My Dream Garden

     When I was a child, ours was not a family of “means.”  I was very aware that other kids in the neighborhood, and at school, seemed to have more than we did.  It still amazes me that I can say that not once did we go on a family vacation.  Nor did we ever eat in a restaurant.  Not once.  But what we didn’t have, and what we didn’t do, is not what this post is about.  It’s about what we did have.

A fence separated our back yard from the neighbors’.  Along that wire border grew lilac bushes which, every spring, filled the air with a fragrance that planted itself in my DNA. Also along that fence grew a few stray purple iris, and further down the fence, at the other end, stood a mulberry tree, perfect for climbing.

On the other side of our back yard, along the fence that protected us kids from our other neighbor’s ferocious (and I’m not kidding) chow, was another, smaller mulberry tree.  This one yielded berries every summer, and we joyously ate them.  We also delighted in sucking the nectar from the tips of columbine blossoms, which grew around the base of the tree. 

Because this fence was on the north side of the yard, and because of the tree, it provided the perfect spot for other shade-loving plants as well.  Such as fern; their unfurling fronds were endlessly fascinating.  Every spring, nestled in this same semi-shady area, bloomed exquisite “bleeding hearts.”

There wasn’t more than about five feet between our house and the brick four-plex to the north.  It was almost always shady along that side and lilies of the valley grew in great profusion.  We knew the chow was locked up when his owner was at work so we dared to edge into that small “alley” to pick stems of those little white bells.  We brought them to our mother who displayed the diminutive bouquets in a juice glass.

At the base of the steps from our back porch, hollyhocks bordered the sidewalk in vivid pinks, fucias, yellows and coral.  (This photo is not from that time.  These were grown from seeds three years ago – a gift from my sister who knows how much, to this day, I love hollyhocks.)  

Following the path around to the front of our house, framing our screened-in front porch, grew great bushes of, what we called, “bridal wreath.”  Their tiny, lacy white flowers bloomed for a time, and then the petals fell, coating the sidewalk and grass like snow. 

All of these gardening wonders appeared in our yard every spring and summer without my mother’s tending.  We children took them all for granted.  It is these memories which are so precious.  A part of my childhood that I long to re-create, it is these flowers I covet most for my Dream Garden.   

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There’s Valuable and Then There’s Irreplaceable

         

          When my husband and I were newlyweds, one of our first homes (i.e. places to live) was a little rented abode (I would call it a cottage but honestly it wasn’t that picturesque), which had electricity but little else.  It had no running water and we heated it with a wood stove.  Our 2-B, 0-BA, house did not even have an outhouse.  With the help of my brother, that was built later and, when it came to temperatures of -40 below zero F, we quickly learned that a styrofoam seat atop the wood single-holer was a great luxury.

           Now, 30 years later, we live in a 4-B, 2 1/2 BA home.  In a sense, the kind of houses we’ve lived in has nothing to do with my topic for this blog except to point out that along the way I have discovered that some of my most valuable material possessions have little to do with price or market value.  

          After furnishing our various homes with everything from Garage Sale to brand new, and after raising three rambunctious boys, I’ve learned that broken antique plates, stained carpeting, broken vintage plate glass windows, and various other ruined “pricey” items, have never devastated me.  But, over these many years, there are certain  that I would be genuinely upset (i.e. freaked out) about if anything were to happen to them.  To list a few:

          * My kitchen scissors – Break a piece of my dinnerware and I merely blink.  But, if someone dares to borrow my kitchen scissors and fails to return them to the proper drawer…I   can   not   function.  I don’t even remember when I first got them; as far as I know, I’ve had them my entire marriage, maybe before.   I use those scissors   all   the   time.  They are one of my irreplaceables.

          * Another is a good nail brush.  Yes.  A nail brush.  For scrubbing toes and fingernails.  The one I had was wonderful.   I don’t remember how long I owned my beloved nail brush.  But one day, I finally had to throw it out after nearly all the bristles had either broken off or fallen out.  Little did I realize how hard it would be to find a replacement.  Seriously.  Aren’t nail brushes common?  I thought they were.  Until I started searching for another one.  Maybe I just didn’t know where to look.  I searched what I thought would be obvious places, like Bath & Body and the Dollar Store, with no luck.  I hunted for over a year and was without one until only recently when I found a wood nail brush with I-don’t-know-what-kind-of-bristles…at a little antiques shop in Amana, Iowa.  (BTW, the brush is new.)  Paid $2.50 for it.  It is now one of my invaluables. 

