Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge - April 5, 2017

1. April is Lawn and Garden Month. On a scale of 1-10 what's the current state of your lawn and/or garden. (10=a showpiece, 1=send in the professionals). Tell us about any lawn or garden plans you have for this month.

Probably a 5. The yard was mowed before the Fall so the grass is at a good height and I mowed the front gardens under the pine trees - so they looked nice during the Winter and we can see new growth in the Spring.

Part of the front yard with the pine trees that
Sophia and Olivia planted a few years ago.
They were about a foot high when they were planted.
There are five larger pine trees behind these smaller ones.

The east and west pastures are maintained by the horses who keep the grass evenly-trimmed.
Olivia is on the swingset with Bailey watching her.
The east pasture (where the pine trees are) is the east pasture.
The vegetables gardens were all cleaned before Winter and are ready for seeds and transplants when the weather is warmer. The strawberries are starting to emerge.

Emerging strawberry in Sophia's garden.

A couple of the rhubarb plants also are growing.

A tiny rhubarb leaf in my garden.

There are areas that I would like to work on: the butterfly garden that has a lot of milkweed plants, yellow lilies that my Dad gave me, a shrub rose, and tea rose. There are other perennials in there.

Six years ago (in 2011), there were pathways and a pond
in the butterfly garden.

However, it's overgrown and the pathways that I once made aren't visible. There's a pond that we had put in the garden, but the pump doesn't work. I'd like to get that working again this year.

Well, this is certainly a disaster of a garden.
This is what happened in 6 years.
It's at a point of needing to start over from scratch.

So, like the butterfly garden, there are little pockets throughout the yard and pastures that need improvement and maintenance.

2. "Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there."~Thomas Fuller  What does this quote mean to you?

The first thing that comes to mind are positive character qualities and skills that come with gardening: dedication, hopefulness, generosity, nurturing, and planning.

Memories also are things that grow in the garden that we never plant. As I look out at where vegetables gardens used to be when I did a farm and art camp here, I can still see children, teens, and adults learning, working, and playing there.

Olivia planting one of the gardens in 2011
with onions and beans.

I see other gardens where I taught Sophia and Olivia how to transplant flowers; and how to spread milkweed. Sometimes they pick up the pods in the Fall or Spring (if they've stayed in the dried pod that long) and will lift them out and let the wind carry them away.

Sophia spreading milkweed seeds when she was young.

That is something we used to do when they were young - in preschool and early elementary school. They remember. It has become part of who they are and what they do.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought unusual snack chips that had a variety of root vegetables that were quite colorful (e.g., sweet potato). One of the vegetables was taro. I couldn't remember its name off-hand and had said "yarrow."

Sophia said, "What? Yarrow? That can't be. That's a type of flower that we have in the garden."

Someone was listening a long time ago. I don't even remember the last time I talked about yarrow.

3. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?

I thought of my parents immediately when I read that question. My Dad was an ordained Deacon in the Catholic church. By profession, he was a social worker. As he neared retirement, he felt a calling to become a Deacon.

My Dad had originally wanted to be a priest and went to seminary for a while. He felt, though, that he wasn't meant to a priest and should pursue another career and life. Yet, there was always something within him about wanting to serve the church.

Back to becoming a Deacon....For several years, my parents attended classes together so he could be ordained. Their faith and relationship grew during that time.

Together, they did a tremendous amount for the church and its parishioners. My Dad did baptisms, marriages, and funerals. He assisted with Mass. He even did pet blessings around the Feast of St. Francis.

My Dad is to the left wearing his alb and stole.
People have gathered on the Feast of St. Francis to
have their pets blessed.

My mom - along with a couple other ladies - started the Angel Quilters. Together, along with more women, they made thousands of quilts that were donated to those experiencing homelessness, women affected by domestic violence, and/or were people of all ages who were involved in a natural disaster or fire.

Two of the ladies from the Angel Quilters and a husband
loading some of the many quilts that the seniors made.

An important part of sewing and serving others, was gathering to share a meal; praying for one another as well as those in need of prayer; and developing friendships and support with one another.

My mom with the Angel Quilters in April 2012.
The ladies would work on the quilts and
enjoy a treat together each month at my parents' home.
(My Mom is the one on the right side of the picture
wearing a navy blue top.)

My parents opened their home to people from the church and shared many meals together inside their home, and in the backyard overlooking the lake.

My parents' backyard overlooked Bass Lake.
This was one of many sunsets that we enjoyed.

When my Dad died, some of the Deacons from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese and their wives (if they were married) came to my Dad's funeral. There was a section for them to sit together that was behind us and to the right.

Deacons on the altar at my Dad's funeral.

We had picked songs that were sung during the Deacon training and that were meaningful to my Mom and to them.

Hearing their voices in unison combined with beautiful piano music still - to this day - is comforting and inspiring.

So...a long-winded answer...yet one that brought back good memories for me.

4. If we were chatting in person, how would I know if you were nervous?

I would have trouble finding the words to express myself and perhaps have trouble making eye contact.

5. Do you like the color yellow? Would I find any in your home or wardrobe? Daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lilies, black-eyed Susan...which yellow bloom on this list is your favorite?

