I have my plans. I am full of ideas for next year and beyond at the Toy Box. Not getting in a fall-winter garden for two years in a row is pushing me. The mill Ray works for is shutting down. I am more determined (or is that desperate) to feed us from what we can grow in the yard YHVH has graciously put us in. We talk of rabbits and fish tanks. Of Cherry trees and potatoes, wood stoves and outdoor kitchens. Expanded rain collection systems and hoop houses. At the back of our mind is the knowledge that we might be forced to walk away from all of this, but until that day we will live where we are, knowing the act of our Lord, the display his power that put us here.
Days before the holidays, garden catalogs are coming. Cook’s sent me last years catalog, apparently to keep me interested until their 2012 wish book (and truly Cook’s is a wish book) comes out. I am coveting a collection of their raspberries. Three each of black, an early red, a late red and a yellow. Jason and I are the only raspberry lovers in my house so why do I need these? I want to put one of each type into a huge pot the way we did with the collection of three from Flower World. But I also want to put a short double row in the ground where my determinant tomatoes are currently set. Vine berries are one of the few plants that do very well in the sorry excuse for soil we have in the Toy Box.
Last year Ray and I put in Marion Berries and Logan berries after we noticed that the brambles and small wild black berries do exceptionally well just beyond the fence. The small sample of marion and logan from their first summer were wonderful. I have two more vines of each that I want to find a space for in an already crowded garden. We are desperately missing the jam that I did not make this year because of the new glass top stove. While reading about how to use the automatic oven cleaning feature I came across a blurb in our owners manual that promises me that I can use the glass top for canning under careful conditions. Ray still worries, but I am determined to give it a try. Having nothing but applesauce from 2010 in the pantry and only frosty herbs plus a few leaves of kale and chard in the garden is distressing.
The multi-apple tree is doing all right, the sweet cherry gave us a taste of her candy. We are still waiting to taste a single pear. The tree that does exceptionally well is the sour cherry. If we are able (trees are so expensive) we want to add two more sour or pie cherry trees. A dwarf orchard is planned for the front garden. The front garden is only partially fenced. Every dog walker in our community lets their dogs (and we think they are huge dogs) come visit our front lawn. That needs to be prevented with good neighbor fencing. We do not like most of the industrial landscape plants in the front garden. We chat about pulling most of that out and replacing them with my lavenders and some herbal flowers such as ecchenicca (purple cone flower), calendula and stinky but useful valerian. Sunflowers too since this garden tends to be soggy.
I can grow some protein in the Toy Box. We have discovered Fava (Broad) Beans and a small cranberry type of bean, treasured on Whidbey Island for years, known as Rockwell that provide some tasty protine. The nuggets give us eggs. Even so, we are talking about rabbits for meat (and poo that is gold in the compost) and a Talipa aquaponics. Ray actually seems jazzed about fish farming. All of it takes money to start.
No one ever really knows what a day will bring. YHVH give us the privilege, the delightful hope, of dreaming about what we will do should he allow. We are sharply aware that the future belongs to our Elohim/God. We want to keep the eyes of our hearts on him. He is far more secure than healthy hens or a pantry full of jelly. Things can change in the blink of an eye. One day the mill sent the workers home with a letter informing them that the sale of the mill is all but done save for a few details, get your applications in to the new company. The very next day we found out that everything fell apart. 700 people who depend upon their wage from the mill will join the ranks of the unemployed. The temptation to succumb to depression dogged us most of the day. As individuals and as a couple who have come through so many things before this, we had to stop and remember that our Lord has made one promise to us. He will never forsake us.
We choose hope. It is hope, not presumption that keeps us dreaming about what we can do this coming year. It is the lovingkindness of our YHVH in his son Y’shua that causes us to stand firm (rather than proud) on his promise. We do not know where we will be next year, but we know it will be beyond what we are able to dream. We are blessed, that is all we know for sure. God shows us that he favors us again and again. The rest is just details…..details that do not fall apart in negations.