Saturday, June 24, 2017

June Berries & Blooms with Delights & Difficulties

I still cannot believe that we have already tipped the scales, and that the sun is heading back down the hill!  It seems that we anticipate the longer days, and enjoy them so very much, and now that Summer Solstice has passed us, we are sliding back down the other side of the hill... does it seem to you that this clock speeds faster and faster?

I don't know about you, but summertime this year has been a busy one for me.  We plan and plan all winter long for what we are going to do come spring/summer, and then come spring/summer we are on the run to get it all done before winter comes again.

In the evenings though, I enjoy taking a break from the work of the day and take a walk with Riley or Annie-girl.

The lupins and wild roses are in bloom and this is a particularly amazing year for their blooms.

I've noticed they lupins come in many varied shades of blue and purple, depending on how much sun they are getting.  I love the deep purple hues of this one.

Glorious sunsets abound, which is the time of day I like to walk best.

There is something about the skies and sunsets that cause my heart to feel great joy in just knowing the Savior who delights in His creation so much, to create a new piece of artwork each evening for us to enjoy.

This little squirrel watched us from high up in a pine tree.  We watched him sit very still and peer down at us, while Annie-girl muttered away about his presence.  Probably just as well we didn't catch the interpretation of this conversation! lol...

There is something quite soothing and relaxing after a long day's work to walk in the quiet shadows of the evening, listening to the twitter of the birds, the soft breeze of the evening wind, and watch the show on center stage all around us.

My husband and I climbed up a little cliff to watch the sunset from a different perspective.  The mountains in the distance were shrouded in evening's garments of purple and blues, while the skies danced around in prisms of yellows, oranges, purples and gold, much to our delight.

Annie-girl is never impressed with sunsets... she doesn't have time to look up, she tells me!  Why, there is too much going on around her on the ground, to be worried about the skies!  She spotted a deer off in the shadows, and showed great impatience with us, for not letting her go and explore that deer trail.  Patience is not a virtue she claims...

My husband and I are thankful for the evening walks that we can take together, it gives us a chance to talk about our day, enjoy the evening together, and plan for the next day.


These wild roses are blooming profusely in our backyard, and their glorious smell is deliciously intoxicating.

How wonderful that such beautiful things grow without a care in the world! No one tends them, they just produce the most glorious blooms and brighten up the world wherever they can.  Oh how I love Idaho's wild roses!

And it is wild strawberry season too!  We found some wild strawberries growing, and oh my, they are delicious!

These strawberries are from my garden, and the harvest has been amazing so far this year!  I planted 100 strawberry plants last year, and this year we are finally reaping the benefit of them.

8 cups of fresh picked strawberries makes about 4 pints of jam.  It felt pretty wonderful to pick my own strawberries for the jam and have it made within an hour, along with homemade honey-oatmeal bread too... oh the delights of having my own strawberries are just beginning!  I should get a great June harvest, and then I have about 20 strawberry plants that will continue to produce strawberries throughout the summer.


About a week ago around 4:00 in the afternoon, I was at home, and heard a knock at the door.  I hadn't seen a car drive in, and couldn't imagine who it would be, and the dogs weren't barking either.  I went to the door, and the most awful sight met me there.  It was my neighbor, whose face was covered in blood, and she was holding onto the door as if she might collapse right there.  After getting over the initial shock of seeing so much blood, I asked her what happened.  She told me that she was working in her field using a tractor and a hay rake.  The hay rake got bent, and she was using a pipe wrench to straighten it, when the hay rake tine sprung loose, and hit her in the face. She lay there for a few minutes, and realized she didn't have her cell phone with her, and thought - I've got to get to Marilyn's for help.  So she managed to get up and walk across 3, yes THREE fields to get to my house.  Sheer adrenaline!  I got her an ice pack from the freezer, some water for her to drink, a wet rag to hold to her head, and off we went to the ER.  (This is the same neighbor who took me to the eye doctor back in March when Riley scratched my eye!  We are not sure what the significance of eye injuries for us is, but we do have a bond!)

