The Garden in Winter

Hello Everyone!

I’ve been away most of this month on an exciting — read: frustrating, glitch-riddled, nail-gnawing, hair-tearing — adventure of putting together a manuscript for publication. The result being that — ta da! — the allegory HARI & RUDI IN THE LAND OF FRUIT is now a published work, available on Amazon in both print and e-book format. Saturday evening, with the author’s go-ahead, I hit the PUBLISH button and by Sunday evening both formats were LIVE. (See cover and details at the bottom of this post.)

There is so much to learn in this “amazingly simple process.” (Much thanks to son-in-law Ken for all the fiddling needed to produce super front & back cover graphics!) However, we plowed through and are rewarded with a listing on Amazon. Which brings up another issue: how to get reviews for the book. Amazon is clamping down on what they call “solicited reviews” — you can’t get all your friends to post five-star reviews — and the company now only accepts reviews from people who have spent $50 on Amazon in the last year. As I said, so much to learn!

I won’t go on about this…maybe someday I’ll share more about the process, the lessons I’ve learned and glitches that came up. Right now I’m turning my thoughts homeward — and my home needs some thought by now! Plus, it’s high time to do another blog post.

I see that The Ragtag Community Daily prompt word is GARDEN and I’m going to respond with a couple of haiku scribbled in haste. Maybe not the greatest verses but they definitely reflect what we’re seeing outside these days. February has been extremely cold and during the past week a lot of snow has fallen over our yards and gardens. Not to complain; we prairie folk will always take more snow.

Snowed under

banks of snow blanket
a garden there once was
sweet dreams, gardener

the garden of my mind
blooms with many floral scenes
growing mound of notes

Border circles (3)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feb 13 19 ebook cover -1

Hari and Rudi, two teens in Lancashire, England, skip school one morning and happen upon a houseboat that’s been docked while the owners go shopping. They decide to explore the boat and have far more adventure than they want when the craft comes loose from its moorings and carries them down the river and into a whirlpool. The boat breaks up and the boys are about to be sucked down to a watery death when they are miraculously rescued and facing an adventure of a far different kind.

Waking up in a strange country, they meet the first of many beings representing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They begin their allegorical journey through this curious land; they see Jesus and witness his death on Calvary; then, with the help of Joy, Peace, Love, Patience, Goodness and other fruit of the Holy Spirit, they learn important lessons in Christian life.

Sharing the Blooms

We’ve reached that time of year when our outdoor flowers are looking rather weary. The petunias in my planters haven’t frozen yet, but the sensitive marigolds around the edges wilted at the first hint of frost. Their brittle leaves don’t add much to the esthetics anymore.

I know we’ll have to start pulling up and tossing soon, but we’ve enjoyed the colorful display this summer and I was happy to learn one evening that we were sharing. At dusk I was standing on the deck when I noticed a hummingbird moth in the petunias, zipping from bloom too bloom, enjoying the sweetness of my flowers. I’ve seen it half a dozen times since — one evening I saw a smaller version, too.

Thinking of sharing good things, I found this little story somewhere and will share it with you, hoping this thought will inspire you, too, this morning.

A lady who was a great lover of flowers had set out a rare vine at the base of a stone wall. It grew vigorously, yet she saw no blooms. Day after day she cultivated and watered it to coax it into bloom.
One morning as she stood disappointedly before it, her invalid neighbour whose back lot adjoined hers, called over and said, “You can’t imagine how much I have been enjoying the blooms of what you planted!”
The lady who owned the plant looked, and on the other side of the wall was a mass of blooms. The vine had crept through the crevices and flowered luxuriantly on the other side.
So often we think our efforts are thrown away because we do not see their fruits. We need to learn that in the service of God our prayers, our toils, and our crosses are never in vain. Somewhere they bear fruit, and hearts will receive blessings and joy from our efforts.

–Author Unknown to me

The Comfort of A Garden

IN THE GARDEN

by Edgar Guest

I sometimes get weary of people
and weary of being polite;
I sometimes grow tired of the dull man,
and sometimes am bored by the bright.
And then when my nerves are a-tingle,
I walk in the yard that is ours,
And I thank the good Lord for the comfort
of songbirds and blue skies and flowers.

I never grow tired of the martens
which circle about overhead;
I never grow weary of robins —
there is nothing about them I dread.
I smile when I see them returning,
I sigh when at last they depart,
and perhaps it’s because they are never
vindictive or petty or smart.

And the trees don’t expect to be talked to.
I can lie there and dream in the shade
and not have to think up an answer
to some dreary question that’s made.
So I often slip into my garden
when I’m weary of hearing things said,
and thank the good Lord for my roses
and trees and the birds overhead.

.Walk-edged-daylilies
From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

My Response to Fandango’s FOWC prompt: COMFORTABLE

A Cordial Welcome

OH, FOR MORE HOURS TO WRITE!

Good morning to everyone reading this post — and I’d like to say a special hello and welcome to my newest Followers. I appreciate everyone who takes time to read my posts and hope I can provide content that interests and inspires you.

As you can see from the Menu above, I am a creature of many moods and hop all over the board with my topics and genres. And since a number of bloggers have stepped into the role of Prompt-provider left vacant when The Daily Post moved out, I’m getting half a dozen new suggestions every morning. (If you’re interested in checking some of these sites, you’ll find the links in my BLOG ROLL under Writing Help.)

Oh, for more hours in a day! — the universal cry of mankind with stuff to do. However, I don’t want to flood my followers’ In-boxes with posts; I suspect most of us don’t have nearly enough time to read blogs as it is. I know I don’t. And summer always adds extra things to my to-do list — including just being out there enjoying it. 🙂

One of the things I have on my plate today is a sewing project. I wish I loved to sew. Think of all the lovely clothes I could make for myself!

