Posts filed under ‘Nature’

The Garden as a Lesson in Growth

A few days ago I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian about lessons in gardening.

Read the first bit of it here:

I’m teaching my granddaughters who are 4 and 6 about gardening. It’s an ongoing lesson. They enjoy helping me plant and giving the plants a drink. I’m sure they’d be like me, as a child, if it was a large garden, dreading the long rows, but ours are much shorter than the large garden we had on the farm.

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posing by the garden with her own tools

The garden teaches about growing. After sowing seeds, we look forward to seeing those first shoots poke above the ground. The children are gentle with the tender small plants that we set in the ground. They know that water helps the plants grow and so they love to get out the watering can and help it along.

 

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Watering buckets can be heavy, but she’s strong

 

Read more here.

June 14, 2016 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

Our Garden Grows

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I had some help again this year in planting our vegetable garden. You might say I’m training the next generation, engaging them while they’re eager to help me, but they’re also enjoying it.

At Easter, I bought both girls their own gardening tools, a set in blue and one in green, a shovel and little rake. The girls were excited about finally using their tools and liked digging the holes for the plants and pressing them in the soil very gently.

We planted tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, a neat specialty lettuce and herbs (basil). And we planted the morning glory seeds too.

 

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Of course we posed after the work was done so we could show the results. And we watered the holes and put the plants in after, because it was such a hot afternoon.

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The watering bucket is heavy when it’s full, but she’s strong.

 

 

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After all that work, we need to sit under the umbrella and have a cold drink.

 

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And we’re happy that all this work has been done.

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Making time for a bit of fun. We love to blow bubbles together.

 

 

A mere few weeks later, with sunshine and rain, our plants and seeds are growing.

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Morning glories need thinning. I think every seed sprouted.

 

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Transplanted mint is doing well.

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Zucchini has blossoms

 

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Cucumber plants are doing well too. One little girl will be very happy about that.

 

 

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And tomatoes are doing well too, growing straight and tall. One little plant needs setting in some pot yet.

 

Let’s see what a few more weeks of sunshine and rain (or watering) take the garden.

 

 

June 10, 2016 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

I love spring

 

When the snow recedes and the flowers come up and bloom, that’s the thing I like best about spring. A couple  of times, I thought spring had finally made it, then we had more snow and  ice in our northern hemisphere. Overall, the plants held up, even if a few blooms  didn’t make it.

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Although I don’t have a crocus bulb or snowdrop in my flower beds, I do have narcissus,  paper white hyacinth and grape hyacinth. The narcissus are done now, but those little grape hyacinths are still blooming, sprinkled all over the garden, wherever they choose to grow. I took a bunch of those out, but left some here and there because I like them.

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And then the flowers really began to bloom—grape hyacinth springing up between the purple phlox

 

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the spring-pink blossoms on the uva ursi arctostaphylus

 

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hyacinth

 

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white phlox

 

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then the multi-hued tulips I love

and for the visual effect of many put together… and some trimming that still had to be done on old growth
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tulips next to the thyme

 

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a bright bunch of those colourful tulips

 

 

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My front garden with a marker where new bulbs will sprout next spring. Bulbs from the pots of flowers given to my father when he was in hospice that he wanted us to plant in our gardens to remember him. And we will, of course.

 

There’s a good part of my garden. It’s a work in progress, and of course there are more beds and they too will change over the seasons. More for another day.

 

 

photos by C. Wilker

 

 

May 17, 2016 at 7:02 pm 2 comments

A Women’s Retreat

Could it be two weeks already since our women’s retreat. I look at my planner and it most surely is. Last year our retreat was cancelled when the church camp was closed for the winter and until May. Our retreat, originally Mount Zion Lutheran Women’s retreat, is always held in late April and has been held at Camp Edgewood at Eden Mills, ON, for many years. This year we were in for a treat because we were at Stone House at Hidden Acres near Shakespeare, Ontario.

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We ate, gathered and learned in this building, and the accommodations were good too. We had time to explore the camp in free time as well, so we weren’t indoors all the time.

Our theme for the weekend was “Seeing God in Surprising Places.” We arrived early evening on the Friday, unpacked our gear and food contributions, dug out our Bibles for worship and greeted each other. It had been two years since our last gathering so it was good to see each and catch up on what’s happened in others’ lives. Among them were two newcomers to the group, and they came with musical instruments.

Friday evening’s questions for pondering included these questions:

What’s the dream/project or vision you feel called to in this time of  your life?

What is one tangible part where you can start where you are?

In small groups we talked about seeing God not only in church, but also in the community and where we’re asked to serve.

A really interesting question that we carried with us in our conversations for the weekend:

Where do you see assigned seating?

In the world there is assigned seating, but in the kingdom of God, there is not.

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Saturday morning, we gathered again for discussion and worship. And we changed our seating arrangement often that weekend.

 

As women, we  are called upon for many roles. We’re often wives, mothers, sisters, care givers. Add in work commitments and we may be business owners, employees, and in my case, a writer too. We often have many identities. We talked about identities that we carry around.

Some of the questions we were asked included: Which ones need to shrink? And which ones need to grow?

Pastor Anne kept adding on layers of questions for us to discuss in our small groups: When does one identity fight for prominence (my own words) over another?

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Pastor Anne Anderson, our spiritual director for the weekend, handed out nesting Russian dolls for us to open  until we reached the smallest one. The last one was indeed very tiny.

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Most dolls of this sort that I’ve seen before were similar to this one, where all the dolls are modelled after women and they get tinier and tinier as we open up one layer after another. I had never seen the kind that housed different characters within.