She ended up being transferred by ambulance to a bigger trauma hospital an hour away because of her eye injuries, lacerations, and fracture.  It was quite an event, with two eye surgeons who came in to see her.  They stitched up her eyelid lacerations and sent her home very late that evening. Because two eye surgeons were involved, both wanted to see her, and so I took her to both doctors for a visit in the following days.  Surgery was scheduled for Wednesday of this week to repair her broken eye socket.  I took her in for the surgery and spent the day with her.  Her surgery went well, and despite still having some double vision (which the doctors say should clear up in a matter of days), she is on the mend!  Many, many people have been praying for her and she feels very blessed in the midst of all that she has been through.  We have laughed and laughed together, and shared about the blessings of the Lord in the midst of life's little bumps (or big ones that cause lots of blood and pain!) in the road, and truly I'm so thankful to have a neighbor who loves the Lord so much, and what fun times we have had together, despite the difficult circumstances.  I am a firm believer in not crying over spilled milk, but instead, sop it up and enjoy it a different way... and that is just what she is doing.  She is using this time off work to read through the book of Isaiah with her one good eye, and she has had time to rest too, which she doesn't often have... and so both of us have found that in spite of our "eye" experiences the Lord has managed to greatly bless and encourage us in and through them.

My dear neighbor's mother was so grateful that someone could be there for her daughter with all the trips to the hospital and doctors that she gifted me with the most gorgeous and amazing vintage patio bistro set that a gal's heart could ever hope for!  Never would I have been able to afford to spend the $$ to buy this darling little set for my little repurposed garden!

My "Garden Within A Garden" now has this vintage 3-piece addition to it!  This gorgeous, vintage yet mint condition table and 2 chairs was picked up by my neighbor and her mother at a little antique store.  I have no idea as to the cost of it, and I will never know.  But one thing I do know, this little set will be cherished by me forever... it speaks to me of friendship and joy in the midst of difficulty, and peace in the garden too.  I had gone to town to pick up a few things, and when I got home, this little set was waiting in the yard for me.  I just cried out when I saw it!  I couldn't even believe it, nor did I want to accept it from them, but then I remembered that to be a generous giver, you must, at times, be a gracious receiver, and I knew that their hearts were full of joy to bring this gift to me, and so I thanked them with all my heart.  What a treasure!  Something I will treasure always, and also it will always be a reminder to me of how our Lord uses the wildest situations in life to bring bits of joy into our lives.

So I brought my treasured set into my little "Garden Within A Garden" and played with it, trying to get it just right.  I tried different things on the table, moved things around, and just had so much fun with it!

I have seen many pictures of cowboy boots used in decor, and wasn't really sure if this would work or not.

I saw a picture like this:

I saw a picture like this in the dedicated cowboy boots section of King Ranch.
... and thought ... well maybe I could do something similar.  In fact, my daughter had just purchased a new pair of cowboy boots, and I asked her if I could have her old ones... she looked at me a bit funny, lol!  After all, who wants old cowboy boots? Hmmm ..

I did!  I had just the perfect spot for them too... 

I was pleased with the way the boots just felt right at home sitting on that table!

And then I remembered... I had fresh strawberries in the garden, so I went and picked some and put them on the table...

But the strawberries weren't for me!  I took this cute little basket of strawberries along with an invitation that I created...

... to my neighbor, her mother and another friend who was involved in getting the little bistro set for me, and invited them to my garden for a tea party... with the time to be announced, since my neighbor is still in a bit of a recovery from her eye surgery. Perhaps next week! We will have a tea party in my garden, and that is an event I can't wait to make happen! You will hear about it when it does  {smile}

In the meantime, these lovely cowboy boots adorn my little vintage table, and since I have an abundance of wildflowers growing in my yard, they will "bloom" all summer.  I simply took two small plastic cups, filled them with water, and placed them inside the boots, and I can refill with wildflowers as desired. I love it!

And I just had to show you a peek of my strawberry patch, complete with a new sign!  My daughter and I embarked on a project where we made signs for all the veggies and fruits growing in my garden.  I painted the signs white, then she oil painted the words on them, and then we sprayed them with an acrylic sealer spray.  My husband screwed the signs into the stakes, and voila!  It adds a lovely whimsical touch to my garden.  Since strawberries in English wouldn't fit on the sign, she thought it would be fun for me to learn a bit of Spanish instead... so she painted the word strawberry in Spanish... so fun!

