Category Archives: neighbor

Making Way For Spring Colors

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Household and yard projects ruled the weekend.  Dean and I managed to get a couple of walks in with Midnight between chores.  On Saturday Dean cleaned and prepped the concrete slab for the laminate flooring to be installed this coming week in our house addition. While he did that I raked twigs and leaves, remnants of autumn and winter.  The winds seem to blow the gum balls and pine needles from the neighbor’s trees our way. Cannot complain too much as these neighbor’s trees attract an owl that lives in the neighborhood.  All the brown rubbish filled the compost bin, and then some.  So that is just the front yard.

The back yard is one huge mess with the room addition project. The yard needs to be leveled and new grass seeded.  Dean and I picked up huge tree roots and rocks unearthed from the foundation dig up.  We continued discussion on making a small retaining wall, a rock swale, and small patio area.  Piles of gray and brown sit curbside for the city’s bulky trash pickup this week;  twigs, limbs, scrap lumber  and old pipes.  Seasons.  Making way for spring colors.  Greener grass; purple, pink, and white blooms; and the perennials being brought outside from the semi-heated garage one warm weekend before Easter.  See what the March winds bring until April.  Welcome Spring!  So happy you came Today!

 

 

Halloween Eve At Boone Hollow

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I love celebrating autumn!  At Boone Hollow today Dean and I gave a helping hand to our farming neighbors with planting a field of garlic, over 2,000 cloves.  Can you imagine 2,000 bulbs of garlic next June?  With this extended autumn season, I picked an abundance of arugula, lettuce, and herbs to share as I am still using what I picked mid-week.  We finished this lovely Halloween Eve with a wiener and marshmallow roast with our farming friends.  Ghouls and goblins have

visited the house. Halloween is creepy, but the Presidential Election is scarier!  Gratitude for the right to vote instead of dread is what I pray for. I am reminding myself this as I write, to practice thankfulness today and everyday… not just reserved for Thanksgiving Day.

 

Almost Home

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I had a deja vu  moment this past weekend while walking down a neighborhood street to the auto part store with my Dean and our Midnight.  During our brisk walk I approached a view unforgettable from my childhood.  An old brick house, the grandmother’s house of a farm family I grew up with just down the road from my childhood home and tree farm.  I was 12-years old again and at the place where I knew I was more than 1/2 way home from the old town ball diamond where I played softball.  On occasion my sister and I would walk to ball practice and our games.  It was at least a 2-mile walk one way, and required us to cross over the interstate on a cross walk. Considered a summer adventure, not scary.  Over 40 years ago, my hometown St. Peters, Missouri was a farm community. Everyone knew each other, and for the most part everyone was trustworthy.  That cross walk was torn down a few years back.  But if it was still usable today, would I let my 10-year old or even 14-year old granddaughter walk that distance to ball practice from home and back again?  I would say “no” as this community has greatly changed in size. We do not know our “neighbors” like we did back then, and who knows about the interstate traffic and travelers.  The world has changed its character.

“Almost home” is like those familiar places and people.  Thankful for, content with. The rental house has been a temporary refuge for us, almost home.  But home and family is where we are meant to be.  All my senses clearly see, smell, hear, touch, and taste its warmth.  The pine wood and painted walls smell fresh, clean, new.  These colored walls are awaiting our human presence. I hear our birds chirp near the front porch in the maple and dogwood trees. And I feel the crisp new bed linens and quilt to my skin as I lay in my bed along side my husband. This weekend we will be moving our personal items back to our renovated home. And our hearts come with. Living minimally has been refreshing like the aromas of fresh wood. Dean and I vow to continue this.  As I wrote a few weeks ago, “’Home’ is where you lay your head, and share your heart and blessings with your family…” no matter the structure or belongings.  The Books of Matthew and Philippians in our Bible say, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” and “I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content–whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.”  My prayer for each of us, we know that God our Father provides for our every need and that we each are content with His provisions.

