Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘GARDEN’

WEEDING

WEEDING

We have camped at the same place for over 40 years. During that time many people have passed through our lives. As I wandered on my scooter for the last ride of the season, I visited many of the campsites where the people I have known have either gone on to the other side or have sold out to visit other venues. Sadly each year the list grows, but I have enjoyed the time spent with them. I know people who have sold because their friends are no longer there. Thankfully we are not dependant on others to remain camping.

Back in the city on a lovely Fall day, I wandered to the Garden. Once again I was lost in time. Remembering all the places I have visited — some with my daughters. I thought of one of my aunt’s that had passed over and regretted that we had never wandered the Gardens together. Was I a member of the Garden then?

Still in the city, on another lovely Fall day we wandered to Lincoln Park zoo. We didn’t know that the weekend was Fall festival. They had many rides for the children. I was sorry that we didn’t have any of our grandchildren with us. At the same time, I was glad — we wouldn’t have had the money for all of their rides. Watching the polar bear play in the water I remembered when my grandson at the tender age of 2, was delighted when the polar bear at the time came up to window to visit with him. Lincoln Park is a small zoo, I visited there as a child and enjoy it, possibly even more, as an adult.

It is hard catching up when we close the trailer for the season. I have to find homes for all the food and stuff we brought home with us. The mail goes on forever. In fact — I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the pile. The pile might be for higher than from our most recent trip. It might have stuff accumulated from all summer.

Then there is the food supply. Stuff that I thought was on hand is gone! I looked all over the freezer for catfish fillets that I knew we had. I found two pieces. Not enough for the three of us. Recently I was remembering some of the unusual stuff that has occurred in my life. And remembering that my life has quieted down. OR HAS IT? This morning I received a message from my husband’s sister. Her husband passed a few weeks ago. When I went to look for the message — it wasn’t there. Instead I saw her beautiful picture on the center of the page. I wrote a note back that the message was undelivered. The top of the page said “secret.” I noticed that the first letter of every word in the sentence was capitalized. I was confused. Was I receiving “Help?” Who? Was someone teaching her husband tricks?

Since I didn’t know if the “secret” message reached her, I wrote another message explaining that I was confused. Later that day, I had an avalanche in my freezer. As I put back all the fallen food — I saw an unopened package of catfish fillets. Last night, I used up the bottle of sesame oil when I was cooking. I put the item on my shopping list. Before going to the store, I went to retrieve an item from the shelves in the basement and found TWO unopened bottles of sesame oil. Did I think my life has quieted down? Nope! It just goes in different directions.

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GARDEN

In the city, BEAUTIFUL FALL DAY — blue skies, sunshine, very windy. I went to the Garden. Thankfully I brought the hat my oldest daughter bought for me in Florida. It has a ties that can keep the hat on when the wind blows. I would have lost the hat at least three times. I almost did when I put it back on and forgot to tie it under my chin.

When I left the house, the temperature was in the low 60’s. I wasn’t sure how warm it would be at the Garden so I wore a long sleeve shirt and a hooded vest. Then I tied my jacket around my waist. I had to laugh when I saw my shadow. In fact, it was so silly that I had to take a photo of the strange person walking ahead of me.

It was late in the year but many flowers were in bloom. I LOVE the roses. When I first entered the Garden, a white rose was high lighted. It had a lovely fragrance. And a lovely name — MOONDANCE. I wander the Garden with camera in hand. I must admit that I probably take the same pictures each time I go. That morning, the sunshine on a bush made the leaves look like silver. A closer inspection revealed that the leaves were really green, no silver any where.

I usually follow the same route when I visit. I arrived just as the bells rang out the hour of noon. This time I decided to be good to my knees. I sat down three different times during the ramble. Each time I decided to sit, I paid attention to the wind and picked a sheltered area. I also made sure that I would be able to get back up. The first time, I looked at a sheltered brick open building but decided to sit on a bench and enjoy the fountain and white mums instead. Soon after I sat down, a dad and his little girl wandered to the space. Perfect place for her to play and good photo opportunities. I was glad I picked the bench.

