Thursday, October 17, 2019

Seasons Through My Garden's Gate

How quickly the seasons of the year, and our lives pass!  

The days of summer came and went far more quickly than even a blink of an eye!  My garden produced bounteous amounts of vegetables, herbs, and berries.  

The enjoyment of days spent outside in the sunshine are remembered with sweet fondness now as Fall and Winter have both arrived simultaneously.  

I am now in the process of putting the garden to sleep for the winter, as Summer has passed.  In this post, I'll share with you the bounteous joys the summer season brought to us, enjoyed immensely to the fullest, and now just a sweet memory in our hearts with the arrival of the next seasons at hand... 
I spent a lot of time in my garden sitting area praying, it was just the most peaceful place to visit with the Lord.  I also held weekly prayer gatherings here, and what a joy it was to bask in the sweet presence of the Lord while sunshine and warmth graced the world around us. 

Many summer evenings, my husband and I rode the quad down to the river and went for an evening swim.
It was a perfect way to cool off during those few precious days of hot weather! 

My garden fairly shone with the abundance of blooms I had planted, all of them were started in the dead of winter and babied in my greenhouse until I planted them in early June. 

I continued making glass plates this summer, and found a few local stores who have sold many of them for me.
It is a fun way to showcase beautiful china that otherwise sits dusty on a shelf! 

A glimpse of my garden in mid-summer. You may notice the absence of trees behind my little shed and garden area.  An opportunity to have our place logged this summer meant that I was able to finally get full sunshine now in my garden! It really made an incredible difference! 
Having all the sunshine they needed made such a difference for my plants,
and I saw the greatest harvest I've ever had this year because of that. 
One more thing I changed up this year was the amount of compost/peat moss/straw that I put out over the entire garden. All of it together combined with the extra sunshine allowed my garden to produce an outstanding harvest gifting! 
I tried a few different designs with all the plates in my garden, and this little teapot lamp is one of my favorites. I used a large ashtray, turned a vase upside down, and glued a teapot on top, and threaded fairy lights into the vase, turning it into a lamp.  This little lamp lights up the kitchen at night when it is bedtime, and it is comforting to see it glow in the darkness. You can see one of my gorgeous roses from my garden sitting in a handcrafted vase gifted to me by my friend Dianne, and a bouquet of lavender that I dried from my garden as well.  
During harvest season I would pick my tomatoes as they began to ripen, placing them in trays in my greenhouse to hurry the process along.  It has been an incredible year of tomato harvesting! 
At the peak of late summer season, these gorgeous marigolds, black-eyed susans, zinnias and cosmos bloomed until it made my heart almost burst with joy to see it. 
As tomatoes ripened, I used my Instant Pot to can them. Processing using the Instant Pot is so easy! I wash the tomatoes, take off any bad spots, add 1/2 cup water, process 30 minutes on manual, then do natural release and drain the water.  Using my immersion blender, I blend in the pot until tomatoes are smooth.  Pour into prepared quart or pint jars. I add lemon juice and salt per the Ball recipe.  Process by a water bath and cool.  My Instant Pot full of fresh tomatoes makes 2 quart and 1 pint jar of canned tomatoes.  This has become the easiest way to deal with my tomatoes as they ripen each day.  

Since tomatoes don't ripen here all at once, this has become the easiest process for me to can the tomatoes as they ripen. 
Garden delights!

Let the salsa making commence!
Sadly, all lovely and wonderful things must come to an end, and Winter decided to steal Fall's thunder and arrive on September 28.  I had taken the weather forecast to heart, and gathered all my vegetables still in the ground and stored them in my greenhouse. I picked as many bouquets from the abundant flowers growing as I could, and brought them inside.
Early that morning Jack Frost visited and left his icy mark, while Winter showed up later that afternoon. 

In their last glorious moments of blooming delight,
the frost crowned them with icy delights. 

Then Winter arrived, and the blanket of snow quieted the earth with its abundance on September 28th. 

Trees were damaged with the snow that this early on trees who are not prepared for the weight of snow on their leaves cannot support that weight. Our Blazing Red Maple lost two lower limbs because of the weight of the snow. 
One of my glass plates coated in snow's icy embrace.

Under the burden of the snow, still the colors of my garden did their best to shine.
Seeing snow on the ground on September 28th broke records even for our area.  According to local reports, the last snowfall to come in September was back in the 1920s, so it had been a while! I wrote a poem about this event that I will share with you now :) 

Seasons Through My Garden’s Gate

During the long months of Winter
planning ensues with great anticipation
for days filled with Summer's grandeur.

Garden bed designs, blooms envisioned
Bulbs, seeds and plant starts
As my garden journal bulges.

Then Spring arrives in dizzying moments of perfume
Waltzing along those busy days of awakening soil and budding blooms
Always a splendid hurrying in anticipation of Summer’s rays.

Soon Summer arrives in warm waves of breathless splendor
Weaving itself gracefully onto each sunlit day
as pearls that slip by on a golden strand.

Until one day - in a blink of an eye -  Summer has vanished
and Fall and Winter, hand-in-hand
stand before the garden's gate.

Fall's colorful adorning beckons adoringly
while Winter in his icy attire swaggers through the gate
Their arrival together a bittersweet surprise.

I bid them both entrance,
for what can one do when they both arrive together
Sharing a welcome meant only for one?

