The Strawberry Shuffle

strawberry

 

© Jeanne E Webster   All Rights Reserved

Ezekiel 34:26b “…there shall be showers of blessings.” KJV

Each spring my husband and I become energized when planning a vegetable garden. We put in the usual hodgepodge of purple beans, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, and green peppers. However, this year was to be different. We decided we’d try our hand at planting blueberries and strawberries also.

Before placing most of the veggies, we set in four blueberry bushes and 40 strawberry plants. The blueberries were no problem: dig the hole, sprinkle the acid mixture and fertilizer, stir, and stick the bush in up to its former growth line, tamp the soil down, water, and voila! You have blueberry bushes!

Since this was our first adventure with strawberries, we read tons of literature on the do’s and don’ts. Acid soil is a must, good drainage, embed each plant at the top of the root ball, allow each plant to send out only four runners, pinch off the first year’s blossoms, fertilize well and separate each row with plenty of straw. My husband tilled the soil, turning in the fertilizer and plenty of peat moss, leaving the actual planting to me.

Adopting the crawling stance, I painstakingly scooted along, setting the plants into their proper spaces. As a grand finale, I stood upright and whimsically tossed handfuls of straw between each row to discourage weeds from competing with the berries for nutrients. Gazing on the results, I could almost taste those bedazzling red jewels! The rows were straight, spacing perfect, and, “Look out, neighbors; we’ve got strawberries!” Or so we thought.

Showers are perpetually linked with springtime. How about gully washers, downpours, torrents, and deluges? Raindrops began falling on our heads and the strawberry plants the day after planting. The heavens opened up and forgot to turn off the faucet. The weather forecast for the entire week was…rain.

During the midst of the flooding, the temperature dropped drastically and a frost was predicted. Determined to save our plants, which were now impersonating water lilies, we gathered some old sheets to cover them. I’ve never dallied in a rice paddy before, but I know what it must feel like! I set one foot into the garden to lay out the sheets and sunk in up to my arthritic ankles. Backing out was a real necessity. What to do?!

We hauled several boards out of the barn and laid them down between the rows. I attempted an amateurish “high-wood” act across them, laying down the sheets as I tiptoed across. This plan worked fine until I reached the farthest point away from solid ground. My left foot slid off the board into the boot-sucking goop, which left me doing a balancing act on my right foot. Try as I might, the muck would not release my left foot!

Yes, the inevitable happened…I fell…bottom first…into the cold, wet mire, and, try as I might, could not get up. Feeling like a fool, I wondered how many neighbors were rolling over with laughter at the comical sight. Then it occurred to me. This IS funny!

My husband scampered to the barn with many a muted “tee hee” and returned with a long-handled pitchfork. It was the longest reacher to be found. Smiling graciously, he stretched out and handed it to me. I grabbed on and pulled myself to a stand. However, my left foot was still in the grips of the sludge.

I wriggled as carefully as I could to free it, but by this time the board was as slick as a goose’s left-behinds. The pitchfork had been withdrawn and my right leg decided it wasn’t up to any more rescue attempts.

Yep! I fell once more…FORWARD…onto my hands and knees! Laughter erupted again! I gave up trying to look graceful and crawled out of the garden onto the green grass. Sometimes pride has to give way to necessity.

The rest of the story? I did manage to cover most of the strawberry plants, miraculously. We look forward to eating our home-grown strawberries next spring and summer, and hopefully we won’t need to purchase a pair of waders to pick them. Just in case…anyone have a used pair for sale real cheap?

Dear Lord, thank you for the showers of blessings. It made me feel like a kid again!

