Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunflower Rewards

Hello Everyone!

SUNFLOWERS! I have finally been able to grow them in my garden. I planted five packs this time, hoping and believing some would come up and grow. Not just come up, wilt, and then die - my usual results. Even with the extremely dry weather, they came up and GREW! I am so excited! (see photo above)

If you remember, I mentioned that I adore sunflowers. They are so cheery and bright! I likened the way they turned their "faces" to the sun, to the way we should turn our faces toward the "Son" - Jesus Christ. He has rewarded my efforts of hoping and believing that I would triumph in my attempt to plant them once again! I have a row of bright, cheery "faces" in my garden to remind me of His love and faithfulness!

How have you triumphed over a seemingly impossible task? How has He rewarded you?

"Little" things, such as sunflowers, are all around you! Take a break today and see what rewards the "Son" has given you!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Hello Everyone!

Today I picked the first tomatoes of the season from the garden! I'm so excited because I usually don't have good luck with them because of all the heat and humidity and the diseases that affect them. This year is really no better than last, but I have recently started planting the "heirloom" varieties and I believe they are more suitable to the growing conditions in my garden.

Last year I planted three heirloom varieties, "Cherokee Purple," "Brandywine," and "Oxheart." The "Cherokee Purple" was a great success! It has large fruits that were "smoky" in color and made an excellent slicing tomato with a great old-fashioned taste. It made great tomato juice that I "canned" and used throughout the fall and winter in soups! The "Brandywine" is an old Amish variety that has large, somewhat irregular shaped fruit, but its taste makes up for what it lacks in looks. The "Oxheart" is a pink tomato that has low acid content. It is shaped like, you guessed it-the heart of an ox! It was my mama's favorite tomato.

Heirlooms are excellent if you are looking for an "old-timey, tomatoey tasting" tomato. They might not be the prettiest, most symmetrical tomato, but they have "character" and do not taste like "cardboard," the predominate taste of grocery store tomatoes.

Heirlooms are flawed in their appearance, just like me! Beauty, after all is only skin deep! It's the content of the wrapper that is the test of a "great" tomato or person. Life's little blemishes and irregularities are what refines us and makes our "taste" sought after. Many can be comforted by the knowledge that "she has been there," or "she has had difficulties of her own." I think that our blemishes and irregularities are the way that God uses us to draw the attentions of those who are hurting and uses our "taste" to minister to them.

I know that this is not the best illustration and you probably think I am a "nut" case, but this came to me today and I am "pondering" it now, as I type. My thoughts are scattered, and my ability to collect them has not been enabled as of yet, so I will continue to ponder and hope that I am able to better convey the message I want to leave with you. I hope I haven't thoroughly confused any of you with this rambling - one more of my blemishes and irregularities!

Oh, by the way, this year I planted the "German Johnson" variety- my favorite for slicing and making sandwiches. If you ever run into some "heirlooms" - try them! When you taste them, you'll never look for perfectly shaped, "cardboard" tomatoes again! Remember - they have "character," blemishes and all!

Have a great day and God bless our blemishes!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Monday, June 23, 2008


Hello Everyone!

Yesterday at church, our pastor announced that during the evening service we would be having Communion.

Last week, we had Vacation Bible School and 13 children asked Jesus to come into their hearts.
The pastor met with each of the children and their parents and 11 of them really seemed to understand just what they were doing by this "profession."
One of the 11 asked the pastor, after he made the announcement about the Communion, if she could take "The Lord's Supper." Having talked with her, he told her that she could indeed take Communion with the rest of her "Christian Family."

Last night as we started the service, he told everyone this story and that this was to be her "First Communion." As he was talking about her, I noticed the smile - a BIG SMILE - on her precious little face! It was the smile that could only come from knowing that she was a "Child of God," and that she was about to have her "first experience" being a part of the "Bride of Christ".

This reminded me of the first Communion that Mr. Plant Lady and I took together at our wedding. Most couples go through the ceremony of lighting a unity candle, but we decided we wanted to take Communion together, as man and wife along with our Lord, showing that we would be establishing a "household of faith," with God as the Cornerstone.
Our pastor's wife played and sang the song, "Household of Faith," after we had received Communion. It was beautiful!

The words to this song describe the intentions that we have in our marriage. Intentions to always be a "Household of Faith!"