          *  My Melaleuca Vanilla Bean Sun Shades Lip Balm.     Do.   Not.   Touch.   It.  Actually, I mean them –  I have two – keep one on a little tray in my bathroom and another in my purse.  (I don’t even know the monetary price because my dear sister keeps me supplied.)  But, I come unglued when I misplace that little stick of lip stuff.  …Oh, Nancy, I am so sorry!  I just did a web search and discovered a tube of that is $14.99!  Are you serious?  That really is pricey!  And, it’s one of my irreplaceables.

          * My aluminum hair clips.  I’ve had them since I was a teenager…which was a while ago.  Okay.  I’ll give you a hint.  I suspect I’ve had them since Buddy Holly was alive.  I still use them.  Daily.   Have you ever noticed that some products just aren’t made with the same quality as they were years ago?  My hair clips fit that category.  Trust me, I’ve looked for new ones.  When I travel, I take crappy newer clips because I don’t want to take the chance of losing my good ones.  Monetary value – likely far less than five dollars – but to me, my retro aluminum hair clips are irreplaceable.

          Naturally, this is only a partial list.  Now that I think about it, it might not be a bad idea to make a complete list and take photos, and store the info in a fireproof strong box.  For insurance purposes, of course.

          What are some of your Irreplaceables?

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A Summer Decor/4th ofJuly Find

Lately I’ve been receiving prods to create a blog on decorating.  I think it would be fun – and I just might do it.  But, whether or not that happens, I just have to share this wonderful 4th-of-July/summer decor find, fresh from my morning’s excursion to Goodwill  (which was a self-granted reward for going to the gym two days in a row). 

It’s a 45-year old edition of America the Beautiful – In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Great red cover!  Glittery gold lettering!  And a star!  Very 4th of July-ish, don’t you think? 

Perched atop a stack of vintage suitcases and a road atlas seemed to be the perfect spot for it.  

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And I will read it.

 

 

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Poetic License of a Blogger

Bachman's Idea House - Minneapolis - May 2, 2010

* Got to tour Bachman’s (Florist) “Idea House” in Minneapolis on the 2nd.   Every few months, they completely change the interior decor.  This time, the theme centered on re-purposing and re-cycling.  If you’ve read my About Me page, you know I love redeeming cast off stuff anyway, so the tour really whetted by creative instincts.       

* For May, this is a bit too chilly for me.

* Am so enjoying the Goldfinches coming to our feeder.

* Iris’ are blooming. 

* Annual community Garage Sale this Saturday.  Am in such a mood to simplify and downsize.   Anyone interested in a ’50s turquoise rotary dial telephone?  Very retro!  There is going to be so many cool goodies in our sale; if it weren’t my stuff, I’d be excited to buy it.  But…oh, yeah, I’m downsizing, aren’t I?

* Praying with a group on a regularly basis  for a unit of guys in Afghanistan.  God is answering in miraculous ways.  It has boosted my faith immensely…and taught me that we ask far too little of God.  Prayer is a privilege!!!  Why don’t we take advantage of it more?  Seriously, the Creator of the Universe wants to hear from you.  He loves you, you know.

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LAUNDRY DAY

 

 

Monday – sorting – and washing laundry day .

 

Tuesday – washing and drying laundry day.

 

Wednesday – folding-and-putting-away – and more washing – laundry day.

 

Thursday – hero coming home from out-of-town business trip, thus more laundry, laundry day.

 

Friday – another sorting, wash/dry/fold and put-away laundry day.

 

Saturday…

 

What I want to know is, how did my mother do it with

 

eight kids

 

a ringer washing machine

 

and a bag of clothes pins?

 

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FAQs

 

 

 

Lately, (meaning the last few months), some disturbing questions have been developing within me.   With increased frequency these questions are making their presence known.  Like pregnancy – it’s as if I’m in labor – and answers are begging to be born.  In no particular order, here are some of them:

 

1.)  How much time do I spend reading blogs, compared to the amount of time I spend reading the Bible?

 

2.)  Is there any value to writing a blog?  More specifically, is there any value to my blog? 

 

3.)  Am I called by God to write a blog, or is it just a time waster  filler?

 

4.)  Does my life center more on cyber-relationships connections, than on people who are clearly in my path –  i.e. neighbors, friends, relatives, and strangers I run into in daily life – such as store clerks, etc.?

 

(Please understand…Through blogging, I have “met” people I genuinely care about… people who I wish were my neighbors, relatives and/or fellow church members.  But by doing this, am I overlooking those whom God has put in front of me?)     

 

5.)  Based on my blog surfing, there appear to be tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of Christians who post on blogs.   Are we (am I ) “fiddling while Rome burns?”

 

I wonder if anyone else wonders these things.

 

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HAPPY MAY DAY!

 

 

Give flowers to someone you love.

Including yourself!

Look for someone who would least expect them.

Then bless their day with posies.

Who couldn’t use a smile in the midst of these trying times?

And a reminder that God’s love endures forever!

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