptive audience, I tend to elaborate and I really did on the part about the twins and the business about Shakespeare. James was almost afraid he was in the middle of literature class and there would be a quiz in the morning. Ha! Goof off.

The scriptures were: Isaiah 51:1-8, Romans 12:1-8 and Matthew 16:13-20. The title was, “Transitions,” which pretty much describes our life currently. Also we were treated to a duet by our musician and her husband. They are the photo above. The lady who plays for the Methodists and subs for us was their accompanist. They did the duet in the Methodist church earlier in the morning.

Here we are in this calendar/time zone sort of thing that is hovering around the end of summer. I know, I know this technically is not the end of summer, that doesn’t officially happen until later in September when the sun crosses the equator and the earth tilts so that we get colder, but seriously somewhere between last weekend and this weekend and next weekend perhaps when we celebrate Labor Day, summer is for all points and purposes over. Done, finee, finished, kaput. School has started, and even though we don’t have a Sunday School or school age church goers, this is it. And, my garden is believing it too.

On Thursday, Paulina and got into her packed up car and I got into my loaded down van, and we took her off to college for the last time—my last daughter to her last year of college. My sister Melissa is just starting this journey. She took Elisabeth off for her first year, and so the cycle begins anew in the family. As I drove home, west on I-94 into the sunset (appropriately) I wondered how we went from watching the eclipse of the sun on Monday to starting a new year of grade school and high school (if you read the newsletter, you noticed that it isn’t just James going to school this fall) on Tuesday to moving Paulina out of the house on Thursday, well actually she moved in on Friday, but we went up to babysit the twins on Thursday overnight, and that is another story for another day, but believe me those two fussbudgets won’t be torturing me again anytime soon. They cried most of the night for Paulina and me then slept all day Friday for their mother.

As long as this week seemed, I am beginning to understand this business about creating the world in six days. Some days are longer than others and some have more in them than others, and transitions make days and weeks seem longer because of the great amount of difference and change between going into them in the beginning and coming out of them on the other end.

Our gospel lesson this week seems to signal a transition in the life or maybe the word should be in the learning of the disciples. In this passage, Matthew tells us that Jesus asks the disciples who they believe him to be. Interestingly Matthew doesn’t just tell us about the question, but he is careful to give us details about where they were when the question was asked. Now we might not realize that the where has any bearing on the question, but in fact it is fairly important to the question. They are in a place called Caesarea of Philippi. If you know anything about the Roman Empire, or even if you just remember that Jesus lived during the time of the Roman Empire the word Caesarea should make you think of Caesar and perhaps, Julius Caesar, who though he was famous on his own, might be best remembered by being forced to read the play about him that was written by Shakespeare. At least that is where I learned most of my information about him and why I learned about him.

Anyway this place is in an area of Greek influence and was a spot associated with the worship of Baal which we would associate as a place of a more pagan worship. Also Caesarea was not added to this name until Caesar Augustus was the ruler. During the time of Julius Caesar it was just Philippi and I remember it from Shakespeare’s play as where Brutus and Cassius, the leaders of the group who killed Caesar, met up with and fought the armies of Mark Antony and Caesar Augustus. Philippi as it is simply called in the play is a flat plan between these rocky hills. (I shared how Brutus and Cassius were foolish enough to fight on the plane instead of making the other two come and get them in the hills amid the rocks. I also pointed out how the bad guys of a good western movie are never quite that generous. It was a fun discussion.)

Apparently sometime later there was a shrine built there to the glory of Caesar so people could worship him. I am only telling you this to get a background of the area to see that it is a place of worship that does not include a temple to either the religion of the Israelites or a place we would consider as a place significant or holy to the people surrounding Jesus or to the beginnings of Christianity.

So it was here in this completely pagan worshiping un-Christian seeming area that Jesus goes with his disciples and he asks them who people say he is, and then he asks who they believe him to be. Now there are lots of answers of what they have heard others to say Jesus is, but he really seems to be more interested in what they, the disciples, his closest followers believe. And imagine who steps to the front and speaks for the group? Of course it is Peter; he is always stepping up and speaking out. Simon tells Jesus that he believes him to be the Messiah the Son of the living God. He isn’t a king, he isn’t a prophet from long ago, he isn’t just another human leader, and he certainly isn’t a fake God as Baal was. He is the Son of the Living God. This is pretty much telling us that as the Son of the Living God, Jesus is the Son of the only God, the one true God who is above all else.

