Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pray for the Lost

And I mean that in a literal, physical way. A dear young man from my church is missing on Mt. Baker. Pray that a friend or rescuer will find him and save him.

I am keeping in my mind the picture of Jesus the Shepherd who persistently searches until he finds the lost sheep that he loves. I'm praying, "Jesus, save Kevin."

What rejoicing there will be if Jesus carries Kevin on his shoulders back to the family and church family who love him.

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Link

I've added a link on the right to Stuff Christians Like, which seems to be written by a likeable, intelligent guy with a good sense of humor, some insight, and withal a great love for God's people. I found it through a link on a blog by a first cousin once removed.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New plants

I bought and planted some new plants on Saturday.

This one, I LOVE. It's a contorted filbert. The picture gives some idea. It's gnarly! Around the bottom are verbena, which will get purple flowers.In the front, biggest pot, is heliotrope. I first bought this because I heard my Grandma Kok loved it. It reminds me of lilac, with the purple flowers and sweet scent. To the left in the smallest pot is a celebration rose. I have never had this before. I can only go by the picture on the label what the flowers will look like. I try a few new things every year to see if I like them. If I do, I repeat them in future years. Behind those two are ones I put up pictures of before, a peppermint and some pansies.
This is the celebration rose up closers.
This is a French lavender. I bought it because at the nursery my sister in law was holding several of them, and I could smell how wonderful they smelled from a couple feet away. I bought two. I have to get a good enough pot for the other one. The leaves look fern-like, very pretty.

Plants and more

These half whiskey barrels have impatiens in the middle and creeping jenny around the edges. These are shade-loving flowers, and the barrels are under the upper deck. The creeping jenny will grow over the edges of the barrels and trail down, and it will get little yellow flowers. The impatiens, which are "double" impatiens with rose-like blooms in a hot pink will fill the centers. I forget the official names of these, also for the shady side of the deck; the folk name is something like "stained glass windows." The leaves are green around the edges with a deep, dark red in the middle. If a freezing temperature is predicted, I'll have to put them in the shed before nightfall. Once frost danger is past, I'll put them on the cement retaining wall around the deck.
This is my view when I sit just outside my door on the sunny side of the deck.
I bought this sign to hang on the house wall above a little bench just outside my door.

Obligatory cute puppy picture

Just because . . .
. . . he's so darn cute.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Backsliding weather

The weather has not stayed as springlike as Saturday. They say that this Saturday will be 30 degrees cooler than last Saturday. I'm hoping they are wrong.

Various plants

These are the ivy and the creeping jenny that will grow around the manneken pis to hide his plumbing. Both are survivors from last year. Peppermint. Just planted the baby plant on Saturday.
The herb barrel. I took out the parsley, which had become overgrown. What remains are sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and tarragon.

Pansies and Petunias: Purples

Purple pansies in a ceramic pot. I love the center, so dark purple it's almost black, and then the little circle of yellow. Multicolored pansy. Yellow with purple veins, and purple or mauve, with purple-black middle, and again the yellow center.
The multicolored pansies viewed from the side of the wooden shoe planter.
Spreading petunias. Again, hoping that later pictures will show incredible growth. The blooms are supposed be--what else?--purple. In the middle of the barrel planter, a clay bird.

Fuchias: Four times four

Yeah, I know--they all look alike. However, I have four baskets with four fuchsia plants in each one, so here are the pictures, one of each basket.

One reason to take the picture is for contrast. I hope that later in the summer these fuchsias will be cascading luxuriously over the sides of the baskets, and it will be hard to believe they were ever this small.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


In terms of weather, Spring really arrived today. It was warm and sunny, a little windy in the morning, but in the afternoon just delightful. I bought some potting soil and potted some plants that I bought earlier this week. I do container gardening on my deck.

