Garden Time

I like to plant my beloved garden each year the week before Memorial Day, and on Friday I managed to drop one daughter off at school, take the other with me to The Farmer’s Daughter in Auburn, get my seedlings, come home, move stuff that had already sprouted, put in the new plants, and go get V. when school got out at noon.  Not bad!  Here is the breakdown:

This year several plants took with no help or planning from me.  I ended up with some big chamomile plants that I transferred to the hill in back of our house (we have already begun harvesting and drying the flowers to make tea).  Some cilantro and oregano sprouted as well, and several months ago I put cloches over them to help them grow.  Our strawberry patch, always an early yielder, is doing quite well and we have been enjoying delicious strawberries every day.  The mint and thyme came back on its own, as they always do, and again I have several mystery plants which are likely garlic or onions.  The blueberries are in the green stage, so that is promising, and I planted a raspberry bush.  The famed apple tree sadly did not survive the construction project last year but I hope to find a successor tree.  My lettuce bed is doing well, with mustard and mesclun growing.  These grow fast and I hope to have a good turnover and yield into the fall.  Finally, in retrieving nutrient-rich dirt from my compost bin I found some sprouted garlics; we must have thrown an old garlic in there and at some point they sprouted.  I replanted them in the garden and several are thriving.

As for the stuff I planted Friday:

-Now that I am a veteran gardener I thought I would add some variety to what I usually grow, so for new stuff this year I have yellow onions, small eggplants, zucchini (everyone grows this but I have never done it), spaghetti squash, jalapeno peppers…I am sure I am forgetting something.

-Returning favorites include different kinds of tomatoes with basil planted among them to keep the pests away (this totally works).  I also have a tomato plant in the Topsy-Turvy.  I have my usual “pepper patch” with habanero and cayenne (long red slim) peppers joining the new jalapeno plants.  The cayenne plants yield into mid/late fall.  Other staples include cucumbers and pumpkins.

I will be getting more stuff this week, including more herbs and some other plants for the main garden.  I also have a potato bag and hope to grow some potatoes – we will see.


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May 27th, 2012 by Fr. Greg

A Note On Holidays And Greetings

This year Orthodox Easter fell, as it often seems to do, a week after Western Easter (how timely, right, since it is now many weeks after Easter?  But we are still in the Easter season for another week or so, so there: ).  I noticed something on Facebook, where I am part of a pretty good sized network of people from all backgrounds but with a lot of Orthodox friends (a buddy of mine said my friends list looks like the Athens phonebook), that was rather disquieting.  I saw a lot of my Orthodox friends writing status updates that said “Happy Easter to my Orthodox friends” (or kalo pascha or some such variation).  My main problem is with the “to my Orthodox friends” part.

Do we contain our holidays amongst ourselves?  Would non-Orthodox or non-Christian people be offended if we joyously wished them happy Easter?  I hope not.  We have, seemingly, been cowed by political correctness and fear of offending people to the point that we are hesitant to wish a simple religious or cultural greeting to friends.  Really?  I understand that the hesitation is well-intentioned, but come on now.  As Orthodox Christians we are called upon to spread the gospel message.  I understand that people may be uncomfortable approaching friends about Christ or whatever but this is just a greeting.  Surely we can do at least that!

I fully expect my friends of other faiths to wish me their own greetings for their holidays.  It is a nice thing, makes me feel included, and exposes me to stuff I would not normally know.  If someone knows you well and is offended by a holiday greeting, especially a blanket one on something like Facebook, well then, good grief.  I understand that we all use Facebook for different reasons – personal, ministry, business, a combination, whatever – but at the very least people in our orbit should be comfortable with the fact that we like to say Kalo Pascha or happy Easter.  Let’s not be afraid to own and be proud of our holidays.  God help us if we don’t welcome people into them.  And let’s not remove the soul from Easter and other special days by keeping them to ourselves.

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May 14th, 2012 by Fr. Greg