Well, you can see our days around here are busy, and one just never knows what is going to show up at ones' door!  But we live each day so very thankful for the Lord's protection and help even in the midst of the difficulties that come our way, and we choose to be thankful for it all, for the good and the bad all seem to work together for good, and for that I am just so thankful!  The ways of the Lord never seem to be what we would choose... and yet, in the end... His ways really are best and we give HIM our thanks for this world He created for us to live in, for the blessings He bestows upon us, that come to us in seemingly endlessly unique ways, and we praise Him for blessing us even in the most unexpected turns and twists that life brings to us.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways, 
saith the LORD. 
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
so are my ways higher than your ways, 
and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
Isaiah 55: 8-9

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

My Garden Within the Garden

May has come and gone, and I'm thinking June has a spring in her step, much like May's!

My tulips put on a glorious display in my garden which lasted for several weeks.

Their bright happy faces a welcome sight to see after waiting so patiently for flowers to bloom this spring!

We've had several days of quite warm weather (high 80s, and some days in the 90s) so much that Annie was wishing for snow again, lol... seeking out the cool shadowed places to rest in.

The chickens enjoy the sunshine as they take their daily dust baths.

I've been having fun "puttering" in my little garden shed.

A peek inside at my work space, I'm loving it!  It is great to have a place to organize all my tools for the garden, to pot plants, and such.

I have plans for a proper potting table, but for now, this old table I scavenged will do!

My "Garden Within the Garden" is coming along nicely... the plants are starting to bloom and fill out, and it has become a quiet haven of peace and rest for me.

My plan is to eventually have it bordered on one side with raspberries, and roses down the other, and someday, a trellis with roses to enter it... someday!

An weathered ladder I found at a yard sale has a couple of old metal tackle boxes filled with succulents bordering one side of the little garden space.

My tea pot is filled with dianthus, which overwintered in my greenhouse, and are now blooming again!

An old wagon that works! It was found by my husband and father at the dump, and has found a new reason to live again :)

I found a place to rest my hat from last summer on this weather-worn chair and old tool box.

An old rusty tea cart has found its place in my garden too.

This vintage, worn-out high chair is a perfect resting spot for some pansies and succulents.

I've got my garden fully planted now.  I was late starting my tomatoes from seed (due to my Easter Texas visit I didn't want to start them until I got back), so I had to purchase some tomato plants from a lady in town who starts them in her greenhouse.  On the left hand side are planted my tomatoes, and on the right hers.  It will be interesting to see if mine can catch up!  :)

Maybe one of you can tell me what this barrel's original use was, I can't be sure. However, I picked it up at a yard sale several years ago and have turned it into a home for my columbine.

When we first married, my husband gave me a gorgeous lamp one year for Christmas. Unfortunately in one of our moves, it suffered a huge hole in its side.  I've kept it for years, just hating to part with it.  I finally found new life for it!  In my garden, it now is a support for my columbine growing so prettily. I also had a gorgeous flower pot that had broken, and it too, has found new recognition in my garden of re-purposed things!

My corn is in the foreground, strawberries in the background.  A saying around here about corn is that it needs to be "knee-high by the 4th of July"... well, many of my corn are already close to knee high, so I hope we are ahead of the game this year!

This is a painting that my daughter just sold to a local college satellite campus, and it was a pretty exciting event for her.  She is part of an art club at the college, and will be getting more exposure with her paintings this summer.

Now that many of the dead trees have been cleared away, I have a clearer view of the mountains from my kitchen window.  About 8:30 a couple of evenings ago, this gorgeous sunset graced the skies.

And it is now the season for our wild roses to be in bloom! Oh it is just beautiful to look around in the yard and see the beautiful pink blooms everywhere!

Lots of these pretty yellow wildflowers are blooming everywhere too.