I have included some photos from our wedding album showing the Communion Service we had as a part of the wedding ceremony. You'll get a glimpse of Mr. and Mrs. Plant Lady and notice I still remain illusive! For now!

Please pray for those children that got saved during VBS and especially for the little girl who took her "first" Communion yesterday. May we all show the Love of God on our faces that the little girl does!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Household of Faith
Here we are at the start committing to each other
By His word and from our hearts
We will be a family in a house that will be a home
And with faith we'll build it strong
Chorus: We'll build a household of faith
That together we can make
And when the strong winds blow it won't fall down
As one in Him we'll grow and the whole world will know
We are a household of faith
Now to be a family we've got to love each other
At any cost unselfishly
And our home must be a place that fully abounds with grace
A reflection of His face

Words and Music by Brent Lamb and John Rososco Copyright 1983 Straightway Music (ASCAP). Admin by Gaither copyright management. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sweetheart and the Bandits

Hello Everyone!

Sweetheart (the strange bird) has been protective this week. She had been overly eager to "patrol" Daddy's back yard in the hopes of catching some "trespasser" that has been coming around at night. Daddy says she sits on the back porch, constantly looking back and forth, scanning for any movement in the area.

Several times during the night, he will get up and check to see if she is ready to come in. When he turns the door knob, she takes off like greased lightning, growling all the way. He has gone out, flashlight in hand, stumbling over tree roots and probably Copperheads, to find what is disturbing her so much, but to no avail. That is until last night!

Bandits! Masked Bandits! A whole family of them in the back yard!

Two young raccoons lay dead. She must have caught them in the act of daring to come onto "HER" turf! Wait! She is innocent until proven guilty! But I must admit the "evidence" is stacked against her. CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) found her DNA in the saliva that was left on the bodies. Could she have been "framed?"

Know of a good attorney? She needs one!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

P.S. We had rain today!!!!!! Yeah!!!!!!! It has been extremely dry. We are going to re-plant some of the garden this coming week. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Coconut Bra - Explained!

Just a quick post of explanation about "The Tuxedo." Mary asked the question, "What is a coconut bra?"

In "The Tuxedo," I was telling of some souvenirs that we brought back from our honeymoon that I used as decorations for the table at a fundraiser for summer youth programs that Mr. Plant Lady and I were asked to help with as "celebrity waiters." I mentioned the coconut bra I had bought and that I "would not mention it!"

She, in her comments, asked the question, "What is a coconut bra?" I responded to her and then added that I would find a picture from our honeymoon and post it later on this blog.

Here it is! No, it is not a picture of me! I wish!

Plant Lady

The Tuxedo

Hello Everyone!

Last night Mr. Plant Lady came in from a monthly church board meeting and announced that he has been asked to help with a "Ladies Appreciation" banquet that our ladies missionary group is sponsoring this weekend. He is going to be one of several men who will seat the ladies as they arrive and then be a waiter for the evening. He jokingly asked them if he needed to wear his tuxedo. "You have a tuxedo?," another of the men asked. "Why sure, don't you?," he replied. Another man spoke up, "I have a t-shirt that looks like a tuxedo!" Our pastor said, "I'm going to wear what I have on tonight - shorts and a t-shirt!"

This reminded me of the story of how Mr. Plant Lady came to be the proud owner of a tuxedo. Let me share it with you!

Several years ago, we were asked to host a table as "celebrity waiters" at a fundraiser in our area that would benefit summer children's programs. He agreed that we would and then told me about it. The theme that year was "Tropical Vacations" or something like that. This happened in the "dead" of winter - February - and it was very difficult to find decorations locally without going to a party shop about 45 minutes away.

We ventured down to the beach where the shop was located. The "decorations" were so expensive for this cheap-skate Plant Lady that I decided to make my own! I bought a large bundle of raffia and made a table skirt. We stopped by a store that "sells sea shells,"- try saying that five times fast - and picked up a few to add to those I already had. Next on the list was sand - no problem - plenty of that available for free! I thought about the "souvenirs" (I won't mention the coconut bra!) we had brought back from our honeymoon on Maui - another story inspiration for a later post! We had taken a lot of "tropical" photos - double prints, in fact! I could use some of them to decorate our table.

Mr. Plant Lady wanted to stop by Wal-mart, so I went in and looked around while he went his separate way in the store. When we finally "found each other," he had purchased a white formal wear shirt that included a "black bow tie," all for about $12! Great! But we were supposed to be waiters on a tropical isle, not waiters in a fashionable New York restaurant! We needed shorts, flip-flops and an Hawaiian-print shirt!

