Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Manna and Tomatoes

     Having a garden is a marvel.  I step out the door, walk twenty steps and palm a ripe red tomato or I wander the rows eating tender green beans like candy as I admire the beauty of all those growing things.  In July, the seeds I planted in May are showing a promise of abundance.  I run to the house, first tomato in hand to share with Joe, and we slice it reverently to eat with just a little salt and pepper.  Or we strip the silk from those early ears of corn and drop them into the pot that’s already boiling and stand over it drooling in anticipation.  
     But in September, my humble garden has morphed into an an overachiever.  It used to offer tomatoes shyly, nestled below green leaves.  Now it dangles them brazenly in the sun.  It hammers me with abundance.   “Come gather beans now!” it screams whenever I step into the yard.  And the flighty corn, so vibrant in its youth, is now pale and whining about the load of ears it carries.   
     We eat tomatoes for breakfast, tomatoes for lunch and tomatoes for supper.  I’m even tempted to hide them in dessert.  I have made and canned tomato juice, whole tomatoes, tomato ketchup, tomato soup, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce and salsa.  I have gathered, de-silked , shucked and cut five buckets of corn.  I have pulled and dried a bushel of onions.  I have picked, snapped and canned twenty quarts of beans and still the garden throws vegetables at me in reckless abandon.
     I always feel overwhelmed at the end of the growing season.  Longing for the garden to cease and desist.  But then, I notice that there are no more green tomatoes on the vines.  There are no more bean blossoms.  There are no more baby cucumbers.  The corn rustles dryly in the wind. The garden is shutting down.  And, I after longing for such a moment am sad.
     When the Israelites wandered in the dessert, they cried out for food and God gave them manna.  They ate it three times a day for forty years.  I ate tomatoes three times a day for a month and whined about it.  Children in Africa would eat them gladly for as long as they could get them.  I have much to learn about gratitude and abundance.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spring Cleaning

     With fall fast approaching I find that I am feeling rushed to complete my spring cleaning.  “What?” you ask.  “You haven’t finished your spring cleaning?  Spring is long past.”  You’re right spring is long past and I haven’t even started my spring cleaning.  There, I’ve said it out loud.  I am a spring cleaning drop out. 
     Over the years, I’ve tried to get excited about moving all the furniture out of a room, cleaning it side to side and top to bottom, and then putting it all back.  After all, Livvie Walton and the girls certainly seem to have a lot of fun when they do it on TV Land.  My problem is that when I start something, it usually brings to mind something else that I need to do. 
     For example:   To start my spring cleaning, I  prepare to move the  blanket chest in the living room out to the porch, but realize it’s really heavy,  so I open it to see if there’s anything I should remove.  As I am sorting through the contents, I find a blanket that would look really nice on my couch, so I pull it out and drape it over the back.  But now a quilt, that’s folded in a basket, doesn’t match so I carry it upstairs to put on the shelf with the other quilts, which are stacked beneath a coat that needs some buttons.  Hmm… It won’t take me but a minute to sew those on.
     So, I get the coat and the buttons, but the blue thread is not in my sewing box.  I walk downstairs to look next to my chair and notice a great magazine article about spring cleaning, so I sit down to read that.  Maybe I can get some tips that will make me more efficient.  When I finish the article, I find the thread and head back upstairs.  Once the buttons are attached, I take the coat in to my child’s room, which is really dusty.  I can’t leave it like that.
     Back down the steps I head to get a dust rag and some dusting spray.  Might as well dust the whole downstairs while I’m at it.  Downstairs dusted, I climb back up and dust the upstairs.  Then I notice that the screen to Scott’s window has fallen out onto the porch roof, so I squeeze through the window to retrieve it and, while I’m there, I see that the chickens are in my garden.
     I run down the steps, out the door and through the yard, waving my arms and hollering at the renegade hens until they fly over the fence and hot foot it back to the hen house.  On my trip back to the house, I notice that the lawn really needs to be mowed, so I get the lawnmower, gas it up and trim up the yard. 
     When I finish that chore, I’m thirsty so I head to the kitchen for a glass of water.  The clean glasses are all in the dishwasher which I unload.  As I’m unloading, I notice how messy the cabinet where I keep my plastic-ware has become.  I sit on the floor and sort through all the different size bowls, trying to match them up with lids and discovering that I have 40 lids that no longer have mates.  I toss those, which fills the trash can, so I take it out and dump it.
     I stand for a moment admiring the beautiful spring flowers and that’s when I remember.  I am supposed to be spring cleaning my house.  But, now it’s supper time.  I’ll finish tomorrow. 

     After supper, I sit down in my chair.  Why am I so tired?   I didn’t get a bit of spring cleaning done.  The trunk in the living room is still standing open and, as I reach over to close it, I notice a stack of pictures that need to be sorted and placed in albums.  I’ll do that as soon as I finish my spring cleaning.  Which I might finish this fall…if I don’t open that trunk again.