That is what Simon realizes and that is what he says in answer to this question. And as he gives his answer, Jesus looks at him and acknowledges that it isn’t Simon who has realized this, but God has revealed it to him. Because of his faith, Simon has been transformed and understood who Jesus really was, who he is, and because of it, Jesus rewards him by saying his new name is to be Peter, the Rock and he will be the leader on which the church is built. Because Peter was able to believe in Jesus, to know there was something worth knowing and following, God gave him the ability to see the truth about who Jesus was, and as a result he was rewarded. Peter with the keys to the kingdom was given the task of leadership and we all know that is not always an easy job. As Peter admitted his faith and his understanding he was also given great responsibility.

We also need to realize that understanding of- and faith in- Christ is more than just something we do on Sunday mornings or when it is convenient for us. True belief, true faith leads us to a transformation, a change in how we think and act that probably not an overnight sort of change, but when we believe and really accept Christ as the Son of the Living God as part of our lives we will want to be better in our actions towards others. We will want to care about those around us, those in need perhaps of tangible help and maybe even those with needs that are not so recognizable like someone to care about them, or to stand up for them or even to speak up for them. Who do we say that Jesus is?

Paul in his 12th chapter of the letter to the Romans says: “Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” As Simon was transformed by his faith into understanding that Jesus was the Messiah the Son of the Living God, he was given a greater understanding of his own place in following Jesus, in working to share that knowledge with others. It may seem to us like he was given a great promotion, but for some it may have seemed like a great burden. But when you think of what he realized, you begin to understand the absolute joy he must have felt in the knowledge that he was indeed working with and for the Messiah, he Simon son of Jonah was with the Son of the living God and nothing was ever going to be the same again. His joy must have been unbelievable.

As Paul continues on in this chapter it is to let the people of the church know that they do not all have to have the same talents, the same gifts, but all of them have something to contribute to the life of the church. This is something we need to remember also. Each of us has a purpose, a reason for being. We all have something to contribute to the life of the congregation. A good example of how we work together will happen again this Wednesday. Some are knotters, some line up the pieces and pin the batting to it, others make sure it is straight, some are good at threading needles, some sew the pieces together and some of us are really good at walking from point A to point B pretending we are doing something. And those are not the only things we do as a church, but I think you get the point. Everyone has their specialty and that is what makes a church work together well, and Paul makes that point over and over again throughout this epistle and the many of his other writings. He compares it here to a body. We need all the parts to make the whole work correctly and that is the same with a church.

As we go this week let us remember that each of us has a special gift or for some special gifts that are important to this community of believers and to God’s service, and let us also remember that it is through our faith that we are accepted into God’s kingdom and transformed for God’s service. Amen!

Garden end of August

Moss roses in bloom

Dark holly hock

On Saturday, I realized that I had better go out and water the flowers in containers and check on how things are going in the garden. It wasn’t just that I was gone on Thursday and Friday, but with taking that substituting job, I haven’t been in the garden seriously working since last week. Monday with the eclipse, we decided to stay inside and hunker down. Also it has not rained, but has been rather wet and dewy in the mornings, so not really conducive to hanging out in the garden. Earlier in the year, Paulina had questioned what was in the short little container. I keep trying to get moss roses to grow in it, but each year it is a struggle. They are finally growing and blooming, but the container is so shallow it dries out too quickly. I will have to find them a new home next year. Maybe a little fairy garden would be best in that container. The holly hock to the right is a color that I have been trying to grow for a few years, and of all things this year it grows right beside the pond which is not where we want any flowers at all other than the hanging baskets. I will be sure to get some seeds from it and actually plant it in another spot.

Sage

The picture to the left is the container of sage. It is really growing, though I am not sure where I will ever use that. Maybe Victoria will want it. The basil is also doing quite well, but I didn’t happen to take a picture of it because I chopped most of it off last week and we dried a couple of trays of it. I told Paulina she is allowed to take as much as she wants after they finally move into the real apartment. They will have a campus food plan, but I know Paulina, if she has a kitchen, she will be cooking a few times a week, especially on the weekends. I bought her a small kettle set, she might have to bring them home on Labor Day. They were so cheap that we have to attach the handles and I think a tool set is the one thing she is missing. I may have to put one together for her. Sounds like a good back to school gift after Labor Day.