I shall whisper kindly to Winter
It's not nice to steal Fall's thunder,
Do return at your given time.

Soon Fall's fallen splendor will need you, Winter,
with your glorious bridal showers
of white to grace the fallen leaves upon the earth.

There will be barren limbs swinging in the breeze
Frozen ground dried and brown
Desiring of adornment in your sparkling white attire.

But Winter with a snooty glance
barrels through the garden gate
covering the earth in his icy breaths of white.

Fall, bewildered, mournfully waits
Until Winter's wrath subsides
And then gently smiles as sunshine melts the white.

Winter leaves with nary a backward glance
Muttering under his frigid breath,
I will be back…. I will be back…. I will be back.

Fall smiles as Winter rushes away
And gently beckons my eyes to see
Her golden delights spread so willingly.

I wander the garden and mourn its loss
As Winter has left and Fall has brought frost
Yet sunlight shares its golden powers

And once more I rest in complete assurance
That while the delights of Spring and Summer have passed on by
Fall's golden and Winter's white will now suffice.

Thankfully the snow melted within a few days and Fall has been able to linger a bit longer. 

In my next post, I'll share some of the beauty of Fall days here in Idaho, even as the weatherman forecasts for snow this week, and it seems that Winter is rather anxious this year to arrive.  

One can fuss and complain about the weather, but that won't change it.  
What we can do is to accept whatever comes, and make the best of it.  

And so each day that comes 
I am grateful beyond measure 
for each and every blessing
that is abundantly bestowed upon me! 

 Giving thanks 
for all things 
unto God and the Father 
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Ephesians 5:20

Thursday, July 18, 2019

LIVING Summer to its Fullest

I can't believe it has been May since I've shared a blog post! Sunshine is to blame for the lack of posting on my part... we have been soaking up every ray possible! But to recap where we left off, I had last posted about our daughter's return from Spain.

She returned from Spain the last weekend in May and it was so wonderful to pick her up at the airport and hear all about her travels. We had spoken several times a week through Skype while she was gone, but it is just not the same as in person!

I asked her to put together a slideshow of some of her pictures that she took while she was in Spain and the other countries she visited to share with you... so here it is :)

I hope you enjoyed the video of our daughter's travels!  It has been wonderful hearing all about her experience, and seeing her pictures.

Our daughter's treasures and gifts that she returned home with ...
We had so much fun as she passed her gifts out to us and heard all her stories!

She cooked a Spanish tortilla for us the next evening. It was her first attempt, and delicious!
A Spanish tortilla is a potato and egg dish that pairs beautifully with just about any meat.  

A ride out into the mountains on our 4-wheelers with spectacular views. 

It's wonderful to ride out in the mountains, exploring the beauty around us!

The wild rose blooms this year were stunning and magnificent!

Then come the lupins with their cheery purple blooms adorning the landscape.

Irises are next in line to bloom in our spring blooming season with their decadent blooms.

I found these gorgeous hydrangeas on sale and planted them in my garden,
it will be interesting to see whether they stay pink or blue!

Gardening season is in full swing, everything is planted and growing happily!

A garden tea party was planned for my ladies bible study group,
and we had a lovely time together with sweet fellowship. 

I set up a canopy over my little tea garden area,
and it has been such a blessing to enjoy
the shade all day long.
Time for tea in the garden!
I finished the teacup quilt that I began during the winter months. I put it out for display when
I have a tea party. I'm glad to have finished it! 

Homemade strawberry shortcake... my Dad arrived for a visit when the strawberries were at their peak,
and we enjoyed quite a few of these treats! 

As we walked one evening after an afternoon thunderstorm,
this beautiful rainbow arched the sky in front of us as we walked. 

God's magnificent handiwork at its best!

Another view of the gravel road we walk in the evenings... oh the skies in their magnificence never cease to thrill my soul!

While my Dad was here we went on lots of picnics and drives.  We bought this sandwich at a local
Mennonite bakery/deli and enjoyed it down by the river. They make their bread homemade fresh daily, and their sandwiches are the best!!

The brilliance of the water and skies was glorious! 

A peek into my little Prayer Garden area... 

 I planted these alliums last fall in anticipation of their blooms, and they did not disappoint! 
One morning my husband had just left the house and called to say our local herd of elk were grazing just down the road. Dad and I drove over to watch them, and were lucky to get one good picture of them before they spooked and ran.
 Elk are very flighty creatures and a challenge to photograph. 

We took Dad to the local rodeo, always an exciting event!

This rodeo queen is a friend of my son's. She spotted us in the crowd and made her way over to see us during the event.

Enjoying the views of the river

Glorious flowers - poppies and bachelor buttons growing in abandon.. we saw these at a local state park. 
Someone had a vision for beauty in this spot, to plant such a glorious array of blooms on this hillside!  
Oh the glorious beauty of land, water and sky!

Down at the local state park... the views were spectacular!
Well... this post could go on and on indefinitely... we've been LIVING this summer to its fullest, and I've struggled to find time indoors to put this much of a post together. Honestly, I've been working on this post since the end of June... so I will just stop here and share more in a later post. I just wanted to let everyone know that summer is when we get outside and enjoy all the beauty that our world has to offer. Warm summer days are so fleeting, and we have waited so long for them, that they must be enjoyed! Lots of things have been happening here, not the least of which is that we were able to get our place logged. But I'll save that story for another post! 

Blessings and love to all!