I used four hanging baskets I had last year and put four fuchsia starts in each, then I made two pots with pansies and one with peppermint. In a half-barrel, I put four starts of spreading petunias. I have not grown petunias before; we'll see how they do. I trimmed back some creeping jenny, and cut back a tea rose that gave forth quite a few whiteflies as I worked. I fertilized all my new plants, plus the six lavender I still have from last year, the herbs in a half barrel (I pulled out the parsley because it was overgrown, leaving sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and tarragon). The last thing I did before going indoors was spray the tea rose with vicious chemicals that I hope will get rid of the whitefly. I also kept that pot a little away from the others in the hope the whiteflies will not infest everything else.

I have motivation to plant and tend my deck plants this season, because I know that later in the summer out-of-state siblings are going to visit. I like to make the deck a nice place to hang out when the family is going to get together. Years when I know that no one from out of state is coming, sometimes I still make a nice deck, sometimes not.

They say the weather will go back to cold and rainy tomorrow. We'll see. Anyway, those April showers, they bring the flowers that bloom in May, so it's not raining rain, you know, it's raining violets.

According to Wikipedia, the violet and the pansy are the same flower, or at least the pansy is a type of violet. I never knew that. I always thought violets were some flower that grew only in England, as it is in English novels that I have most often seen them mentioned. But I guess they just call pansies violets over there, or we call violets pansies over here. So I have actually grown many violets in my day without even knowing it.

In Little Women, Beth embroiders pansies on slippers for Mr. Lawrence, and in his thank you note he says that heart's ease is one of his favorite flowers. I love folk names for flowers.

And, I often remember when considering the term "pansy," in the first draft of Gone with the Wind, and up until quite close to publication, Scarlett's name was Pansy. Can you imagine? Another literary Pansy is Isabel Archer's step-daughter in Henry James's Portrait of a Lady. In her case, the name is appropriate.

Monday, April 7, 2008

My birthday suit

This is me in the outfit I bought on Saturday. I bought it with a Macy's gift certificate from my boss, which she gave me for my birthday last week. Not too shabby, huh?

My family and I were celebrating my 47th birthday, which occurred last week.

I remember when I was teaching a few years ago, one of my students asked me on my birthday how old I was. When I told her (I must have been about 43 or 44) she apologized for asking. I don't have too much of a thing about age. I was born at the time God appointed for my birth, so my current age must be the right one for me now.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
(Psalm 139:13-18)

There's comfort.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring and the renewal of life

This week I saw my first dandelion. I think that was about Wednesday or Thursday. Since then, I've seen more. And some yellowish-green leaves are starting to come out on trees. That makes me think of the Robert Frost lines, "Nature's first green is gold, / her hardest hue to hold." I learned those lines from a movie that was out when I was in college. I think it was called The Outsiders. The boys in it were supposed to be the poor, socially disadvantaged boys in a high school, and I think one of them dies tragically. One of them, perhaps the doomed one, quotes that poem. As I recall they were played by extraordinarily good-looking young actors.

It was based on one of those books teenagers are supposed to like, all about how miserable adolescence is, often with drug use and unwanted pregnancies thrown in. I hated those kinds of books. I liked romance novels, particularly the works of Georgette Heyer. When I read, I did not care to escape into some school setting even more miserable than my own. I preferred to go someplace more pleasant.

Anyway. What I meant to say is that spring is progressing; days are longer, more flowers are blooming, trees are budding, all that good stuff.

And today I bought a new outfit and two new pairs of shoes. These are the shoes. Tomorrow I'll wear the new outfit to church. It's black pants and a black top with a white inset, so I'll wear the black shoes with it.

I really like loafers, and that's what the brown shoes are. The black shoes are sort of Mary Jane-ish, but they have a little design cut into them.

That reminds me of a pair of shoes I had in high school. I guess some trends are coming around again. Both shoes are Hush Puppies, which reminds of that song, "I got my Hush Puppies on, I guess I never was made for glitter rock and roll."

And it's good to get new clothes in the spring. It's part of that renewal thing that's going on.