“There are some things we can never really possess; we simply take our brief turn at tending them,” writes author Dominique Browning about relationships, homes, and gardens. Our children are with us for a short time. Then gone from our homes tending to own adventures in life. Remember they belong to our heavenly Father from conception on. Our homes whether you reside for 5 or 50 years are molded to suit your needs. Then you move to establish another residence elsewhere based on new needs and desires, and for some people multiple times in your lifetime. “Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there,” poet Francis Thompson writes. Gardens differ from the voluntary poppy blooming on the lakeside, a potted geranium, trays of microgreens, elaborate rows of organic beans in raised beds, to the caged tomato plants. All tended with care by the gardener and mother nature.
Jane Lewis’ song Tend Me Like a Garden defines “tending” well …
I wish you would tend me like I was a garden. Start me from scratch, babe, right from seed. You could plant me with your bare hands in the springtime. And bring me water whenever I had the need. Tend me, tend me like a garden. Love me, love me like the rain. I will give you all that you can harvest. ‘Til the first frost steals me away. Oh won’t you take me into your garden. Lie with me on this fertile ground. I will feed you with my body. And bathe you in the sunshine coming down. Tend me, tend me like a garden. Love me, love me like the rain. I will give you all that you can harvest. ‘Til the first frost steals me away. I will love you through all of the seasons. I’ll weather what the fall and summer bring. I may lie fallow in the winter. But I swear that I’ll remember you in spring. Tend me, tend me like a garden. Love me, love me like the rain. I will give you all that you can harvest. ‘Til the first frost steals me away I swear that I’ll remember you…
What relationship in your life needs tending today?
Our three bromeliads made it through the long winter in the comforts of our back bedroom, the “plant room”. At different times this room has been a bedroom for all three of my kids as well as grandkids and their parents while in transition. The room has a wonderfully big picture window with a window seat. Many plants were perched on the window seat and shelving for sunlight and shelter from winter’s cold air. The bromeliad, a tropical plant hates cold air as much as I do. We have had humid, summer-like air the past couple of weeks so outdoors our tropical plants went. The tropical have brighten up vivid green. One bromeliad is a showcase with bright fuchsia in the center “cup” or “tank”. It now sets atop a huge upside down terra cotta pot displayed underneath our white dogwood tree. “Whirly birds” I call them or silver maple seed pods have fallen like rain this spring, and the bromeliads have caught a few. I swept up a bucketful of whirly birds yesterday from the front walkway and back patio, enough to start a maple tree farm! We do not want to sprout maple seedlings inside the bromeliads. The bromeliad does not like to be sopping wet, but that “cup” needs to hold water at all times to keep the plant healthy and attractive. Our other two bromeliads are not quite as brightly colored, and even seem a bit neglected with lack of water and humidity over the winter. They must have needed more water than the other as each have a couple of babies growing from it. We will carefully remove the babies later this summer and plant them in their own pots after their mothers have some time in our Missouri humidity. They are already looking refreshed with the rains. I can see why the agriculture world refers to a plant farm as a nursery. The constant care of some plants is like caring for babies. Isn’t she beautiful?!
Some of my biggest stress relief is having a dog and a cat to come home to on any given day. Dean and I’s pets are our fan club. Unconditional love and acceptance. The other day I was greeted with the most pathetic whine from Midnight, like I was his long-lost buddy. Dean arrived home before I, and had the front window open to welcome the late afternoon spring air. I could hear Midnight when I pulled into the driveway. Some days when we unlock the front door we have a big black nose right there with a welcoming, waging tail. Other days, the black nose is resting on Dean and I’s bed. I have written about “Midnight”, our 85 lbs labrador, flat-coat retriever mix a few times, and mentioned our cat, “Celine” once or twice. At the end of our workday Celine usually meanders from the back bedroom stretching from her afternoon slumber trying to focus with her sleepy green eyes. Some days she stretches her front paws onto my leg, wanting to be picked up, hugged, cuddled, loved like a child. In the photo, Celine is awakening from an afternoon nap amongst the seedlings and other plants on the warming mats. My Dean has captured our pets in their most comical, yet common poses during or after their sleep. We have 6 “granddogs”, with the youngest “Bleu” shown in the photo. “Grandcats” are part of the family, too. Here is Pennylane, our youngest grandcat posing so cutely. Last night was another story. Thunderstorms ripped through our local area about 3:00am. Our Celine lowers herself to a crawl on the floor and hides. And our 85 lbs dog becomes a nervous wreck with each clapping thunder. He pants and paces from one room to another, one side of our bed to the other. Dean finally got up to give Midnight an herbal supplement that helps calm him. This morning I awoke to find Dean on the couch and Midnight on our bed. Guess who got more sleep?
