weekend getaway

We had an unexpected adventure over the weekend… a few days out on beautiful Dale Hollow Lake. IMGP1552My sister and her family had rented a houseboat for the weekend but my brother-in-law was suddenly swamped at his work and couldn’t spare the time to make the trip down to the lake. Since Eric and I live so close to the lake, my sister thought we might be able to make use of their reservation so she offered the houseboat rental to us. Our answer was kind of a no-brainer. I mean, really… what would you have done? Even though we still had to pull off a harvest and market, and prepare all of the livestock and chickens for our couple-of-day absence, we figured the extra effort was well worth the hassle. 

We were right. It was a lot of work to pull off our escape but oh, so worth it! The lake was absolutely gorgeous. The water is so clear and deep, and the lake is so big and meandering that it is fairly easy to find a secluded bay to have some privacy, which is precisely what we did. I was so happy to find that the TV on the boat didn’t work, and that cell phone reception or internet access just wasn’t an option. Blessing of blessings. It was just the lake, the boat, my family, and a whole lot of fun. The boys spent a fair bit of time fishing, Opal and I knitted and knitted, and we all swam and played and had a grand time.  I think we just might have to make this adventure into an annual tradition!IMGP1619IMGP1597IMGP1590IMGP1585IMGP1576IMGP1572IMGP1615

Thanks, Cassie and Denny! The weekend on the boat was fabulous! much love from all of us… 

right now :: strong small things

There’s this spiderweb. It’s there in the doorway of our tool shed each and every morning.  The web is large and well made.  Each and every day I appreciate it’s beauty. I look to see what it has caught.  I even duck to avoid it the first time I go in to grab of scoop of chicken feed.spider 2

It is inevitable that in the course of the day the web will be messed up. But the spider re-builds each and every night.

I just met the builder.  It’s this tiny little spider.  I’m amazed, and even a little proud of it.  I could only dream of being so productive, so creative, as this.spider 1

seeds and soil

This morning, I went to water the few remaining trays of seedlings in our greenhouse and discovered that a mouse had eaten some of my precious late sprouting watermelon plants. I had been covering the tray to keep them out, but forgot in the rush of a late bedtime the night before. Darn.mouse

It never seems to be less than a miracle when a row, a tray, a pot of seeds germinates and thrives.

The process inspires me over and over again.

Seeds are like thoughts.

They can be potent and powerful and ready to sprout and grow into something. Thoughts like that easily translate into action. I love those kinds of thoughts. Sometimes thoughts, and seeds, get stale and grow more slowly. Some seeds naturally take a long time to sprout. And some thoughts are like weed seeds. In fact, a lot of thoughts grow into weeds. If left unchecked, they take up valuable space and hinder our progress. Clearing them out is necessary work if we are to have a productive and beautiful garden, and life.weed

But it isn’t just the seed that matters. There’s the growing medium. The potting mix. The soil. The ground. Is it fertile enough to maintain the growth of our seeds? Are there harmful diseases, bacteria, and fungus that will infect the seedling and hinder its life?

Soil is like attention.

Thoughts alone are not the mind.  Seeds alone don’t make plants.

No analogy is perfect, but bear with me.

We start our small seeds in soil blocks. This allows us to germinate thousands of seeds on a small folding table indoors. It gives us a little more time to nurture the seedling’s early environment before sending it outdoors. But there have been times when things have gone wrong.

We scramble to narrow down the possibilities. Did we let the blocks dry out too much, or did we keep them too wet? Are the seeds old and losing strength? But we’ve learned now that it’s often an imbalance in the potting mix. (See? It’s not usually the seed’s fault.)

Like soil, if our attention is not strong and balanced, we will have a hard time maintaining a healthy stream of thought and bringing it to fruition. We need focused attention to hold the root firm, but enough breathing room to allow both root and stem to expand and grow. How easy is it to pull a plant out of sand? How hard is it to uproot a dandelion from clay?

It is not always easy to hold attention in one place, to keep directing it where it belongs. In fact, it’s quite difficult sometimes. Distractions are endless. It’s like feeding the soil, and cultivating. It’s a continual effort, and there are ups and downs. Each season, each day, each breath is different. Each is an opportunity.

I’m feeling fortunate this morning, that there are more watermelon seeds, waiting to be planted. There’s also a good batch of potting soil made up, ready to support them. Sunlight, rain, the coming summer all these companions make life so possible, so good.watermelon

May the works of our lives bear sweet fruits this season. Like watermelons.