 

The Stories, The Secrets, and The Heart

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God, we each need You to make us “as pure, as white as snow”. None of us are without sin.  People throw the stones, yet the person doing the castinJapanese Maple in Snowg have a few secrets they would like no one to know.  No one is exempt from the stinky secrets.  And if you think you are, then help and support the person who is not perfect rather than casting the stones. If the truth be told, the stories go like this … your married colleague had an emotional affair with the boss, the brother-in-law, the postman … or did it go further?  God knows.  Or how about the man whose wife caught him having an internet affair on a porn site?  Or the real live children and women exploited on the web, many unknowingly, secretly photographed by perverts?  Guarantee there is a story behind how these photo subjects got there.  One could hear the gossip of that neighbor or co-worker, yet never ask for the truth.  The gossip just spreads until the truth is marred.  How about the assaults that happen on campus, at work, or even in homes with more threats to follow? Bullying can happen among families as well.  What about the unloved wife, what the Bible labels an abomination?  Her husband wants to have an “open marriage” despite their marital vows to purity.  Or the spouse who cleverly justifies their spending addictions?  How about your battle with a spouse’s drinking problem, or yours?  Or the woman whose husband refuses to provide for his family, sits at home in depression, poor and pitiful?  Or the relative battling with an addiction to prescription pain killers, or the person living with constant pain because they cannot afford a doctor’s care?  A secret eating disorder or gambling problem?   The stories go on … Don’t have to look far for the faults of your brother, but how about fixing your own?  If you still think you are exempt, then pray for the rest of us, please.  God, through Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit make us “as pure, as white as snow” in 2016.

The Spirit of The Season

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The spirit of the season is seen with the vibrant autumn leaves, pumpkins, and gourds. As the day succumbs to the night sky, our solar mason jar lanterns along with our grandkids’ jack o lanterns give an amber glow near the front porch.  With the soaking rains ceasing and fairly mild eMason Jar & Pumpkins Aglowvening temperatures, we greet lots of trick-or-treaters while at the fire pit set up in the driveway. Dean and I kept warm while handing out sweet treats. We later retreated inside to excited grandkids with sacks full of candy. 

This month is one devoted to thanksgiving.  Gratitude fills my heart and tummy for food on our table.  I am thankful for the ability to grow some of that food, as well as the ability to support the local farmer and grocer.  I am thankful I have the ability to work aGratitudend have a job to work at.  I am thankful to God, my Creator for His Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that guides me
each day of my life.  Without God the spirit of the season would not be here. He gives abundantly and much more than I deserve.  That is called grace.  Grace and gratitude does turn what we have into enough, enough so we can give to others in need of a warm bed to sleep in and provide nutritious food to eat.  Listen to your neighbor, co-worker, and family member.  One of them may be just the one who needs grace right now.  And you and I are just ones to be God’s abundance to them.

Happy May Day!

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Hermann Missouri Maifest dancing
The first day of May, May Day was met with the chilly wind and overcast sky in Missouri. Don’t you picture children and women dancing around the maypole of ribbons with flowers on their heads and in baskets? Whatever happen to the old tradition of leaving a May basket of goodies and flowers on your neighbors’ doorstep? The good ole’ days! We could use such gestures to return. Maybe a tradition for me to keep alive. Next year I will gift someone with a May basket. Shhh! It’s suppose to be a secret! It may be you! This celebration has many variations, with the original celebration dating before Christ. Pagan in nature, with Christian influences along the way. The German origins of May Day supposely came when St. Walburga brought Christianity to Germany, and it is referred to as “Mai Day”. The old world picturesque town of Hermann, Missouri still has a MaiFest celebration every year.
May Day was also a day to celebrate for the laborers, as most seeding was completed by May 1. This year of 2014, farmers and gardeners are challenged by this date. Farmer Dave on the 550 AM radio program said this morning that only 45% of the United States corn crop is in the ground already. This cold air lingering around does not help matters, and for others the drenching rains keep the farmers from completing their seeding. A group of farmers gathered for the first Thursday farmers’ market of this season in Clayton, Missouri this afternoon. I am excited to have them just down the street a 1/2 block from the building I work in. I will patronize them every Thursday after I finish my day at the office. Tonight I baked some fresh organic kale sprinkled wth olive oil and kosher salt. My recipe is on the What A Dish page of this WordPress blog. RampsWhile at the farmers’ market, I picked up some ramps, a wild variety in the allium family. Some refer them to “wild garlic” or “wild leek”. These are an Appalachian delicacy that have made their way into upscale restaurants more recent years. My ex-husband’s family was from West Virginia, where ramps were skillet fried with potatoes and eggs. The house smells like ramps for days afterwards. Veggie season is in! This locavore is so excited!

