Catch for us the fat groundhogs…the ones that spoil the crops

Well the garden continues to be a learning curve. I knew last year was a miracle. I threw the seeds in a row, Ben secured the borders, I fought thistles enthusiastically and we harvested and harvested. And I fell in love.

And This year…. (loud cricket chirps)

The topsoil is super thin here, so Ben brought dirt from a brother in law. It was wet when it arrived. He carefully leveled it off (all 5 dump truck loads) and tilled it. As soon as I had the green light, I rushed out with my seeds with the same level of energy.

Everything came up decent except the beets. But I soon realized something was wrong. Like someone hit the pause button and the plants quit growing.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” I tell myself every time I help Mother with her garden and notice that all of her plants are way ahead of mine 🤔

Then it hit me that maybe my garden just needs a good drink. To be fair, the entire Valley needs a drink of water, but I’m only responsible for my little section.

So I drug the hose and started watering. That certainly didn’t hurt anything. I’m still going to take some soil samples in to see what’s lacking, but I was so excited to see the lettuce that’s been standing still for 6 weeks grow by leaps and bounds. Visions of salads danced through my head as I watered.

Last night, I told Ben I was going to look at the garden before I fixed supper. (I know, I’m a little obsessed)

It’s hard to follow all the different “guaranteed to work” diet plans, but remember whenever everyone would just eat salad and lose piles of weight? Well I’m here to say that doesn’t work.

As I stepped out of the house the FATTEST groundhog went hobbling down the hill with my entire lettuce crop in his well rounded tummy. I wanted to cry.

This used to be a full row of leaf lettuce 🥹

When we secured the borders of the garden this year, we only put mesh fencing on 3 sides, and left the board fence beside the house as the last side. So he just waddled on in here and helped himself.

The ox was in the ditch and we made short work of closing off the last side- because I knew that once he had garden on his breath, we are in a heap of trouble.

I’m amazed at how diligent my garden surveillance has become. The middle of night finds flashlight beams sweeping down the rows. First thing in the morning- my sleepy eyes are straining to make sure that tuft of dead grass isn’t a varmint eating my crop. I’m desperate to protect what’s mine.

Song of Solomon 2: 15 Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”

This scripture hit me pretty hard as I’m continuing my guard duty until my resident sharp shooter eliminates the opponent.

There are so many pressures that sneak in around the main fences I’ve put in place and threaten to destroy. They’re hungry for my peace and joy. They’re after my relationships (whether it’s with God, my husband, or my family) They dig up old pain from the past. They leave me in a mess.

How much energy am I putting into establishing strong borders and protecting the things that will affect my eternal destination?

Gal 6: 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

…Catch for us the fat groundhogs… the ones that spoil the crop…

Another timely reminder from the garden 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼


Bonus Pics:

3 weekends ago, we had the best surprise company 🤩

Cutest little pacifier addict in all the land

How to tell your dad is involved in prison ministry: sings “the Farmer in the Dell” as “the Farmer in the Jail” 😂

A quick trip to Missouri got me away from panicking over the garden for a few days 😂

And finally: Went to the garden before I posted this and found a new unwelcomed visitor 🤔 do snapping turtles eat lettuce too? 🤷🏻‍♀️

A Time for Everything 🌱🌾🌽

The year is 1986. In my minds eye, I can see her sitting in her rocking chair in the little brick house on the side of Mole Hill, pouring over the seed catalog. Maybe it was a distraction from the care of a stroke patient. Maybe it was Papa himself who selected the packet of Indian corn.

My great grandad Franklin Good suffered a stroke in ‘85 and lived until March of ‘86. His wife Stella and daughter Edith cared for him during his Illness.

Again I see her-this time in the garden. It’s the spring of the year. I know they were missing all the things that Papa always took care of at planting time, but she bravely carried on. One small row of Indian corn. Did she think about the new life in the family as she carefully patted the seeds in the ground? Down in the Valley below, a great nephew- Reuben Swope Rhodes III was born. On the other side of Mole Hill, a great niece was added to the family- just ahead of corn planting time. Miss Juanita Evelyn.