Time had gotten away from us, so that would have to do. We were the only table that night that had a "tropical waitress" in a grass skirt, and a waiter in a white shirt and black tie! Needless to say, since then, I have never again agreed to be a "celebrity" waiter at the annual fundraiser.

A friend and I were out "loafing" one Saturday and decided to peruse thrift stores in the area. After having visited a couple, we went into the Salvation Army Thrift Store. She found several items of interest, but I had not. As I was going through a small box of items IT leaped out at me! A cummerbund! Just the perfect accessory to add to Mr. Plant Lady's "one-piece-at-a-time" tuxedo. I snapped up the treasure before I had to fight off other bandits and took it to the register! Fifty cents! What a deal for such a find! I couldn't believe my good fortune!

I brought it home and hung it proudly in the closet with his Wal-mart shirt and bow tie! Now, I'm scouring the area for the tuxedo pants and jacket! In the meantime, he just wears his black suit with his "tuxedo accessories" when the invitation says "formal attire!" To quote a line in a movie I once saw, "The difference between a woman and an animal is the ability to accessorize!"

Accessorize away!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Father's Day Salute to Our Dads

Hello Everyone!

A very special day is coming this Sunday - Father's Day. God has blessed both me and my husband with godly dads. Both have set great examples before their children, on the way that God expects a family to function. They both love God, their wife and their children and it was evident in the way in which they interacted with the family. We have such a great debt of gratitude to them for being faithful to the Master's Plan.

When Mr. Plant Lady and I were married, we were going through some old photographs that each of us had brought into the marriage. As we were looking at the photos, I noticed one of a man standing next to a car with a small child standing on the car. It was a photo of my husband and his dad. Attached to the photo was a photocopy of an old newspaper clipping from the Washington Post on June 18, 1990 that was written by nationally syndicated columnist, Cal Thomas, entitled "Returns on father's investment." I immediately thought of a similar photo and clipping I had in my collection of photos that my husband had never seen.

After searching through the box of photos, I finally found mine. It was a photo of my daddy sitting next to a sleeping, little Plant Lady. I have always loved this photo of me and Daddy because it reminds me of how loved and safe I felt, sheltered in my daddy's watchful care, not unlike the way I feel under my Heavenly Father's watchful care. I also had saved a newspaper clipping from our local newspaper, but do not remember the date. It is entitled "First Love." I could not believe that both my husband and I had a "special" picture of our dads and had also attached such clippings with essentially like messages. But then I realized that this was a piece of the puzzle that God had crafted long before we were formed in our mothers' womb.

I have included the photos and the clippings with this post. Mr. Plant Lady's dad has gone on to be with the Lord, and my dad is 82 years old and still doing well. I thank God for allowing him to have his health and get around as well as he does. We both are truly blessed!

We are glad our dads "lived" the example of Christ before us and gave us a pattern with which to build our lives as a family. A Godly heritage is one of the most important things that can be passed on from generation to generation. Both Mr. Plant Lady and I hope you have a Happy Father's Day!

(click to enlarge the images)
Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Plant Lady - Unmasked!

Hello Everyone!

Katrina (SKY4KAT) has received the apple gourd birdhouse (see her blog, katscove)! She commented on how "mysterious and illusive" I have been throughout my short blogging career. Little did she know that I have been planning to "unmask" just like the mysterious "bird" in the birdbath. She, unknowingly, has "set the stage" for today's post. Perhaps this was all in God's Master Plan!

The blueberry season is winding down. The extremely hot, dry weather has taken its toll on our blueberry production this year. In previous posts, I have mentioned the extreme weather conditions we have been facing here in North Carolina - temperatures in excess of 95 degrees F and little rainfall have decreased the size and quality of the blueberries. We have decided to stop harvesting because we are unwilling to sell a product that is not up to standards.

Now, I should have more time to catch up on my neglected housework as well as to visit my blogger friends more often! I have a pile of clean, unfolded laundry in a chair in my living room. I have been "searching" the pile for about three or four weeks, selecting an outfit each day, consisting of a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, which is my usual summer attire! Did I mention the flip-flops, my footwear of choice? I can't imagine going through the summer with any other kind of shoe!