Snuckered In

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SnowflakesThe midwest blizzard and subzero temperatures have Dean and I snuckered in the past two days. Recovering from an upper respiratory infection, the cold air has kept me inside with hot herbal tea, fresh baked scones, fragrant glowing candles, and the love of my husband to keep my body and soul warm. Home is the place to be. Business comes to a halt as most offices are closed. We can choose to be stifled or set free. Cannot deny the snow is so beautiful, perfectly white. Snowflakes patterned a glittery shooting star on the kitchen window. Neighborhood Eurasian tree sparrows discover our cedar wreath blown under our wagon as a shelter. The berries fed our feathered friends. Photos were captured with Dean’s new digital camera. And then our red adirondack chairs contrasting with the white. The sunshine and wind cast everchanging shadows with snow drifts. Cannot wait to see the photos. “Photography… it’s the way to educate your eyes, stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop …” St. Louis born photographer Walker Evans has been quoted. We did not have to go for a hike in the country today as our home’s window panes framed the wintery scenes.

Visiting Critters

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ButterflyAs we frequent the greenhouse more often with our watering duties, I wonder about our visitors to Boone Hollow Farm and Deanna Greens And Garden Art greenhouse and screenhouse. What critters are there when we are not, or hiding when we are there? Ticks, bees, and dozens of bugs make an appearance at every visit. No deer seen yet by Dean and I, but we see their prints. The neighbor farmer has crops chewed on. A couple of weeks ago I placed my large planters of geraniums outside to greet us when we drive up the dirt road to the greenhouse. No signs of deer eating on them for a snack none less dinner. While in the screenhouse this week, I found a baby copperhead snake, with its shedded skin just inches from him. He wiggled his tongue at me, and I quickly hollered for Dean’s assistance. Relieved I had my muck boots on. The baby toad Dean found earlier would be this slicky guy’s dinner if we did not get him outside as far from the screenhouse as possible. I will share our plant space with frogs and toads, but not snakes. Sorry Slick. And keep your brothers out, too! Butterflies flutter about and bees buzz from the hives our neighbors have. Always good to have natural pollinators with plants. An owl starts hooting about 4:00 every afternoon. In past posts I have written about coyotes and I believe, Chuck the groundhog. God is the Creator of all these critters. So what do these critters think of us? Is our dog, Midnight, Dean, and I invading their homes? What prints are we leaving in the countryside? Maybe Midnight, Dean, and I are the visitors at Boone Hollow Farm?