And of course, the lupins have finally made their glorious debut!  I am telling you, between the blues, yellows, pinks and white wildflowers blooming, it is truly beautiful to see.

'Ole Sal out in the yard, enjoying the nice weather, with his momma close by, although in the chicken world, we don't talk about such things, lol!

He is sure a handsome fella, as is his brother, Mr. Pepper.  They have a funny relationship.  Mr. Pepper dominates the landscape and 'Ole Sal trails behind. Occasionally there is a bit of a scrap, but 'Ole Sal just runs, and no fights ensue, for which we are thankful for.

Annie walked with me through the yard, and as I snapped a picture of the yarrow, she stuck her head into the picture :)

Mr. Simba was trying to tell me it was past his bedtime, and to let him inside.  In the summer, he sleeps all day and roams at night.  I was keeping him from finding a comfy bed inside that was cool and quiet by roaming around the yard with my camera. Cats don't fancy any business that is more important than theirs! LOL...

One of our large woodpiles of dead wood, waiting to be split and stacked this summer.

My strawberries are in full bloom, and making great progress, I expect to be enjoying my first ripe strawberries very soon.  I planted 100 strawberry plants last year, and this will be their first year of a real harvest, so it is very exciting.

So that is my update for progress in the garden thus far.  With all the beautiful blooms around me, and the happy sight of plants growing in the ground, I imagine June will slip by far too fast as well. We are enjoying every minute of the sunshine and warm weather, although we are in for a bit of cooler weather now and some rain, which will be welcome too.


On a different note, if you believe in prayer, I would ask that you pray for a couple of serious requests from two of my dear blogging friends.  Kelly-Anne who blogs at wrote a post this morning sharing how her family narrowly escaped a fire that destroyed everything in its path, including their home.  This is a precious family who loves the Lord, and who now have no place to call home.  I was amazed as I read back through a couple of her most recent blog posts, and how it seemed that the Lord was preparing her for such an unthinkable thing!

She wrote on Tuesday, June 6:

In our lives, we need to realise that we will face challenges of many kinds (James 1:2-3)....  We are not promised a life of ease or comfort, but rather of trading our selfish motives and desires to physically pick up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus (Luke 9:23).

But in the midst of difficulty, pain or trial, we need to maintain an Eternal perspective and embrace what the Lord is teaching us and lean more on Him... Our fight is not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12)...  And this is just our temporary home...

This dear girl and her large family lost everything in a fire last night, and are coveting prayers for the Lord to help them find a place to live.  Thankfully, all of them escaped, even their animals.  8 lives were lost in their area last night, but thankfully their lives were spared.  Pray for this family in the loss that they have suffered. 

And I also ask you to join in prayer for Kristen, whose story can be found here... she has a blood clot in her right lung that could let loose at any time, and is in her last trimester of pregnancy.  The doctors need direction on how to go about delivering the baby safely and keeping the blood clot from moving.  It is a very delicate and desperate situation, and Kristen and her family would appreciate prayer for them as the next few days will involve the delivery and the precarious situation of the blood clot.  

There are many other needs of dear friends and family that I could mention here, but the Lord knows them all!  Your prayers will be most gratefully appreciated for both these families, and for those families in the UK and around the world whose loved ones didn't make it home in the recent attacks.  

This world is so full of heartache, sorrow, suffering, pain, and distress.  How thankful I am that in the midst of very dark and difficult situations, that we can go to the Lord in prayer, and find strength that we need for whatever we face.  

As I spend time outside working in our yard, and garden, I find peace, solace and comfort as I work, by praying and talking to the Lord and lifting up the needs of my friends and family.  There is something quite comforting about the earth, soil, flowers, blooms, trees, skies, the sun, and clouds around me and as I lift up my eyes to the heavens, I know the Lord listens, loves, knows and cares about all these needs, and my heart is quieted within me.   

This passage in Isaiah 26:3-4 never ceases to comfort and bless my heart, and I will leave you with its message today... 

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, 
whose mind is stayed on thee: 
because he trusteth in thee.  

Trust ye in the Lord for ever; 
for in the Lord JEHOVAH 
is everlasting strength."  
Isaiah 26:3-4