As most of you know, we live in northern Michigan on a small plot of land where the sun seldom shines - quite literally. Our house sits in a "valley" with a large hill covered in trees (the hill used to be part of the first ski club in the state) to the East and a tremendous amount of trees to the West. By the time the sun gets over the ski hill, the clock has turned to noon. My garden is on a small hill on the east side of the property and it gets as much sun as it can get anywhere close. The sunniest place is in our yard (facing south) and that is where I chose to put my greenhouse last spring. That turned out to be a good choice.
I have struggled over the years we have lived in the northern woodlands to make the most of what I have been given. I do not like snow and what do I get? An average of 136 inches a year, give or take. The cold season lingers and I swear that we only get winter and summer, with winter taking the larger portion of the year. I count myself fortunate in those years that summer lasts more than two months.
This year I had the greenhouse and what a blessing that was! I was able to start plants in the house in April, then move them to the greenhouse early May. It was still cold outside (in the 50 degree Fahrenheit range) with snow still lingering over the garden bed. Take the gloom and doom of everyone shouting COVID, and it was not a very fun time.
But here is the blessing. I was laid off work since libraries were not considered to be "essential" in Michigan. I had time on my hands to do that which really matters to me. I was able to start numerous plants and work to keep them warm in the greenhouse with the occasional aid of an electric heater. I was able to place those young plants outside in the garden toward the end of May, when they should be planted.
I was able to bless others. I had so many tomato plants that grew suckers that I clipped them, placed them in water, and waited for sprouting to occur. And it did. I gave away close to twenty tomato plants that were all started from suckers. I was told later that those plants were strong, healthy, and provided their owners with a whole lot of beautiful tomatoes.
My husband and I raise wild species of waterfowl and pheasants on our farm. We also raise sheep and goats along with chickens. How blessed we were to be able to spend more time with those animals, creating better and healthier environments for them. My husband was able to raise quite a few baby ducks and pheasants, as well as some quail, that we took to swap meets around Michigan and Indiana. We did a fairly good business and hope for an even better next summer.
So, how did we make our home a little better this year? I think that maybe the best thing we did was to work on our home business and the farm. I had such a huge success with the tomatoes in my new greenhouse that I canned a lot of them. We now have a good stock of salsa, tomatoes, and sauce on hand for the winter. I found lots of beans (black beans, navy beans, and pinto beans) at great prices at the bulk food store in Shipshewana, Indiana while on a trip to the swap meet with our birds. Guess what is canned and ready for meals this winter? You guessed it - beans! And not only that. I have canned salsa verde (tomatillo overload in the garden this year), many varieties of jam, vegetable broth, sauerkraut, sweet pickles and also dills, and even elderberry syrup (my dad's recipe).
The freezer is full too.
I had meant to do a lot of spring cleaning in the house, but that never happened. Now, my plan is to fall clean, which may turn into winter clean. I have already got a good start on the living room.
I'm back to work and our library remains open. Nothing looks the same and sometimes I panic. I wonder why Jesus hasn't come back yet. The news never reports anything good anymore.
One thing I can do is my job as a wife and a mother. I can do my job as a Christian, being sure that I am faithful to spread the Good News of Salvation.
The Bible says that God does not operate on our time scale. He knows when the moment is right and that is when Jesus will come and take us home - in the twinkling of an eye. Until then, it is my job to make my home - my piece of the world - a little better, one day at a time.