302. So deeply is the gardener’s instinct implanted in my soul, I really love the tools with which I work – the iron fork, the spade, the hoe, the rake, the trowel, and the watering pot are pleasant objects in my eyes. ~Celia Thaxter

Toward seven o’clock every morning,
I leave my study and step out on the bright terrace;
Here my tools lie ready and waiting,
each one an intimate, an ally:
the round basket for weeds, there’s a rake here as well,
at times a mattock and spade,
or two watering cans…and a small hoe…
~Edited and adapted excerpt from a work by Herman Hesse


I have raked the soil and planted the seeds
Now I’ve joined the army that fights the weeds.
For me no flashing saber and sword,
To battle the swiftly marching horde;
With a valiant heart I fight the foe,
My only weapon a trusty hoe.
No martial music to swing me along,
I march to the robin redbreast song.
No stirring anthem of bugle and drum
But the cricket’s chirp and the honey bee’s hum.
No anti-aircraft or siren yell
But there’s Trumpet-creeper and Lily-bell.
With a loving heart and a sturdy hand,
I defend the borders of flower-land;
While high over Larkspur and Leopardsbane,
A butterfly pilots his tiny plane;
But I shall not fear his skillful hand,
My enemy charges only by land.
~Alma B. Eymann

So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.  ~Matthew 13:26    ✝

**photos via Pinterest

161. The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. ~Alfred Austin

So deeply is the gardener’s instinct implanted in my soul
that I really love the tools with which I work –
the iron fork, the spade, the hoe, the rake, the trowel,
and the watering pots are pleasant objects in my eyes.
~Celia Thaxter


The sidewalks were long and narrow that ran between the stucco houses, and high was the exterior wall of the two-story duplex two doors down from us on the seaward end of the block.  At the base of that duplex’s stucco wall was a shallow flower bed filled with pansies and strawberries, and about halfway down the wall was a door that separated the flower bed into two sections.  Behind the door was a storage area, a closet of sorts, and because the closet was under the front stairwell of the two story structure, it was one of those odd-shaped little niches with a downward sloping ceiling on one end.  In the closet’s mysterious, deeper recesses were all kinds of fascinating tools.  When the door to the closet was ajar, it meant Uncle was inside sitting on his stool, working on a yard or household project Auntie had commissioned.  The “doghouse” as he called it, was a rich and irresistible den of curiosities for a child, and in it with Uncle as tutor-in-residence I not only learned a great deal but also fell in love with a myriad of things.  The closet with its earthy smells and assorted contraptions was a magical place, and the gardening tools were as provocative a sight for young eyes as the images of the storybook gardens they conjured up.  Decades later when a friend commented that I live close to nature, I thought of that closet again and realized the lasting impression that it and Uncle had had on my life.  Then and there in a place that smelled of soil and sea I came to love and respect the earth for its charming and sometimes “shy presences”–the visible ones, the audible ones, the tangible ones, even the ones that dwell in dim obscurity.  Uncle’s closet and his tales gave birth to “stirrings” in me that ultimately led me to believe that all Creation is a holy gift to be cherished and that its Maker is to be adored and praised.

The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise Him and I will exalt Him.  ~Exodus 15:2   ✝


This is the duplex I’ve written about above, and in front of it are Auntie and Uncle as well as me and my two sisters, circa 1952.  We were dressed up for Easter Sunday in clothes made, starched, and ironed by our mother’s loving hands.  Since our grandparents lived in Texas and Illinois,  Aunt Stella and Uncle Walter were for all intents and purposes our “surrogate” grandparents.  (Uncle was actually the brother of my maternal grandfather.)