Autumn Aliens

We visited a farm in Penwp-image-1536863450jpg.jpgnsylvania to pick some pumpkins and gourds to bring home.   My son was intrigued by their funny shapes and bright colors.  They reminded me of the silly monsters he draws – cute alien creatures with round or oval bodies filled in by swirls or dots and topped with one to three eyes; each creature has a name like,  Dingle, Yugi, Ygug, Hithy, Hicamawiks, Hallywak and Dotty-Spot.  They make us laugh.

These alien-like squashes make us smile, too.  Any names come to mind for them?  I will ask my son, he will have some ideas.

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Hens and Chicks 

The Hens and Chicks in clay pots on our front steps are flourishing in the cool fall weather. Each day I see new tiny chicks emerging. Close and cozy, growing in a tight space. It is counter-intuitive for a gardener.  I want to re-pot and give more space, but these succulents actually grow better in crowded conditions.

When my townhouse seems too small, traffic congested, time limited and life crowded with responsibilities and demands, I will think of these plants. They grow under the pressure of limited space.  Too often my thoughts are rooted in the “not enoughs.”  I need more time. I can’t. I need to pull out. What if I snuggled into the pressure and my limitations, stayed grounded and calm?  I might be surprised by unexpected space and new growth.

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A Kitchen Garden

I linger under the deck in the shade. A cool relief from the heat of afternoon picking in the garden.   I am amazed again by soil, sun and water contributing to the growth of the fresh eggplants, tomatoes and peppers I just picked.


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Tomatoes gone wild


Tomatoes (left) and Peppers (right)

Plants with branches slumped and sticky hold plump cherry and grape tomatoes in our kitchen garden.  The full sunny days and shower refreshed evenings kept all growing. Over four feet in two months!  Our tomato plants grew beyond their cages and almost touched the deck before they toppled on themselves as vines will do.  We gave string and stake support a little late.  We did not anticipate such rapid growth so they kind of went a little wild beyond their cages.  They needed a supported space – a ring of rope to grow up into.

A reminder for me to anticipate growth as I seek to provide an effective supportive space for my preteen son. He is growing fast, almost as tall as me now.  How will I support him as he looks beyond our home to friends and middle school?  What kind of support can a give to him as he reaches beyond?

A prayer:  Lord, I need your wisdom and guidance to show me how to provide structure and support suitable to the unique talents You gave my son.  May He reach His full potential and grow into a courageous, kind, faithful, loving and fruitful young man. 

Never underestimate the potential for growth in all that you nurture and care for.  You will be amazed!

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First Peach 2016


Our two year old peach tree produced fruit for the first time.  The two peaches we picked tasted amazing!  Juicy and sweet.  When I cut through the soft skin fuzz, the peaches nearly fell apart.  Juice squirted.  The peach flesh slipped through my fingers.  I gathered it up with a spoon and offered some to my son. Yummy and sugary!  There is nothing better than growing and eating fruit from your own yard.

In June, there were many small peaches on the tree, but by July we could only find two.  There were no peaches on the ground around the tree. The little peaches completely vanished.  It is a mystery.   Did birds pick the peaches off the branches? Did the peaches drop prematurely and a rabbit, squirrel or other fortunate critter eat them up from under the tree?

Now our peach tree has beetles eating through the leaves.  I shook the tree and several beetles fell to the ground.  The beetles are munching leaves beyond my reach.  What kind of beetles eat peach tree leaves? What is the best way to get rid of the beetles?  Did the beetles eat the little peaches?

I know our gardening season 2016 is off to a great start when both juicy fruit and questions are produced.

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Visitors to our home garden

Visitors to our garden are welcome!



We were thrilled to find helpers in our garden this year – a toad, wasps, spiders and a praying mantis. They kept some of the insect pests from doing too much damage.  This praying mantis was not intimidated by the size of its prey.  After a few flashes from my camera, he flew towards it and grabbed with his long legs.  His attack reverted my attention back  to weeding and watering the garden.  Could that have been his plan? He has that “get to work” look.

Grape Tomato

It is October and we still have ripe grape tomatoes!


We were super thrilled to find another kind of helper in our garden this year – a little girl. Our neighbor’s tomato loving daughter picked and ate from our garden when she played outside.  A child enjoying our home garden and their veggies, that is the perfect garden visitor!

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Our Garden Plot Comes Home

wpid-img_20150912_141352563_hdr.jpgFirst year of new backyard garden gives our family veggies, flowers, joy,  and humble pride.  My 10 year old son announced a few days ago, “We have the biggest and most beautiful garden in our neighborhood!” Next he said, “I want to sweep the stones and weed.”  Really.  My “working in the garden is boring,” son volunteers to work in our garden?

When our garden plot was in Howard County Conservancy Community garden, we produced more veggies.  Now that our garden plot is at home,  more inspiration grows.   A salad or veggie stir fry for dinner – pick some grape tomatoes, kale, zucchini and peppers.  Science project ideas – check on those kitchen scraps added to compost yesterday.  A break from stress and high tech stuff – pull some weeds, empty rain barrel water into a watering can and sprinkle the dry ground. Stillness – watch the rain soak the garden and revive its thirsty roots.  Welcome home our garden plot!

Fall plantings include:  beets, spinach, lettuce, an assortment of kale and two blueberry bushes in pots on our deck.

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