EarthDance Farms is a non-profit organization that grows farmers as well as organic veggies and herbs. I participated in their freshman program last growing season. This program is what spurred my husband and I to purchase a greenhouse and created Deanna Greens And Garden Art. The farm is in the heart of the urban culture of Ferguson, Missouri. But while farming in the middle of a field, you feel like you are miles from the next neighbor. The female staff at EarthDance Farms are featured in a recent article “Organic Farming Attracts Women”. Please read about their adventures. http://magissues.farmprogress.com/MOR/MR07Jul12/mor008.pdf magissues.farmprogress.com. Here is a EarthDance Farms photo taken at the Ferguson Farmers’ Market, as urban and farmer you can get at one time. Visit there one Saturday morning! http://fergmarket.com/
This past Saturday I prayed for good sales as they have been petty the past couple of farmers’ markets. No one is in the mood to see another plant die in this summer heat. So we focused on indoor plants, and the people loved our jades! Answered prayer. We had littler jade plants in small terra cottas or vintage pots.
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At dusk the sunset shown scattered slivers of pink while driving to St. Charles County from Pike County. It reminded me of the sliver of pink on my father’s cheeks Grandpa pointed out while he and I visited Dad last evening. My 97-year old grandfather had not been able to make the 1-hour trip to see his son for 7 weeks due to the summer heat wave and car engine malfunctions. We made this trip possible especially this week. Hospice care seems to think this may be my father’s last week. The two, father and son greeted each other with gladness in their hearts and faces. Something I will never forget.
It seems wrong for a father to say “goodbye” to his son, no matter how old you are.
Their last words “You take care, son.” “See you later, Pops!”
Good bye is not forever … Thank You, Jesus for eternal life!
I felt a whisper of refreshing air last night while in the screen house repotting succulents into darling little vintage pots … maybe? Early today I stood by the opened patio door to hear the morning greetings of our feathered friends, and I felt the air change. Yes, autumn is around the corner! Every year for over 40 years, I have said those words “I felt the air change today”. I grew up watching the weather and hearing about it from my farmer father. He would read the Farmer’s Almanac, have a weather ban radio playing in his office every morning, evening, and on occasions of severe weather threats. Mostly I remember the feeling when a shift in air direction and the front would roll in with clouds and sometimes rain with it. And then the refreshing change. Awe! Autumn in 4 – 6 weeks, and saying goodbye to sizzling summer. My oldest daughter remembers these words well, too. Rachel wrote a poem about these words, her mother saying them, and autumn. And we chatted today about those words …
The woods begin to vibrate with gathering and preparation.
The sounds so crisp, electric.
Her words were “I felt the air change today.”
Red, orange, yellow, green, brown.
They dance while falling.
A choreographed waltz.
Every year she said “I felt the air change today.”
Beautiful, breathtaking, loyal.
I think I felt the air change today.
This summer our fiddle leaf fig trees have shown much growth being outdoors under our shade trees with this Missouri humidity. Their leaves are bright green and shiny when they first leaf out. Our biggest one will not fit inside the greenhouse structure any longer. Its tap-root was pulled from the grounds of the greenhouse’s original site in May, and has grown another 3 feet since. It is the companion to one of our maple trees in the backyard. We will repot the “jolly green giant” and look for a buyer with a cathedral ceiling as it will not survive Missouri’s winter. I have grown to love our overabundance green foliage in the front and backyards. Wishing I lived at Hilton Head Island, SC or Savannah, GA where our plants would have a chance outdoors year round. But then again, I love Missouri’s autumn colors and spring’s growth and renewal from the frozen earth. Missouri has the four seasons, some shorter than others. This year, it has been a long summer. The day will come any time soon when I can say “I felt the air change today” in anticipation of autumn. More on that in another post …
The rains came twice over the weekend! It was like a miracle! And with it came cooler air, more like normal summer temps, low 90’s. We loaded our plants into the van in the wee hours Saturday morning, to make it to the Lake Saint Louis Farmer’s Market. It was storming, but I kept at it in my rain poncho and Dean with his hat. Our plants seemed happier, as well as their gardeners! Later, I trimmed sun-scorched branches from some ferns, and moved them to more shade under the dogwood tree. Sunday we repotted plants. Our tropicals are gigantic, growing as long as they have water in their roots. They thrive in this humidity. Dean & I met at the front porch on several occasions this weekend. We watched the storms come in and shared porch meals. The green ambiance allows conversation to flow. The electronic devices in the house don’t have that skill! Our hearts mesh when surrounded with nature. Whether camping, walking in the woods, and sitting on our porch bench with lovely greenery and birdhouses surround, life is simpler with plants and birds. At least, most of the time!