Roger chillin’

The final picture and of course the largest is of Roger. The whole time I was dragging the hose around the concrete and finding the dried up flower pots and dead heading all the petunias, there was Roger just chillin’ out under the table. She is forever looking for some “safe” spot to sit or lay. In this picture she is actually sitting up, sort of. Saturday night she came to the office and wanted attention. I was working on the message for Sunday and told her no to coming up on my lap. So she proceeded to lay on her back beside my chair with her paws folded trying to look ever so adorable so I would pick her up and hold her. Mostly she sits in cardboard boxes, which reminds me I need to pack up all the boxes we didn’t use to pack up Paulina. I really am so amazed at home open the house looks now that she has moved out again. I had no idea she had so much here.

Of course, she did take some things she never had before this year because she is moving into an apartment. Namely that lovely sofa that is left over from the days when Vic and Jess lived on campus in the Dean’s house that summer. The house has been torn down, but we saved that lovely couch. By the way it is not to come back to this house unless there is a signed contract that it is leaving with the owner again. There is still a chair and a stool in the basement that need to go later. Between the rummage sale and her leaving, I am starting to see the walls in the basement. I am thinking if we tackle just one or two boxes of stuff down there each week, we could have the place cleared out by spring. Oh Ya!!!

Moving day…Paulina goes back to college

Paulina in with Jess and the twins as we parted after supper.

Sunset as I was going home. Not sure what is just over the horizon that looks like a second sun.

So yesterday was the last day that I got to go along to help my last daughter move into college. This is it. When she moves again it will be to her own place, and she won’t be coming home again (we hope/haha). I hung around perhaps longer than I should have, but when your children go to the same college that you once went to, it sort of stirs up old memories, thoughts of days gone by. Those were the best times.

We didn’t have much money, but we really didn’t need much. It is that time of semi-independence, but no real adult responsibilities. You have just enough cast to get you through if you are lucky. If you live on campus the housing and food are provided (or you pay later in your student loans) and your entertainment is doing your homework and hanging out with your friends or going to the student activities that are part of the fees with the tuition. Wait, could we go back to those days please. I hate it when the bills come due and you actually have to have earned the money to pay for them.

Anyway, it was an experience. We started near noon trying to get our hands on her keys to the temporary apartment because the real apartment is being fixed since it rained into it while repairs were being made to the roof. The key really didn’t work to the temporary place. I eventually got it open, but there was no way we could get it to lock again. The lock when we opened the door and looked at it didn’t have the guts in the wall part and I am not really sure how it was supposed to work. The doors to one of the bedroom closets was lying in the hallway outside of the apartment. The shelves in the cupboard spaces were either dusty or covered in some weird rubbery shelf liner. The internet was hooked up so that the living room area was a complete mess of cords. And the kitchen table looked like something my mother would have thrown out of her café and there were a whole two chairs. Oh and I forgot to mention that the bathtub was rimmed in mold on all of the caulk. I think perhaps it was a good plan for her to go back and suggest she was not going to live in it.

Paulina’s bed made and ready to sleep in but still in the midst of chaos.

Sofa is off to Melissa’s right.

They finally placed her on campus with her current roommate. The place they have is like a larger dorm room rather than an apartment style, but should only be for two weeks. We hope. I am not sure how she is going to move the little sofa that we brought up, but hopefully she finds someone with a pickup to help her out. It is basically across the street and over one block, maybe a couple of PE scooters would work to move it. Ha!!

Melissa was on campus to move Elisabeth into her dorm for the first time. Well as James says, we won’t be without someone on campus now for a few years. Even if Paulina is finishing with the other one starting, that will guarantee we have a reason to go visit. I am just wondering if Jaxon and Ana will let me help them move onto campus and listen to my lame golden oldies stories when they move to college. I can only hope that I am still here in another 11 years to watch that process start.

Well enough for now. I need to get the message for tomorrow finished. Not sure what that will be about. I don’t suppose it will work to rant about playground equipment. HA HA!!

Twins time

Me with Lily and Marshall

Yesterday was twins day. Paulina was all packed up to go back to college. I will have more on that tomorrow. For tonight,  I will give you a picture of me with the twins and call it a day. Let’s just say, I am so glad that tomorrow is Saturday.

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