OH, FOR MORE FERVOR TO SEW!

I did love to sew years back. Now it’s a very moody thing for me: when I’m in the mood, I enjoy sewing. Otherwise it feels like a mountain I have to — and don’t want to — climb. I’d rather be reading! Do you have any things like that in your day, things you know you MUST do — but then you just hate the task if only because you HAVE TO do it?

Once in a great while, however, the urge to sew comes upon me and I’m enthused, eager to start. So I act upon it, praying I’ll get whatever it is I’m sewing finished before the mood passes. And right now I’m enthused about whipping up a lightweight cotton dress for the summer.

And I’ve been rewarded! First off, because I’m working out a new pattern, designing it on paper first, adjusting it for my particular size — and it’s coming together nicely. When you’ve had breast cancer, it isn’t always easy getting a pattern to fit well.

My second reward came yesterday as I was sitting at my machine pinning pieces together. I’d opened my widow and could hear the twitter – twitter – twitter of the swallows in the nest outside, above and just to the left of the window. It dawned on me that all that noise must be the babies getting active. I looked out and sure enough, two baby swallows were trying to poke their heads out, fussing like siblings do when both want the window seat.

Finally one pulled back and the other took a gander at the big world outside — and saw me through the screen looking up at it. For a moment we both eyed each other, then I went back to my sewing. Soon, soon, these little guys will be out exploring, or lined up along the clothesline just below the nest. I love this time of year!

OH, FOR MORE MOSQUITO-EATING BIRDS!

We actually have three active nests of swallows tacked to the house, and a pair of barn swallows who’ve made their own nest in our yard. We’ve been very hospitable toward swallows, since they eat mosquitoes by the ton every summer. After this summer I’m going to be even more so, because I’m reacting so much to mosquito bites these days. I get huge bumps that itch for almost a week and often leave a scar when they finally subside.

Yes, our welcome mat is out to all swallows. And wrens. I’m really enjoying hearing wren songs from various spots around our yard every morning. And on that note I’d best end this ramble and get back to my sewing before the mood passes again.

🙂

RAGTAG Daily Prompt: HOSPITABLE

Mini-Showers of Blessing

robin larger
American robin

“Oh, for the showers we plead!”

When I looked out my dining room window first thing this morning, I saw a robin hopping around on the lawn, foraging, and immediately a song popped into my mind:
“There shall be Showers of blessing
Oh, that today they might fall!”

This was because Mr Robin was poking around in the circle left by the sprinkler yesterday. I could almost imagine him waiting and hoping for the shower to start falling again, as it did all afternoon yesterday from our little round sprinkler. The local birds were in raptures as they fluttered about on the edge of the circle. Our lawn is rather dry and patchy on the east side of our trailer, which meant a few little depressions between the tufts of grass were catching the excess. Small birds flopped into these and bathed to their hearts’ content.

Out here on our acreage our water comes from a well shared with several families, so we don’t water our lawn very generously. Our poor grass has to make it as best it can through the summer. And with the lack of rain these last two months, the sloughs around us have about dried up, so the birds are happy to come and enjoy the blessing of showers under our sprinkler. Robins, goldfinches, siskins, and yellow warblers are our most trusting bird visitors, but even the odd oriole was popping down from the nearby woods and spending some time in the cooling spray.

We have a forced-air, water-cooled radiator. In simple terms, our trailer is cooled on these hot days by circulating cold water through our furnace pipes. A fan blows this cool air into our trailer and our sprinkler is the outlet for the pumped-out water.

Walking across our yard I see small white flicks as tiny hoppers spring out of my way. Too bad the birds don’t eat them! We’re going to have a good crop, looks like. We’ve just come through a wet cycle, almost ten years cool, rainy springs, which decimated the grasshopper population — thanks be! But give us a few dry springs like this and they’ll be thick again.

Scott Bailey’s one-word prompt for today was Native and the Daily Addictions prompt word today was Abundant, so I’m covering both in this short description of my native land, the western plains or “short-grass prairie.” The soil right where we live, on the Canadian Soil Map, is classed as “dune sand”— sandy straight down. Water doesn’t lie long on our yards and fields; we never get gumbo or greasy mud after a rain. But the water table is quite high here, thanks be!

Our most common native tree is sage or silver buffalo berry — Shepherdia argentea; you see it in every pasture. And chokecherry bushes. Poplars and willows spring up anywhere where a ravine or large slough collects a summer supply of water. And of course the first settlers planted trees, especially during the years of drought. This land really blew once it was broken by the farmers’ ploughs!

I checked the thesaurus for synonyms of ABUNDANT, which were ample, bountiful, generous, liberal. Well, we have not had abundant rainfall. In fact we’ve had precious little this month.

Dark rain clouds blew up Sunday afternoon and we thought we might get something. But we only felt a few sprinkles and the clouds blew around us to the north. When we gathered at church Sunday evening we heard that folks north of us got 1 ½ to 2 inches. My next-door neighbour laughed and told the blessed recipient, “Well, we’ll know where to come in fall when we get hungry.” Last night there were storm clouds all across the western sky and a storm definitely rolling in. But, again, it rolled around us.

Interestingly enough, other synonyms are : enough, sufficient, adequate. (Which goes to show how elastic our English words are.) Nevertheless, I’d best not complain because the crops are green and growing, not heat-blasted and parched. Which means that though we haven’t had any outpouring, there’s still sufficient moisture for our needs — and water in our well for us and our bird friends.

Yellow warbler fc option
Yellow warbler