I wandered down a lane that is full of flowers on both sides. In the spring, tulips and poppies hold court. They are replaced by an assortment of summer — fall varieties. They are the favorite hangout of hummingbirds and photographers. A woman stood at the ready, camera in hand. I asked if hummingbirds were still at the Garden. She replied that they had left but she was on the lookout for Monarch butterflies. She had a bigger camera than mine. When I felt the weight, I was very glad that my camera is SMALL and LIGHT. Her camera was a retirement present to herself. She has tremors in her hand and the speed of the camera keeps the tremors from showing.

The waterfall was still flowing. Another opportunity to sit and listen to the falling, singing water. I wandered to the island just as the bells rang the one o’clock hour. I thought I saw mountain mint, it smelled like mountain mint, but I was surprised when the sign read Russian Sage. If I remember, I would like to get a plant or two for our garden in the country.

After stopping for lunch in the cafe, I left the Garden as the bells chimed two o’clock. I was very surprised — my knees DID NOT hurt. I was also very surprised when I learned that I had walked over 12,262 steps.

AFRICAN VIOLET

My father’s mother used to grow beautiful African violets. I didn’t pay attention to the care she gave them, I just liked the flowers — purple, white, doubles, pink. I bought an African violet when we first moved into our house and it promptly died. Not giving up easily — I bought another. Then another — and so on and so on. It didn’t take many plants before I learned that I didn’t have a green thumb. I didn’t know if I watered them too much or not enough. I learned that they needed to be watered from the roots — which I did. They had access to light, not bright sunshine but filtered light. Didn’t matter — they picked up their leaves and left.

Since I have had so much success with African violets, I am AMAZED that a plant that was given to me more than twenty years ago is still not only alive but thriving. I DON’T FERTILIZE IT, weeks go by when I forget to water it. It still blooms every spring. Sometimes it overgrows its pot, a portion of it wilts and the rest recovers.

This plant was given to me by MUSCLES. I think I have written at least one thought ramble about him, and referred to him in others. Muscles was a VERY DARK, elderly African American man. He adopted our family when our children were small. He took them to many Cub games and planted a garden in our back yard. His tomato plants were taller than our garage. Our back yard didn’t get much sun, so we didn’t get many tomatoes. He planted two apple trees and a lilac bush at our camper. Sadly because of the tornado, only the lilac bush is surviving and blooming.

So why do I mention this now. Because I remembered to water the plant today and it looks fantastic. More often than not I forget to water it and NEVER feed it. The only reason it is surviving is that thankfully someone unseen is taking care of it. I’ll admit that when I see the plant, I think of Muscles and the difference he made in our lives.

ENERGIZER BUNNY

I hate to admit it! I really hate to admit it but I’ve gotten OLD. Now I know that we have had an extremely busy couple of months. We were home a total of FOUR DAYS after we closed the camper for the winter. During that time I needed to put away all of the food that we didn’t eat during the summer, catch up on the mail, change summer clothes for winter and prepare for our next trip.

We were back home a total of five days before our grandchildren came for the weekend. The weekend was lovely — we took advantage of the good weather and went to the zoo. Next, after the kids went home –taking advantage of the good weather, I went to the Garden. Then we had a couple of back to back doctor visits. No rest for the weary!

Still switching clothes and getting ready for our granddaughter’s and great grand’s visit for Thanksgiving.
And COOKING in advance for the feast. Taking a break, getting off my feet — I watched a cooking show on Thanksgiving. Now I will admit that I have cooked turkey for many, many, many years. BUT I learned something new. The chef I watched recommended taking out the wishbone for easier cutting and removing the breast from the skeleton. I’ve deboned many chicken breasts so I TRIED IT! I couldn’t get the wishbone out BUT filleting the breast, cutting the meat when it was off the bone was EASY! I didn’t have to wrestle with the whole turkey. Hopefully I will remember this trick.