We have at least one pair of Eastern bluebirds who have nested near the fields at Boone Hollow Farm. Wooden bluebird houses are attached to a few nearby fence posts. Natural foliage and virtually undisturbed grounds surround. They fly freely during the day, flitting about gathering bugs to feed their young while singing beautiful songs. Their predators such the night owl and coyote are heard every night. Yet each day is an occasion for song despite the possible dangers that lurk. Wildlife and nature live in the present moment, and celebrate it. This is what my grandchildren remind me with their everyday lives. They find simple joy in drawing with colors on a blank canvas of recycled paper, creating a sweet note to mommy or me, and the innocent truth they speak even in those awkward moments. Living life to its fullness. Children welcome the gift of living in this present moment, which can bring their adults to this same place, if we allow it.
My husband, Dean does this for me as well. I am a planner, and he lives for today. So sociable, affectionate, and thoughtful. Dean brings me back to celebrate this moment. Praying, journaling, and gardening take the cares of yesterday and worries of tomorrow so I can celebrate today. “There are exactly how many special occasions in life as we care to celebrate,” this Robert Brault quote says. Simple joy for the taking, everyday.
Do you want to brighten Mom’s Day? A single blooming shasta daisy bedded in a terra cotta pot will do just that! Deanna Greens And Garden Art will be selling at two farmers’ markets this weekend. On Saturday, you can find our tent at Lake Saint Louis Farmers’ Market from 8:00am – 12:00pm. Dean will be there with his smiling face and a cup of coffee at hand. Joining Dean are our lovely geraniums, a blooming cactus, hanging pots of swedish ivy, moses-in-the-cradle, asparagus and rabbit’s-foot ferns, vinca, as well as small planters of easy-to-care-for succulents. On Mother’s Day, you can find Dean at the Chandler Hill Vineyards Farmers’ Market from 10:00am – 4:00pm. Also, beautiful nature photo cards crafted by my artist sister will be available at both markets. A delicious Sunday brunch is being served at the vineyard. Come to the countryside of Defiance, Missouri for an unforgettable Mother’s Day treat! I will be at the Olde Town Spice Shoppe selling spices and sharing recipe ideas. Remember, buy local! Dean and I will join my grown children and grandchildren for a picnic at the park near the Missouri River in St. Charles for the evening. Happy Mother’s Day!
Our weekends at the greenhouse include our 81-lbs labrador, Midnight since his adoption on Christmas Day. His long, lanky legs run after the bright orange bumper I have tossed in the brushy fields 10 or 20 times. About the time Midnight gets settled laying in the sun for some rest, the farm neighbor Leo pulls onto the field road down the hill near the barn in his jeep hollering and honking his horn to announce his arrival. This scene reminds me of this children’s book Sheep In A Jeep I read to my children and read now to my grandchildren.
Midnight knows Leo’s voice, and anticipates dog biscuits and a jolly greeting from our farm neighbor. Two or three dog biscuits are tossed out the jeep window, with Midnight perfecting his catch everytime. Beer is a part of this scene as well. Leo welcomes everyone with his can of Stagg beer in one hand and a offer from his supply in his other hand. What I remember about Stagg beer is my Grandpa and great-Uncle Lloyd’s abundant supply of this beer during the family gatherings at the Bates Family Farm in Beaufort, Missouri forty or fifty years ago. I wonder if my cousins have carried on the tradition? Stagg beer must be having a comeback, because in more recent years I have not seen it in the stores or at gatherings until Leo. Anyway, Budlight is one of Leo’s offerings, as well. I can do Budlight. It seems Boone Hollow Farm has produced more than fruit and vegetables. Best buds after bumpers, biscuits, and beer …
My father’s obituary … more thoughts in a few days …
Martin K. Bates, age 76 of Bowling Green, passed away Thursday October 18, 2012, at his home. Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday
October 20, 2012 at the Mudd-Veach Funeral Home in Bowling Green, with Rev. DawnVictoria Mitchell officiating. Burial will be in the Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bowling Green. Visitation for Mr. Bates will be held from 10:00 a.m. Saturday until the time of service at the funeral home.