One question on Saturday morning for us to ponder on our own:

If Jesus could talk with you personally today, what is the message he would give you?

Consider that question any time and come up with your own answer.

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We followed the discussion about identities with an activity.

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some of our results

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After lunch we did a craft directed by Helen Weber. Here’s one example of our journal and jar with journal topics.

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We ate, we laughed, sometimes cried as we shared things in our lives, knowing that what we said in confidence in the group stayed there. We enjoyed each other’s company. During spare time, we went outdoors for a walk and enjoyed nature.

 

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One of the other buildings at camp

 

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A new person to the group. We sat on the swings and chatted. We both love to take photographs.

 

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And some of the time we just sat and visited.

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Here are a few questions that we contemplated that you can too:
Where do you encounter God?

How do we celebrate who we are? And how do we live that out in a diverse society?

 

May 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

Is winter going out like a lion?

It took a long time for me to understand about seasons going out or coming in like a “lamb” and “lion.” Is it for real?

If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.

Sandi Duncan, managing editor of the Farmer’s Almanac explores this saying. She asks if there’s any truth to the saying and states, “Weather sayings are as colorful as our imagination. ” She closes by declaring that the saying is “more of a rhyme rather than a true weather predictor.” Then she offers a few more of those sayings to consider. You can explore it further in her short article..

Pondering what happens, I think about the metaphor. It might come in like a lamb, that is gently. That it just slips in or out without any fuss. Or does it have to “roar in” like an angry beast, that is like a lion, and make people take notice. That may be the case for this winter that’s been rather unusual and at times quite dramatic.

This week we had an ice storm, one in which the rain and freezing rain coated branches of trees, driveways, and all the little flower buds. Yesterday as we drove across town to our family Easter gathering, we noticed ice-coated branches lying on the ground under their equally ice-laden trees. Deejays on the radio declared that hydro crews were concerned about power interruptions once the ice on the lines starts to break off. Indeed, the ice falling from the lines nearby startled me when I was out taking pictures and some people were without power for hours, including members of our own family who came to our house to warm up and have breakfast.

In spite of the dreary skies and broken branches, the freezing rain left behind some rather interesting sights in my garden and other places once the sun came out.

 

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bearberry submerged

 

 

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last season’s stems of gaillardia

 

 

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a crystallized arc of bearberry

 

 

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frozen daffodil stems

 

 

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It even froze the water coming out of the downspout mid-pour

 

This may well be the last of winter, now that one hint of spring has already shown itself. I’m hearing and feeling that we’re ready for spring to come to stay.

 

 

 

 

Photos © by C. Wilker, unless otherwise noted.

March 26, 2016 at 12:23 pm 2 comments

And the weather changes– again

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Sunday morning we woke to snow and today the snow is still there. The tree branches were coated  and snow lay in the hollows between the branches too. And snow lay on the ground, staying this time instead of snowflakes that melted on landing  the day before. My granddaughters were excited to see the snow. For them it means tobogganing, snowmen and making angels in the snow, not to mention skiing since they live near a ski hill. We have a photo of them in their full snow gear that their mother put up on Facebook the same day. After all, we’re in Canada.

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bits of my garden plants peek out from the snow

 

It seems we’ve moved into winter quite suddenly. The air is clear and striations and clumps of pinkish white cloud hang in a bright blue sky at this hour. Snow sits on the lap of evergreen boughs until a wind comes along and shakes it off, scattering the snow like a tiny windstorm of snowflakes.

Like the kid’s hide and seek game that I play with my granddaughters, we say, “Read or not, here I come.” And so winter says this to us, “Here I am.”

 

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The snow may melt later in the week and return again. After all it is late November, and we have nearly a promise that outdoor rinks may have a tough go this year. A mild winter may be the case, as the newspaper article declared, but we’ll see. Weather people have been proven wrong more than once before.

 

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Last evening when I drove to our daughter and son-in-law’s home to pick up my husband, who’d got their furnace going, I noticed their crescent was rather icy and so I took my time walking from the car to the house and back. The furnace was running again and the house was warming up again. They were ready for the cold night and we had a safe drive home too.

 

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If you’re not ready for winter yet, time to pull out the snow boots, mittens and hats. Get the snow shovels ready. We’ve already used ours.

 

What do you like best about winter?

 

November 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Last flowers to bloom

I’ve been meaning to do this for days and today I finally got to it. Taking photos of the last flowers of summer. Most everything else has died off or was looking a bit droopy, although there are still a few gaillardia in bloom, but the wind was rustling through them, making it hard to take photos of the last few newer blooms. Considering that Collingwood and Blue Mountain had some snow last Friday when I was there, we may not be so far behind, but then again, maybe being two hours south, we’ll have a bit longer. Even the parsley next to this plant is still green.

 

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My pink carnations, three still blooming. It was a bit windy so the plant was swaying.

 

 

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No flowers on this plant anymore but the leaves of the scented geranium, green in summer, have turned to red. The flowers were a delicate shade of pink and they smelled wonderful. Not strong, but a gentle scent. We have two of those plants.

 

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Michaelmas daisies, among the last to bloom in summer, are still hanging on at the more sheltered side of the house.

 

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The big plant up near the edge of the flowerbed, still hanging in. Still looking good.

While the plants are winding down, leaves are still falling from trees, making a carpet to walk on and people are raking leaves to the curb for pick-up. Leaves that were blown to the backyard are in the composter getting ready for spring mulching, and the rest of the garden material is on the garden already breaking down to add nutrients to the soil for next gardening season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm 2 comments

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