Granddaughter and great grand (3 years old) arrived. The visit was LOVELY — even Robin liked both of them. More family staying at the house — more out and about. I wanted some of the energy from the children. They DIDN’T SHARE! Our granddaughter had a bucket list of things she wanted to do. During the time span that they were in town I got more than 40,000 steps on my Fitbit. My daughter told me I was the energizer bunny — just keep going and going. She is right! I took more than 500 photos on my camera. Every day I prayed for ENERGY. The day that they were leaving we stopped at the Conservatory before heading for the airport. In the room that had a slide, a four year old girl was with her family. The two girls had a lovely time, the adults were able to enjoy their energy from ground level. I had to say “Thank You”. Now I know that many things just naturally occur in life, but I have had many years of receiving “help” from “my friends” and I DON’T TAKE that “help” for granted.

The “Grand’s are safely home and I’m charging my batteries. Oh, did you just say that Christmas is coming?

ALONE

The morning sunrise promised a beautiful day. The weatherman warned of an approaching front that would bring cool weather. We have been extremely fortunate — November and the temperature was still in the 60’s. We all knew that the summer weather couldn’t last, even though we were hoping it would. I asked my husband if he wanted to go to the Botanic Gardens, and I wasn’t at all surprised when he suggested I go by myself.

Since the Gardens is close to Lake Michigan, I knew the temperature might be cooler. I wore my hooded sweatshirt from Hawaii, topped with a yellow fleece vest. The vest had zipper pockets. I could travel without a purse, and still have room to safely carry my cell phone and wallet. Have camera, will travel! I was off.

Even though it was a beautiful day, the Garden wasn’t crowded. I parked closer, realizing that my knees might be problems on my return. The garden was already preparing for colder temperatures. The table in front that highlighted flowers was gone, but the front was ablaze with colorful purple mums. The entry arch’s were highlighted by yellow mums. The fountain in the lake was already off. I wondered about the waterfall. I was surprised by the roar of water. Looking for the source, I saw water bubbling up in the lagoon. Asking various garden workers, I learned they were emptying the fountains so the pipes wouldn’t freeze.

Although there weren’t as many blooming plants, I still found enough to catch my interest. Maybe I was paying more attention. At the camper, we had a plant with very interesting leaves. I bought it after the tornado, but if it had a name, I hadn’t written it down were I could find it. When we returned in October, the plant was covered with lovely daisies. At the garden that day, I learned the plant was Montauk Daisy, aster family, from Japan. One mystery solved.

Fall flowers were in bloom, Christmas lights were up and in some cases on. The leaves sported fall colors. I had plenty of opportunities to take pictures. The waterfall was still cascading down the hill. I stopped for awhile to enjoy the sound. I have to admit that I stopped more often than normal. My knees, although not screaming, were making their presence known. I’ll also admit, that I didn’t let them dictate my path — I walked my normal route — and the carillon bells were still ringing on the hour — although they were still on daylight saving time.

Crossing the bridge, I stopped to watch and photo a female mallard whose head was tucked under a wing as her feet continued to paddle. A tall gentleman was across the bridge standing near the waters edge with his camera focused. I wondered what he had found of interest. He showed me his photos and asked if he could take my picture. I now have two photos on my computer. The gentleman was from China, in our country 14 years. Chicago reminds him of home, it has the same four seasons.

I finally admitted I was hungry and headed for the cafe. They had a quinoa salad that I had been tempted to try. I bought a salad and picked up a plastic fork and a napkin, before heading outside. I found a table near the roaring water, put the salad, napkin and fork down before sitting down myself. THE NAPKIN AND FORK WERE GONE! WHERE? Not on the floor, not on a chair — not visible anywhere. I checked my pockets — empty. It wasn’t windy or even breezy — ?? I went back into the cafe to get another fork. I really don’t care for plastic utensils. There was a long line by the plastic utensils. I noticed they had metal silverware at another station. I’m STILL PERPLEXED! Where did they go? I was alone, wasn’t I?

