Autumn Ready

A few weeks left of summer … welcome Autumn! I am ready, and over the past few days, I have enjoyed a few cool days and nights around here. It has motivated me to do a few things around the porch, transitioning seasons, as well as a delicious meal using what we have collected from the veggie garden, although it hasn’t been much this year due to the hot and dry weather.

My husband made this sign for me from recycled wood. It is what we named the place. Plenty of crows around here year round.
Even during this downpour they are enjoying themselves. No other birds around playing in the rain.
Across the road, what looks like a portal to another world/dimension.

Gardening was challenging and not bountiful this year, and many plants are done by now, hence why transitioning to autumn is a natural next step for me, as there seem to be less chores around here for some reason. There were fewer cuts of grass; it just wasn’t growing fast, but my husband was happy about that I guess. In the meantime, there are a few projects that are up in the air, waiting to be done as time and money allows. I will share a few here. Hope you enjoyed this post.

The Day I Had a Tiny Glimpse of God’s Love

It happened on New Year’s Eve, years ago. My husband was in the living room and we were about to watch the New York ball drop on T.V. (No, we were not drinking). It happened in a matter of seconds, very fast but very profound. As I stood in front of the kitchen sink, about to finish up and join my husband in the living room, suddenly, I was hit with an immense feeling of joy and love like I had never experienced before. It engulfed my whole being. I felt as if I was part of the entire universe, of everything that surrounded me, even the material. I was everything and everything was me, but all of it was engulfed by this immense love, unlike anything else. I heard this voice in my mind, but not audible, just present in my mind, and apart from my own thoughts – “Hold on to the feeling,” the voice said. In an instant, I was back, and I could not explain what had happened. A very small part of that feeling remained in me for the next couple of days, almost like a side effect. I kept thinking about the voice – “Hold on to the feeling” – but I could not recapture it. The greatness and oneness, the immensity of it is hard to explain with words, even today, as I recall the experience.

Much later on, that memory helped me through a very rough time. I knew that I was never alone. I don’t know why, or how, but I think that I was given a tiny glimpse of God’s love and oneness that day. I don’t think that my being would have been able to take all of it; it was sublime, supreme, great and indescribable. Today, I think about that day, and I share it here with the hope that it speaks to anyone who might be feeling alone, unloved, or unworthy. That it speaks about how much God loves us, and His immense kindness and care. You are not alone, God loves you, and you are valuable to Him. The entire planet seems a big giant ball of twine these days. The events happening around the world might be overwhelming to some people; I know these have affected me, however, even when I cannot recapture that feeling today exactly, I reminisce of it, and know that I am not alone, and neither are you.

Photo by M.A.D.

Whispering Wood

Sometimes, you just don’t know what pieces of wood are going to tell you. The other day, I was looking through some pieces of scrap wood that my husband saved for me to use in future projects. I came across a couple of pieces that whispered to me what they wanted to become. As soon as I looked at them an image in the wood grain appeared; so I listened.

This piece of wood was telling me a story, one of a seaside landscape, and happy summer days at the beach. If you look at the wood grain, it is almost painted there.
It became “Seaside Dreams.”
The second piece of scrap wood spoke of babbling brooks and mountains, of days in the wilderness. I listened, and a little house appeared at the mountain base. Soon, I was there.
It became “In the Wilderness.”
Here the wood is whispering of a place far away.

It became “Mountain of Hope.”

You never know what wood is going to whisper, might as well listen. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Life Goes On

Everywhere we look, there is life going on, even at the microscopic level. Spend a few minutes outdoors and look around. From foliage to tiny critters moving around and about, our existence is full of life; isn’t that wonderful? I have been observing a Mama Bird caring for her babies for the past three weeks or so, and I have avoided using the side entrance so I would not disturb them. At first, I thought there were two abandoned nests in each of the flower pots hanging at each side of the entrance, although one of the nests seemed as if it was started and left halfway through undone. It is a shady and cool area, and I have not been able to grow anything on those pots despite several attempts, so this year I placed artificial flowers inside. I noticed that the halfway done nest disappeared and the other one seemed bigger and fuller. I assumed it was being built, and the nest material was being used, so I let it be. Later on, I would see Mama Bird flying back and forth, and chirping; later on, I heard a few chirps but did not want to go near the area in fear that I would scare the birds. On Saturday, I did not hear anything, or see any movement, and on Sunday, I discovered an abandoned nest. Wanting to preserve this lovely memory, I sat down and attempted to paint the flower pot with a few watercolor pencils I have around.

The nest is behind the artificial foliage.
My rendition, although I did it by memory. I thought the flowers were purplish and fewer, and the pot ornament is the one on the opposite flower pot, which have fewer flowers. I guess age creeps on you.

