Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thru the Garden Gate...to Bradley's Spring Garden

I got an unexpected surprise a couple of weeks ago when my youngest son, Bradley who is now married with children. called to asked me about how to put in a vegetable garden. My first response was, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" Bradley was the last of any of my children that I would even dream would be interested in a garden. When he was a child, every year when we were getting ready to plant the garden he wanted to know why we couldn't just buy our stuff at the store like everybody else. I told him how much fun it was to plant your own and watch it grow, how we can grow our food without all those chemicals, and how much cheaper it is to grow your own food, but all my explanations rolled across his little mind like water off a ducks back. And now he is serious about planting his own garden. (Who would've thunk it?) I've answered all kinds of gardening questions over the phone, his daddy and I went over on Saturday and helped him get the grass out of the garden spot and till the soil. Yesterday I went to the "feed and seed " to help him pick out the kind of seeds he needs. Bradley is now putting up the posts for the fence that will hopefully keep out all the critters. This fence is an absolute necessity, since the deer come into their yard by the droves, not to mention the raccoons and armadillo's. He has the entire plot laid out on graph paper and he is so excited about getting the seeds in the ground. And I'm so excited because this year I have two gardens.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Gathering Place: the porch or the fireplace

There are two places in our home in which family tends to gather. In the summer it is "on the porch" with rocking chairs and our trusty old porch swing which has been repaired too many times to remember. A dear friend, Debby, gave me that swing years ago when her family was done with it and she bought a new one. My son, who was about 15 at the time, secured the seat and painted it white once again. We were so excited to take it with us to our new house and hang it on our front porch. Our friends laugh at us because we spend any spare time we can grab "on the porch". People drive by and toot their horns and we wave, often not even knowing who it was that passed. Only those who have shared a lazy afternoon with us can truly understand the pleasure we get from our porch. It is here that dreams are shared, problems are solved, and bonding with family and friends take place.

In the winter our family tends to gather around the fireplace. It offers a warm respite for frozen hands and cold feet. On a Sunday afternoon we grab the pillows from the sofa and snuggle up on the floor by the fire for a nap. The crackle of the fire, the smell of the smoke and the sounds of family laughter will conjure up memories for a lifetime. It took me several years to convince my husband to disconnect those fake logs from our fireplace. But I finally did it. He was happy to have a break from cutting firewood. However, now I think he realizes that fire logs just aren't the same. Even the process of splitting wood and loading it hold some precious memories for him and our boys who are now grown and teaching their boys to haul wood. At Christmas time I always cover the mantle of the fireplace with garland, twinkling white lights and huge red poinsettias. In the spring and summer my husbands great grandmothers teapot hold a place of honor there in the center of the mantle. And during the march winds and in the fall when the hurricane season brings the breezy days we can still get a whiff of the ashes that were left in the fireplace as the wind sweeps in a downdraft through the chimney. This is such a pleasant reminder that days by the fire will soon come again.