The BIG moment has now arrived! Drum roll, please! The unmasking of Plant Lady . . . a photo of my "early days" of pondering! Hope you enjoy!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Strange Bird - Unmasked!

Hello Everyone!

It's been a hot, dry month here in North Carolina. It has been in the upper 90's, and yesterday I noticed the time and temperature sign at our local electric cooperative read 104 degrees F. There have been heat advisories issued during the past week and we have had to limit our workday in the blueberry field to early mornings - 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., which is safer for the workers.

The packing is done at my dad's pack house (where I work), and I have the benefit of fans. Hooray! It is still very hot and humid, even with fans. The lack of rain has already started to affect the blueberry production - smaller berries, but very sweet. I've always heard that dry seasons produce the most flavorful berries. If this is true, they should be GREAT!

I hope all of you are doing well. It seems as though it has been such a long time since I have talked with you. I am still going to the Farmer's Market on Saturdays and having a ball! There was a tremendous crowd there today - I would estimate around 400. Today was Berry Day! We celebrated the strawberry and blueberry with FREE homemade ice cream for everyone! We made five churns and it was enjoyed by all! Some visitors who were passing through from Missouri, were so excited to get some homemade ice cream - fresh strawberry, blueberry and peach! Blueberry still remains the favorite of the patrons.

We had a new vendor - a local, family-owned nursery that carries tropical Hibiscus as well as hanging baskets and other plants. A returning vendor from last year brought pomegranate plants and they were "POPULAR!" He sold quite a few in just a short time. One of the ladies who joined the market to "share the excess" of her garden, came to tell me she had "SOLD OUT!" She was so excited and I was glad because I had encouraged her to come.

The day has arrived! The "bird" is no longer a mystery! It was described in a previous post as being black and white with grayish spots under it's throat and having long legs. It was also described as being able to "masquerade" itself and as having "appeared" from time to time on "Plant Lady's Ponderings." It has shown up in the post, "She is Faithful" and is seen "from time to time" in the pictures on the Garden Photos Slideshow where she is "hiding" in the corn patch.

The "bird" is Daddy's dog. The day I first noticed her in the birdbath was especially hot. I guess she smelled the water and just decided to masquerade as a bird in hopes that no one would notice!

I have had so much fun seeing all your comments about this "strange bird." She is REALLY a "bird!" I hope you have enjoyed playing along with my "feeble" attempt at humor. I love each of you and hope I have brought a BIG smile to your face!

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I've Got Pictures!

Hello Everyone!

I've got the pictures of that strange bird! I knew if I was persistent, I would eventually be able to capture it on film. I just have to wait to finish up the roll of film before I can post. I have to take about 20 more photos before I can get the film transferred to a CD.

I hope you all are doing well. I have been a "busy beaver" with all the blueberries and the blessings from the garden. I have been trying to do about four to five gourd bird houses each week to keep up with the demand at the farmer's market. They have been very popular, as have the herb plants. We have three new vendors at the market that has really brought a lot of variety in the items available. One is a lady that has bees and offers fresh honey along with the beeswax and honey natural soaps, lip balm and some other products that she makes from those items on her farm. I've tried the soaps and lip balm and they are great! The soaps are all- natural and can be made from just regular household items you could find at the grocery store.
They are not as drying to the skin as soaps (detergent based) that you find in the stores. She takes great pride in the fact that they are "all-natural" and produced by "eco-friendly" means.

Another lady makes and sells jams and jellies as well as bakes the most wonderful breads and sticky buns. She has asked me to supply several flats of blueberries for her jams/jellies as well as for her baking needs. The vendors at the market are eager to support each other by buying "local" from each other.

One of the most unique items that another vendor has is Cypress "knees." Cypress "knees" are the growth on the root of Cypress trees that are found in swamps here in North Carolina and other places. She "harvests" the ones that have died, and then "peels" the outer bark from it and sands and "hand-rubs" it to a very smooth patina. The wood is very beautiful and has the most interesting shapes. She plants shallow-rooted creeping plants in the crevices and they make beautiful additions to "gardens" as sculpture. If I can get a picture if one of them, I will post it so you can see. They are very "unique!" She had quite a brisk business in this unique "sculpture garden art."

Well, I have to get ready for church, so I'd better go now. Have a great day and a great week. I'll try to post in a couple of days to show you the photos of that "strange" bird. Keep checking back to hear more from "Plant Lady's Ponderings."

Be Encouraged!
Plant Lady