It was relaxing, and I preserved a beautiful memory. I used to draw and paint when I was a kid, and for some reason that I cannot recall, I suddenly stopped. As a young adult, I tried to get back to it but was hesitant for some unexplained reason that puzzles me and I cannot comprehend. In my late twenties, I even bought an easel, several types of paints, and other materials but always felt something stopping me, and it all sat waiting for me to pick it up. I carried the stuff from place to place. On my last move, I got rid of 70 percent of my stuff, but for some reason, I could not let go of the painting materials. I had attempted a few drawings and paintings, on and off, but It wasn’t until a few years back before my last move that I started, and I pushed myself to paint something, despite my “hesitation.” It has been very diluted and sporadically, rudimentary, but I am feeling a bit more at ease with it. I cannot recall why I stopped, or anything negative associated with painting or drawing, other than a teacher in third grade making a big deal in front of the class because I painted blue hair on a coloring book. Another teacher telling me in class that it wasn’t me who did the drawing on a novel we were reading in 7th grade (we were supposed to draw or paint a scene), even when it was all me. So I have no clue as why I stopped painting suddenly, but I intend to keep on painting something from now on, and enjoying it. For some reason, it feels as if I picked up where I left off. No Picasso here, just the joy of it. Life goes on in ways more than one.

Of Critters and Paint

Nature never disappoints. I was able to capture a few images of some visitors. It has been hot and dry around here, the garden is growing slowly, even lettuce is taking its time. I do what I can to provide these visitors with some comfort, a birdbath always filled, small plates of water for ground critters, and areas in the garden for them to enjoy shade. Here are a few of the visitors.

I am not sure what kind of bird it is, but the colors are beautiful, and it is a larger size, larger than a Robin. The first time I see this bird around.
Bunnies have not been around as much as other years, neither do turtles, or snakes. I am not sure why.
Crows, Ravens, are a plenty around here.
BEFORE -The wood around the garden was in need of painting. I had leftover paint, so it was a quick an easy job, under an hour. We have been painting what needs to be, keeping up with time.
AFTER – The wood is shiny and bright again, at least for a couple of years. $$$Tip – If you want to save on garden wood/logs look at discounted wood, usually found on pallets around the garden section in home improvement stores, or the rough cuts in mills. This is how we did the entire perimeter of the house. Once you paint or stain it, the wood will look great and will last long.

Next project will have to be one that just popped up – fixing the hydrant, which has been leaking, unbeknownst to us. It requires digging, so it will be a learn as you go project. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate it!

Pledge of Allegiance

Around a Homemade Garden – Farmhouse Project

There is plenty to do around here; never a dull moment. We armed ourselves with motivation to tackle a short list, mostly things that have been waiting – installing a window a/c for when the heat becomes unbearably dangerous, weeding out the garden, trimming bushes, planting corn again (something plucked all my corn plants, one by one), caulk porch columns, and do some minor painting retouches. The caulking and the painting had to wait because of rain that never showed up during the day, but poured at night. We will tackle those later on. However, I was able to do a quick and easy project with left over materials – a bird/critter feeder, and my husband was able to work on something for his trail project.

The bird/critter feeder was something that I thought of buying but instead I decided to give it a try by using some recycled items – old metal cookie plate, leftover 2×4 wood, and foam planter bottom. It was quick and easy, and it works – zero cost. We gave the wood a coat of paint. The planter bottom serves to prevent weeds and to keep it clean around the base. My husband drilled small holes on the metal plate for draining the water when it rains. Eventually, I might plant some flowers at the base. Could not have been easier.

Homemade bird and critter feeder.

My husband decided to make a sign for the lighted trail entrance. This is a project that he started last year, will be time consuming and hard work, but he is obsessed with it, and will work on a small part of it when he gets a chance. My vision for it was two 4×4 poles with a wood beam across and a burnt wood sign in the middle, but he wanted to go the more natural and less expensive route, and use the trees already there; after all, it is his project, not mine.

This time he added a simple homemade sign. He plans on having two more entrances and an exit.

There is always time to admire favorite plants, and this garden has come a long way from the morass of abandoned overgrown vegetation it was.

Can you guess which Calla Lily is not real?
Love the color of this one. I leave the bulbs throughout the winter; they come back, and the plant comes back stronger and fuller. This is the third year.
Another lovely color.
My favorite shade of blue.

We will continue to add to this garden; it has been a labor of love. I hope you enjoyed this project.

Common Ground

Realizing that we are more alike than different does not come easy, especially when everything around you is telling you the opposite – news, financial status, social media, protests, our own views of the same … Sometimes, one thing, one incident, something you heard or saw, reminds you that in the end we all want the same things. We want to be loved and love, we want to be safe, we want to prosper, we want joy and happiness, we want a happy home, we want to be fed properly, we want to have fun, we want to help others and be givers, we want to care … Sometimes, in the pursuit of those same things we become boulders in the path of others, and in the one to our own journey. Sometimes, it is so hard to understand one another, but what makes it a bit easier is realizing that we all want the same things. In illuminating our own road, we can also be a light for others.

Photo by M.A.D.

Around the Garden – My Favorites

A few of my favorite glances this year.

Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.
Photo by M.A.D.

Search for beauty wherever you can find it; it appeases the soul.