Yellow, to me, is a cheerful color. Our family room and my home office are both painted yellow.

A picture from China that was hand-painted.
Literally. The artist used his hands and fingernails to
paint this picture with black ink.
The yellow wall is in the family room.

I do not wear yellow clothes. Most my clothes are black or navy. I have a couple dark purple, green, and red sweaters. Otherwise, my clothes are dark.

Any of the flowers listed - daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lilies, black-eyed Susan - I enjoy seeing, and have grown here at the farm at some time.

My favorite picture of Maggie with a yellow rose.
She was the only cat who liked to fetch mini-marshmallows and
eat them as she held them with her claws.

If I were going to pick one of the flowers, I'd pick daffodils for their brightness and sign that Spring has truly arrived.
Daffodils at the Dayton's/Macy's flower show in 2013.

6. Flip flops or bare feet?

Bare feet. That piece on flip flops that goes between the toes is uncomfortable for me.

7. Tell us about any Easter plans, celebrations, or traditions you'll carry out this month.

Sophia wants to learn to make sugar eggs this year. I made a sugar egg when I was in junior high. I had it for many years. When we had an exchange student here from Brazil, I taught her how to make one. She still remembers making it.

Sugar Eggs.

So, this year I will pass along another skill to Sophia and Olivia. I'm looking forward to making and decorating the eggs.

We also decorate eggs. I've asked the girls if they want to do any patterns or embellish them in any way. Nope. Just plain colored eggs are what they enjoy doing.

A highlight for us is gathering as a family for Easter dinner. We've had a special Easter dinner since I was a child.

Sometimes the crab apple tree was in bloom at Easter...and other times Easter came a bit too early to see it in bloom.

The crab apple tree at my parents' home in full bloom.

My Mom would decorate the crabapple tree with Easter eggs once she had grandchildren.

The last year we did the Easter egg tree (in 2013)
we put some eggs on the crabapple tree like she would have done.
(She was unable to do this on her own.)

This year, my brother is hosting Easter. He's never hosted Easter before, so this will be new for us all.

Normally, Olivia and I make a lamb cake.

Lamb cake with Olivia when she was 5 years old.
(April 2008.)

This year, Sophia saw a video about how to make a Geode cake. So, she'll be making that for dessert. We'll also make a couple of other desserts for those who don't like cake.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

This year I've been focusing on decluttering by doing the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. Also started the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this month and decided to go through my homeschooling files.

It's been a great way to get rid of papers I no longer need or want; discover things that I had forgotten about and are bringing back good memories; and plan the upcoming year for things I want to do (referencing each file so that they are used at some point and don't just sit there unused like they have been).

So far, I have done four posts:

A is for Alphabets and Alphabet Books
Bears, Bread, Books, and Bodies
Cats, Character, and Chinese Inventions
Death, Deer, and Discovery Gardens

I'm looking forward to the end of April when the files will be streamlined and I have significantly more room in them. Only the information I will use will be in them which will be nice.


Suzanne McClendon said...

Good luck with your decluttering project. I am working on the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, too, along with a 60 Things in 60 Days Challenge. Some days I take out a lot and some days none, but I think it balances out in the end.

I have trouble making eye contact when nervous, too. Really in general because I am very shy in "real" life.

I don't like that flip flop toe thing either!

I'm sorry about the loss of your dad. I lost mine in 2012. We never get over such a significant loss, only through it and with Heavenly Father's help. It sounds like your folks were sweet people and very giving.

Have a blessed day!

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Instead of sitting her at the computer I should be decluttering. Love the pic of your daughter and the lamb cake. Good luck with the eggs this weekend!

Nonnie said...

I failed on the 40 days and bags, although I did get rid of quite a bit of unneeded stuff. Your daughters are precious. So sweet when a HP question stirs up old memories. Very pleasant.

Debby Ray said...

I think very much that I would love your yard! I love milkweed...the blooms, the bees, the butterflies and then in the fall, those wonderful seed-filled pods and wispy fly-aways!

Joyce said...

I didn't sign up for the A-Z this year. I felt like things were just too busy here at the moment to commit. I miss it, but am traveling some so it would be hard to link with the new format. Good luck with your posts! I've never made sugar eggs, but they're so pretty. Have fun with that project!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I love yellow, it is my favorite color. I don't like the thing between the toe either on flip flops. I'm a Birkenstock girl. Your random has you very busy right now!!!

Pamela said...

Great Hodgepodge. Lovely to read about your Mom and Dad.

Mrs.T said...

Loved reading your answers today. Hope you can bring the butterfly garden back to life. It sounds wonderful. I've thought about making one of those for a long time as we do have milkweed around.

I thought briefly about doing the A-Z. But I know I wouldn't have been able to keep up with it. I do post daily some months, but it just wouldn't have been feasible at this time.

David E. McClendon, Sr. said...

I think growing a garden is one of the most life altering things we ever did. The first year we planted corn, we were amazed and proud. There is something one cannot explain about how a successful crop of corn makes one feel.

In the movie For Richer For Poorer, Tim Allen plows a field and plants corn. He is incredibly proud of the outcome. I think one of the best things we can give our children is an opportunity to grow a garden, at least once in their lives.