Saturday, September 10, 2011

What we don't realize is there

7:43 p.m. Today's project was to ignore twinges in my leg and pull the old, unproductive tomato vines up and toss them into our green waste dumpster. Since they had produced very poorly even after we conquered the rodent problem, I didn't want their leftover fruit with seeds to contaminate our compost!

Some of the vines had turned an unhealthy pale green color, and many tomatoes had lots of small dark spots on them. These details looked suspicious to me, so out they went. The Lord gave me amazing strength today, considering my half-crippled leg, because those plants had deep heavy roots, with trunks and branches like saplings. But I was rewarded with quite a few treasures uncovered beneath the tomato jungle's canopy.

Steve had some cornstalks to haul out also, because I didn't want the ones that had aphids and what seemed like mildew on them to go into my compost. Some stalks had produced nicely and were just in a normal dry, played-out stage, so they were deemed "compost-worthy."

I found a watermelon about the size of a softball growing from a vine, under some big leaves, after despairing of having any. So now we'll look forward to that yummy fruit along with the two cantaloupe that are getting bigger every day in the next row over. Lots of tall, thick green onions will be standing up straight instead of bowing down tomorrow morning, now that they have open space overhead. I harvested 8 full grown bell peppers, and 3 potatoes, 2 red and one white. Enough tomatillos to make green salsa and a tiny hot yellow pepper to flavor it up were added to my heavy plastic grocery bag, along with a handful of green beans for Sunday dinner.

I also kept any sound, large green tomatoes to wrap in newspaper and put in a dark closet to turn red over the next two weeks. The pleasant surprise of the season were the orange cherry tomatoes that were quite pest-and-insect resistant. Other winners in the tomato category this year were the sweet yellow regular tomatoes, also very hearty.

With my Mary Kay business growing and keeping the household functioning with less independence and initiative on Steve's part this year, I admit that I did not diligently care for my garden on a daily basis like I have the last two years. The winter garden was great, with plenty of carrots, some broccoli, mesclun, spinach, and cilantro. In early spring we had peas, too. Once everything began to grow, I'd gotten the gopher problem licked, and the organic vegetables kept the weeds to a minimum, things seemed to hum right along with regular watering and infrequent extra soil amendment. We didn't have that many bugs, despite my not spraying regularly for most of the season. I think that's because God has renewed the bird population, if their diving down into my plants was any indication. I didn't see a single tomato hornworm. That was a definite reason to rejoice! I didn't mind the bird pecks, because as Psalm 145:16 says of God, "You satisfy the desires of every living thing." (I'm not quite so sanguine about the tomato-and-strawberry-eating rats and ground squirrels we had to lure into our poison bait trap)!

Tomorrow, when I am making my version of Spanish Chicken from the Joy of Cooking, I'll be adding homegrown green peppers, tomatoes, onions and even potatoes that aren't called for, because God has gifted me with them. Even if I was not swamped with tomatoes to the point of canning many pints of segments, sauce and salsa, as in past years, I have harvested many pounds of produce from this garden I've called a failure! And with the warmth and sunlight we will be blessed with for the next two months, more vegetables will be forthcoming. God is faithful, even when I'm not!

As for the food I found under the runaway tomato vines, it's just another exhortation to look below the surface like God does. When considering people and situations, we would all do well to keep I Samuel 16:7 in mind, along with Isaiah 55:9:

For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

For as the heavens are higher
than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your

And My thoughts than your

Lord, give us the ability to wait on Your Holy Spirit to show us Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!

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