IMAGES

I have been told many times that I have talents that I don’t use. No hints have been given as to what those talents are. I just keep muddling through — trying to do the best that I can. I have shared that I try to meditate, but only on a very rare occasion do I get an image or connection. Exactly what is supposed to occur when you meditate? I don’t know. Sometimes I will get an image, sometimes I will see light — blue, yellow, clear. Most of the time I have a blank screen where nothing happens. But sometimes I get a surprise.

I was at Botanical Garden — enjoying the sunshine, the breeze, the day. It was cool — jacket needed, I was glad my hat could be fastened. The daffodils were still in bloom, crab apple trees waiting for warmer weather. The waterfall was running. I stopped to catch my breathe and listen to the running water. Before I sat down, I read a note about the cherry trees that the Japanese government had given to Washington DC and also The Botanic Garden.

Sitting on a bench to rest, I closed my eyes and watched as a gray image dressed in ceremonial garb came towards me. The image stopped within touching distance — too close if it would have been an actual person. I was surprised by the image, and although I tried to discern more about it — the image disappeared before I could tell if it was male or female, and what the garments actually were. I just had the impression they weren’t normal American clothing.

From the waterfall, I wandered to the Japanese Garden. I usually try to stop and watch with closed eyes (meditate?) at one of the secluded areas but the Garden was too busy to try. As is my practice, I wandered over to the island, crossing the bridge through the wooded area, visiting my favorite places, talking to others and taking pictures.

At the end of the wooded area, in the sunshine, protected from the wind, I stopped again on a bench — closing my eyes. I was amazed to watch many gray figures wander past. I don’t remember most of them, but one was a farmer in overalls with a woman walking with him. They were proceeding down the path, heading for the entrance. I watched for a minute, then decided that maybe it was time to leave.

I stopped for a bite to eat at the cafe. Since it was a beautiful day, I wanted to sit outside. An oriental couple were leaving as I looked for an empty table. “Thank You” my response to my world. I saw a young woman looking for a place to sit. Everything was taken, so she sat on the bench by the fence. Since I was alone, I asked her to join me. SURPRISE (not really)– the woman was Japanese, a teacher who taught the Japanese language to her students in a high school.

SERENITY GARDEN REBORN

I found a copy of my thought ramble SERENITY GARDEN on my computer. I don’t know if I published it on my blog or included it in my book JOURNEY WITH ME. I found it interesting to read — the ramble reminded me of when the garden was created — my wilderness space removed and the serenity garden born with its bird bath, shepherd statue and 31 plants.

The tornado, fallen trees and equipment needed to clean up the mess took its toll on my garden. The seven sister rose survived, the sunrise sunset rose reduced to a few stems. A few green leaves showed were Hostas had been. Thankfully the bird bath, shepherd and angel boy holding the puppy survived. If I wrote that the garden was sad, I would be understating the fact. Too sad, I went shopping for plants and came back with a few annuals for color. Each trip ended with a few more plants for the garden, some annual, some perennial. .

Fast forward six weeks — imagine my surprise when I saw 6 roses in bloom. A couple of days later, I counted 14. Surprising me, more of the plants that I had purchased were in bloom — The shades of the garden was pink — the color of love. Most of the plants I had purchased had their price reduced, I thought their time to bloom was over. My original garden was planted for shade, because of the trees — the plants received less sun. Shade was not my concern when I searched for plants to fill up the empty space.

When we looked for a place to put the new plant, I hadn’t paid attention to what plants were annual and which would come back next year. The Hostas have regrown, and I will admit that I have added a few more. I didn’t pay attention to the space requirements of the plants — many will need to moved. Counting plants — I have 10 annuals — 10 spaces available for new plants next year or to give more room to those requiring space to grow. The Hostas have regrown, they will need more space too. We are planning to add a new, bigger deck. Some of the ground cover will need to be moved.

I will admit, if I see more plants at a reduced price, chances are they will come home with me. Fall is the time to plant — bulbs anyone?

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