My Friday Family Adventures

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Tornado
So this Friday is like so many of my days, filled with family adventures. Early morning we are greeted by my son-in-law asking to use our van to help a mutual friend move his bee hives. Big bee hives, and the trunk of a car would not suffice for the task. Of course, use the van, put gas in it, though do not leave any bees in it. Remember we will be loading the huge van with plants later tonight.
The morning goes along with a telephone call from my younger brother while at work, asking if we had found out if we can sell Grandpa’s snake-skin belts and jewelry at the farmers’ markets. A few days ago I told Dean about this request, but I had not heard whether we gained permission to include my grandfather’s handmade snake-skin crafts at our tent. But I will follow-up with this. The next question my brother ask, “Would you like to donate your body to St. Louis University when you die?” He asked this with no hesitation, like he was asking if Dean and I can come over for dinner tomorrow night. Now, I have to take a few seconds to think why he is asking this. With my pause in reply, he interjects that this is what our 97-year old grandfather is doing, and what him and Uncle Earl have discussed doing as well. “Would it be neat for the university to do genetic studies on the Bates Family?” Steve says. “I am going to ask Rick and Marge (my other siblings), too. And maybe Rachel and Elisabeth (my daughters) will consider doing the same?” So it takes what seems like 5 minutes to respond, probably more like a minute. “It’s a good idea, and I am open to it. I always thought to donate an organ to science after I pass, but I need to consider what Dean wants when I pass. I will ask him.” Dean and I discuss briefly on the commute home from our jobs, “no immediate answer, we have time for this decision,” I add.
Then Mom calls late this afternoon asking about the weather-stripping for the front door. It appears what we installed this winter caused a suction when it rained earlier this week, that she could not get the door open. Great, she is trying to sell the house. We will be up there to take care of this weekend or on Wednesday when we assist her with her move to the villa 1-1/2 miles from our house rather than the hour’s drive we currently have. Mixed feelings altogether there.
We get home to eat a quick dinner my chef son-in-law prepared, fried fish, mashed potatoes, and a tomato-mozzerolla salad. Dean and I needed to get to the greenhouse as soon as possible as a large cell of violent storms was on the way. Dean checked http://www.wunderground.com, and it was in Warren County, one county west of us. Onward to the greenhouse to pick up a few plants for the Saturday morning farmers’ market. The radio said a tornado had been sighted in Franklin County, one county southwest of St. Charles County. Probably 30 minutes from us. The earlier rains had the ground soaked already, so we parked the van just past the barn. Dean and I quickly walked up the hill, gathered armfuls of plants, each making 3 trips back and forth. By my last trip back to the van, the sky was an eerie green with a black cell right in the middle. Lightning flashes bolts bright, and the heavy rain starts. Our Charlie Brown spruce tree was in full glow with the solar lights like it was nighttime already. It was only 7:15pm. The van radio told me a tornado warning was issued for St. Charles County, and a tornado was sighted in Defiance. Wonderful, we are in Defiance! I guarantee that black cell I saw had a tornado in it! Dean arrived with his last armful of plants, promptly loaded them in the van, and backed the van up in a hurry. We slide off the gravel road right into the slippery clay mud. That van kept sliding towards the rushing creek! Inches from it! Dean tried pulling forward, and we were stuck. Dean and I tried gravel, wood planks, and prayer. We were not going anywhere, especially when Dean accidentally locked the keys in the van. Thank God the engine was turned off! Flash flood warnings came over the weather band radio in the barn. I asked my husband to call our landlord, to see if we could start the tractor to pull the van out. No keys were available, with the landlord in another county over. We asked for the farm neighbor’s telephone number. We called my son-in-law and this farm neighbor. My son-in-law got to us with our spare van key and a smile in his voice within 30 minutes. Our rescuer! The farm neighbor was not home, 30 minutes away but would try to get to us. Dean rocked the van back and forth shifting in reverse and back forward. Mick and I pushed with all our might. A wood plank shot back and hit my ankle. Bruised, swollen, and sore but no cut. Thank Jesus. Rocking back and forth for 10 minutes, the van was out of the muddy mess onto the gravel road. Shovels put away, barn light turned out, and we all managed to cross the creek to the safety of a paved county highway. A call to the farm neighbor to say we were out of our predicament. Reports of a huge tornado touching down in the local towns of Weldon Springs and Harvester, Missouri wiping out multiple houses came over the radio. Cannot help to think we were stuck in the mud for a reason, to avoid being in the path of that nasty tornado. A muddy mess and sore, we all three were, but safe in our house now tonight. Yes, my family adventures never end. Sometimes like the whirlwinds I experienced tonight. Peace I sense. Gratitude, I have family to help when we need it, and to be with on this stormy night. St. Louis University is not ready for me yet. Stay tuned, another chapter of our family life on this blog, maybe with Dean’s family.

A Weekend Day In My Life

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I had so much fun putting together a few words and photos for the WordPress “Day In My Life” photo challenge yesterday. That post focused on my weekday life. Please read that post: https://deannagreensandgardenart.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/a-day-in-my-life/
My weekend is somewhat different. I am not focused on employee wellness, but plant wellness! I want to share another small collection of words and larger collection photos to describe my other life. To simply say “green” describes my weekend day. “Green plants” to be exact. I love plants. I grew up with them, and cannot live without them. A few other essentials are identifying bugs; a walk to the greenhouse over the creek after visiting at the barn with the farm neighbors; herbs to make my dishes taste delicious; and lemonade, to make life sweet!