“Time, you left me standing there
Like a tree growing all alone
The wind just stripped me bare
Stripped me bare
Time, the past has come and gone, gone
The future’s far away
An hour only lasts for one second, one second
Time without courage, time without fear
Is just wasted, wasted, wasted time
Oh, oh, oh, ooh ooh ooh
Time, why you punish me?”
These lyrics from Hootie and the Blowfish’s song “Time” keep playing in my mind tonight. This post is continuation of my thoughts in my last post written 5 hours ago. I cried when I walked upon that boat dock at Island Lake last week. I felt my father’s spirit with me, though in body he could not be there with me. Valhalla was Dad’s favorite place to do his favorite thing, fish. Such an appropriate name. “Valhalla” is the Viking’s heaven after he dies from warfare. My father has been fighting such a battle. Dad’s days are running short. He is dying of brain cancer, and I keep thinking about his life. Dean & I visited his father, my 96-year old grandfather last evening. Grandpa Earl tells us stories of his childhood and my father’s childhood. Yet he is cognitive enough to ask about his oldest son, my father. A copy of a photo arrived in the mail today from my cousin. A 1945 family portrait of my Grandpa Earl, Grandma Anna, Dad, and Uncle Earl. Mom called this evening on the way home from work. A hospital bed is being delivered to their Bowling Green home. Yes, the bed my father will be in when he passes from this life. God, I am so thankful for my father, Martin Kenneth Bates. He has been strength to this family for many years. And now we are his strength. He will be with You soon. And I will miss him greatly. I do not want pain for him, just Your peace, comfort, and rest.
My Dean & I so enjoyed our stay at Valhalla Resort on Island Lake outside of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. It was a peaceful vacation, time to slow down our pace. Our stay included meals with friends, walks, swims, and fireside chats with tales of old. Friends shared stories of our childhood sparking laughter one after the other. One evening turned into a 1:00am departure from the dwindling campfire. A night owl called to us, or maybe he was talking to the rabbit hiding in the bushes. Bugs chirped. All dogs and cats had long since retired to their favorite beds. As Dean & I walked to our lakeside cabin, we saw the Milky Way. The Big Dipper shone so brightly in the clear northern sky. It brought to memory my father sitting a boat nestled near the dock for that particular summer night, telling a young audience how to tell time from The Big Dipper. My friends recalled this, too. It seemed like yesterday … Dad seemed to explain it so easily that we understood it. Here are a few web links on telling time with the stars: http://www.johnpratt.com/items/astronomy/telltime.html, http://www.av8n.com/physics/star-time.htm, http://www.physics.ucla.edu/~huffman/dtime.html
This record breaking summer heat and drought is making for miserable working conditions for Missouri farmers. Dean & I are a part of the local agriculture scene, though we farm more for organic promotion, recreation, and creation purposes. For the farmer who is required to be outdoors all day and everyday, it is disheartening to see your crops dry up and wither in the sun. My friends at EarthDance Farms as well as all the local farmers cannot seed any more carrots, beets, and beans for a fall crop because the earth is rock hard, and the seeds cannot germinate without rain. I miss my favorites: purple haze carrot, candy cane beets, and tender bush green beans! Please pray for rains, several rains for Missouri and our neighboring midwest states. We need God’s divine intervention. Deanna Greens and Garden Art’s tropicals and houseplants such as bird of paradise, hibuscus, banana trees, spider plants, red leaf philodenrens, arrowheads, rabbit foot ferns, and asparagus ferns love this heat and humidty as long as they are under our shade trees during the day and have plenty of water. We water everything twice a day when it is over 100 degrees, which means almost everyday for the past 6 weeks! Our oldest daughter took care of the plants, cats, and house while we vacationed in cooler Minnesota. We were so thankful for a much needed break! Now onward to the Saturday markets and the rebuild of our greenhouse.