Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My mom's dad was a gardener.  His garden was large enough to feed our family of seven, his family (him, my grandmother and my invalid uncle, "Benny Sherrill"), and have plenty leftover to give to neighbors.  It was big enough to fill 3 deep freezers and a huge pantry of canning jars every year.  It was big enough for him to work in from sun-up to sun-down and still have plenty for us five kids to do for hours everyday.  Between homework and garden, that's about all we did.  We would step off the school bus to bushels and bushels (no exaggeration) of work.  The stain of purple hull peas stayed on our hands for days.  The sandy grit of shelling butterbeans.  The shucking and careful silking of the corn that would be inspected by our (once upon a time) USDA inspector grandfather.  The sycamore tree that popped its bark off during thunderstorms that kept off the sun we shucked for hours.  The many hours of standing on the yummy a/c vent, picking out wormy peas as I ran the batches through cold water (somehow made more lovely by seeing my brothers through the window sweating it out).  The watermelons and cantaloupes that lived all over his house, on all the other a/c vents to chill them.  Ever stubbed your toe on a watermelon in the living room?  The time he accidentally hit a watermelon with the tractor tire, and we stopped right there- to eat sun-warmed, busted up watermelon in the field.  

My grandfather was not a kind man.  Rough, gruff.  He died the week of my wedding; we teasingly said he did it out of spite.  I cried the first time he called me "honey," and then got yelled at.  He shamelessly played favorites with the grandkids, and I was not one of them- haha.  But there were times, like when he would request #160, "Under His Wings," when I wondered what played there inside his head.  Somehow, even through all our complaints (to which he'd respond, "You wanna eat this winter, don't ya?") we all picked up bits and pieces of him which come out in the spring.  Even my younger brother, Ethan, the worst sworn enemy of the garden, has one of his own now.  Will wonders never cease?

Nathan says, "Gardening is in your past.  Let's keep it there."  And for good reason.  I'm not actually good at it.  We were experts in our individual tasks.  That means there are parts of gardening I could do in my sleep, but those mostly involve harvest.  Unfortunately, for me, I was in school when he was putting in the seed and fertilizing and doing the daily things plants require.  But even with that, something kicks in this time of year, and I feel compelled to plant something.  Somehow, the joy of holding something edible that comes from my yard outweighs the fact that I kill off 90% of what I plant.

As a tribute to my grandfather, we often eat purple hull peas, albeit from the store.  He would be proud to know that I still smash them (as he taught me to), salt them and eat them on saltines.  Of course, that pride might disappear if he saw that I planted morning glories ("those nasty weeds") on purpose and plan to let them wreak glorious havoc. 

Putting in the Seed

by Robert Frost
You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper's on the table, and we'll see
If I can leave off burying the white
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea);
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a Springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

From http://www.budgettravel.com   
Re-reading my favorite 'fun' author, Jan Karon.  Her main character, Father Tim travels to Ireland to explore his family genealogy, and this poem is referenced in his travels.  This is the last poem written by Pádraic Pearse, the night before he was executed as a leader in the 1916 Easter Rising (an attempt to secede from the United Kingdom).  He wrote this sitting in Kilmainham Gaol- a young 36 year old man.  This poem speaks to me in a way few do.  There is just so much breathtaking beauty in this world.  We have been reading through the psalms, where so much of God's creation is celebrated.  Romans 1 says that God is revealed to everyone through his creation, so that they who reject Him are 'without excuse.'  I find it sad that all this beauty (both His creation and the thousands of years of human artistry) will someday pass away.  I know that's ridiculous, as we will be trading it for a perfect new earth, unscarred by sin.  This beauty is a "beauty that will pass," stepping off the stage to allow a superior and eternal beauty to come on the scene....

The Wayfarer – Pádraic Pearse
The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk,
Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun,
Or some green hill where shadows drifted by
Some quiet hill where mountainy man hath sown
And soon would reap; near to the gate of Heaven;
Or children with bare feet upon the sands
Of some ebbed sea, or playing on the streets
Of little towns in Connacht,
Things young and happy.
And then my heart hath told me:
These will pass,
Will pass and change, will die and be no more,
Things bright and green, things young and happy;
And I have gone upon my way

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Life in Pictures
We've been up to... life and homeschooling and stuff.  Here's a little catch-up in pics...  Hope your spring is going well!

The zoo let members ride FREE on the new zipline course for a few days.  We happened upon it- Serendipity and Joy! 
My brave adventurers!

My, my, what high platforms they have!  All the better to jump from, Mom!

Mitzi attempts to escape her bath by impersonating Darth Vader.

Kathryn with a mouth full of green eggs and blue cottage cheese- ick!  This was Earth Day- so we had a green, blue and brown breakfast.  They thought it was cool.

And now we have the requisite spring nights in the basement.  Tornado season.

Which leaves us feeling a bit like this the next morning....