He was born March 10, 1936, the son of Earl Kenneth and Anna Susanna Kurz Bates. He grew up in St. Louis County and on April 26, 1958 in St. Louis, he married Darlene Hudson. She survives. Also surviving are his father of St. Charles; two sons Martin Richard Bates and wife Joan of O’Fallon, Stephen Kenneth Bates of Bowling Green; two daughters
Margaret Bates of Los Banos, CA, Anna Gall and husband Dean of St. Peters; five grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; one brother Earl F. Bates and wife Sunny of the State of Montana and one niece Julie Fait and husband Jim of Romeoville, IL. He was preceded in death by his mother,
his step-mother Paula Bates and one nephew Drew Bates.
Mr. Bates lived in St. Charles County for 43 years where he owned and operated Bates Nursery in St. Peters from 1969 to 2002 when he retired. While owning the nursery, he raised many of his own plants, and did landscaping. In 2003 he moved to Bowling Green. Martin was an avid hunter, loved his hunting dog Midnite and enjoyed training dogs. He also enjoyed woodworking and painting and sketching. He was a good husband, father and grandfather and was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal.
Serving as pallbearers will be Rick Bates, Steve Bates, Ian Bates, Nathan Bates, Benjamin Phelps and Dean Gall.
Memorials may be made to the Donors choice.
Sharing life with those who surround me has helped me grow. Like the 12-foot fig tree we pulled from the greenhouse in May. It needed to be pulled out of the ground, taproot and all in order to move to our yard while the greenhouse is being rebuilt. Apparently, it loves the companionship of our biggest,oldest maple tree as it has shot more fresh leaves in these 4 months than it had in past 4 years. This maple tree has been struck by lightening and storm winds over the years. It is bare in some places, missing branches and foliage. Kind of “bald”, and showing its age. But it provided shelter to another plant this record high-temp summer. Sharing life. So back to me. I suppose there are days I ask “why do I care?” when a reward is not in sight such as a pay raise or guaranteed friendship. Yet, I share my lfe, talents, and hard work for the betterment of my fellow man and woman. As incomplete as I am, through Jesus I am complete. The grace of God. I want to see others grow, flourish, and bloom. I want to encourage my employees to take care of themselves, and I find joy providing the tools to do so. I want my children to love unconditionally; each other, their significant others, children, and those they are surrounded with. I want my husband to know without a doubt he is loved just the way he is. I want my grandfather, parents, and siblings to know I love them, and still need them in my life no matter how old I am. Sharing life, no matter what your circumstances, condition, or age you are in, is worth it. Watch how others grow … and yourself.
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!
“For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed,” Khalil Gibran shares with us. It was a “little things day” yesterday. I awoke early Sunday morning as usual, even after 3 of my grandkids’ slumber party continued well past my bedtime Saturday night, which needs to be at 9:00pm! After perusing the yard, taking in the morning sunlight, I returned to my kitchen to cook eggs, sausage, and toast before the little ones and my exhausted husband awoke. He was up late working on the jeep, trying to take apart the layers to access any engine damage. It looks like it is “fatal” as Dean says. Shopping for a new engine now, or a new vehicle. I let my husband work on those details while I played and relaxed with the grandkids. We watered the plants and played with the hose a bit. Frisbee and the neighbors’ dogs filled up the rest of the morning. After our afternoon nap and quiet time I feel refreshed. We watched a hummingbird visit the canna blossom. We played with a bouncy ball, colored, and watched a movie. I showed my granddaughters how to propogate cuttings of wandering jew and swedish ivy. The slower pace of the children quieted my spirit, even in the chasing after my 2-year old grandson. “The dew of little things …”