And once more I see her, the dreary days of November are here. The corn must be harvested and put away. The garden must be cleared off. They’d survived the first garden without Papa’s advice. And that’s something to be thankful for. Also reason to be thankful-another great niece is born- a dark haired child this time- Kendra Dawn…

Vanilla and Chocolate 😂 Juanita and Kendra
My Rhodes grandparents and RSR III, Juanita, Anthony, Kendra Christmas’87

37 years later, the extended Good family gathered at the same little brick house on Mole Hill to disperse the last items from the Estate. It was a beautiful day filled with bright sunshine and laughter and a few tears as we remembered the lives lived.

My Grandmother Margaret beside my pile of auction goodies. I know it was a hard day for her. Parting with family is painful. Aunt Edith was her baby sister.

I paid $3 dollars for Aunt Edith’s garden box. In that box I found the partially used packet of Indian corn seed. Will they grow? I’m out of nothing to try.

And as I lovingly pat the seeds in the ground, I reflect on the cycle of life… Eccl 3:1 There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die,a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Regardless of whether I harvest 37 year old Indian Corn this fall or not, may the seeds/examples of faith, truth, and godly living inspired by my greats multiply in my own life and grow to glorify God.

Happy planting,


A few of things my nephews and I “yove”:

My nephews are quite the little conversationalists these days. I was on the phone with Deb and suddenly a new voice joined us “Hey Aun’ Ten what you doing’?” Zander talks well and remembers everything 🤯 but “K” and “L” trip him up occasionally.

“I’m on the way to walk chickens buddy, what’s up?”

“Are the chickens big or yiddle?”

At this point we had to repeat the question about 3 times until I figured out that Alexander was asking the size of the chicken and the conversation went on from there… “they are just medium sized.”

“Aun’ Em has yiddle chickens” he told me.

They’ve packed on a few pounds in the few weeks since you were here-but yes- they were little. 😂❤️

The twins hold their own quite well when it comes to conversations. There’s still a few sounds they haven’t conquered like “H” is mostly silent and “L”. “Yook! Yook at me, Aunt Ken, I’m right ‘ere!

Isaiah was quite impressed with the fish playground on stop #17 on Aunt Em’s treasure hunt. (Expect a blog on that eventually but the hunt is still ongoing- so 😅💪🏼)

Uriah rode with me in the cutter several days ago and he kept up a constant chatter. “Me wanna talk on the radio” he announced. “Me wanna say sometin’ to Papa” so I obliged and Ria announced to the entire crew: “ I yove Papa, I yove God, I yove Zaya, and I yove Jesus.”

“And I yove you” he assured me once the radio chatter had ceased.

I love that they are so verbal about what they love. In fact, I flat yove it.

I also yove crocs on the wrong feet of a little farm boy.

And that’s not all that I “yove”:

Grandfather couldn’t stand the thought of being without a dog for the first time since 1981, so he was very happy to welcome Dandy Snickerdoodle Gildersleeve to the family. We yove you, little mutt and ‘ope you grow to be a fine young hound.

This week the cold snap has the garden kind of shivering, but I’m super excited to watch it grow again this year. I still can’t fathom how excited my garden makes me 🙈 but I can’t help it- I just yove it.

Gideon is on the move recently. He seems to realize that his big brothers have a couple years head start and he’s trying his best to keep up.

Julia sent me this. Her house is so full of laughter. I yove that too.

And Miss Maria- we’re not to the stage of chatting about chickens on the phone- but she’s just a little honey- I yove her too.

And one more thing since this is turning into a life update- I really do enjoy the little random scenes I encounter with my travels. I guess these Amish children wanted to make sure their stick pony didn’t run away in their absence. 😂 I yove it when I’m feeling up to the long hours required with travel. Thank you, Jesus.

A few of the things that I yove, and definitely reasons to be thankful. What’s on your list?