“Springing” into Action

spring

 

 

© Jeanne E. Webster. All rights reserved

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I cried out to you last night, Lord,
When I awoke with a fright
You sang to me a dulcet chord
And my fears anon took flight.
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My spirit aroused with adoration
Your greatness sustains me, Lord
To fight battles of every occasion
Your might is my spirit’s sword.
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You’re the joy of lithesome birds
Playfully pecking at bugs and seed;
Gracefully into the air they herd
Oh, to follow them in secrecy.
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The field is rife with weeds and clover
Plump honey bees fill their pockets
Sprinkling golden succor all over,
Showing off their shiny lockets.
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Storms overnight ravaged the view:
Marinated soil flaunts bubbly pools
Broken tree limbs, bird’s nests askew
Aborted feathered life slumped like ghouls.
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Tall corn spikes, tomatoes green lumps
Bashful strawberries hid from me
Brussel sprouts showing nary a bump
Fans of elephant-eared broccoli.
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Morning glory vines garnished with hearts
Stretched their ropes into the skies
Clinging, twisting in fits and starts
Formed a glorious, colorful sunrise.
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Orange daylilies stretch out like fingers
The hibiscus displays her dinner plate
Hummingbirds dine well as they linger
Bleeding hearts thrust tiny orbed bait.
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Rabbits have produced such a nice crop
Tiny fur balls hopping here and there
Moles and voles dine heartily; please stop!
My lovely green lawn is suddenly bare.
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The arborvitae finally gave up the ghost
All dried up, painting a brown frown
The black pines appear as if in a roast
Beetle parasite time brought them down.
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Home-made suet I hung on the pine tree
“Mrrupp,” says the red-bellied woodpecker,
Gorging on peanuts, he’s a real cutie
Also the hairy and downy woodpeckers.
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Yellow finches sporting vivid coats
Feasting on thistle seed in the feeder
Those darn blackbirds are hoggish blokes
I’ll send them off with my old repeater.
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My two spaniels and I walk and admire
So many sights to explore around here
Crayfish chimneys dot the ditches of mire
What do they live on deep down in there?


Thank you for your provisions, Lord,
The natural ambiance offers such beauty
My rake and hoe await time to afford
I love the fruit of my labors and duty.
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Dear One, You’ve truly blessed my path,
With one very pleasant enchanted day
“Top of the morning to you and your staff.”
Help me comfort others that come my way.

EScape

falltrees

Escape

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed

 

Psalm 55:8 (KJV) “I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”

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Everyone occasionally needs a place to escape the cares of this world, be it a quiet room, a shed, a nook in the barn, a fence post, or a piece of land where nothing intrudes into one’s thoughts and feelings. The burdens of the soul shall melt away whenever one slips into this serene, sacred realm.

For many a year, my place of refuge was a tiny chunk of land resting beside the Flint River. It was merely half an acre, but my, what a busy patch of green!

Squirrels scurried here and there burying their nuts for the long Michigan winters while frolicking rabbits waltzed around the grove of prickly crabapple trees. Gorging on bugs and grubs by the thousands, fat and sassy moles punched the rich, dark loam upward into long tunnels crisscrossing the grassy field. Various ducks and geese nestled alongside the banks of the rippling, cool water, displaying their beauty and serenity, whereas the feisty kingfishers zoomed overhead, diving into the murky river for their catch of the day. In the early morning foggy dew, a rare deer would come tiptoeing along the lower bank, tenderly chomping down fallen acorns.

Whenever this idyllic wonderland beckoned to my sagging spirit, I’d mosey on down and head for a special old tree alongside the riverbank. Snuggling down next to its weather worn trunk, I’d silently sit for a while and spiritually blend in with the land.

I sensed the spirit of the trees and the grass, the leaves and the dirt, the river and the animals, the wind and the rain, the snow, the fog, and the mist.

Within my soul came healing as I rested and communed with God. I’d tell Him all my troubles, my needs and my sins, mention folks in need of prayer, praise Him for all His blessings, and thank Him for His grace. Sighing softly as the tenseness within my weary body slowly ebbed away, my spirit was restored, fully refreshed and strengthened to face anew the matters at hand.

Thank you, Father, for that mystical plot of land that served so faithfully as my refuge many years ago. Those memories shall be treasured forever.

Shalom