Monday, November 8, 2021

The early morning and a UFO finish...

 As our tropical heat arrives earlier each day in this late spring season, I make my way outside at 5:15am each morning to water the garden, do a bit of weeding, mulch where there is a need, and generally try to keep things flourishing for as long as possible.

I was surprised in the pre-dawn this morning to see that a sprinkle of rain had fallen - not enough to nourish roots, but certainly enough to provide a pretty raindrop display on the roses. 

This is my Black Madonna, a long stemmed red rose which I cut for display inside the house. When left too long outside the delicate petals burn to a crisp under our scorching tropical sun, so I always have one, two, or even three small vases of blooms inside.

The past few days I've been gently tending a huge sunflower which has been withering badly. It grew near the bird feeder, and as we feed the cockatoos a healthy diet of sunflower seeds each day it was no surprise to see a few of these gorgeous yellow blooms begin to sprout in the ground below, however, they never grow more than two feet high. 
This one is over five feet and simply stunning, but last week if fell over in the night (or a critter knocked it over) and when I walked out back in the morning it's root ball was fully exposed and it lay horizontal on the ground. Upset, I showed hubby and he quickly replanted it, warning me that he did not think it would survive.

I prayed - and yes, it may seem silly to pray for a flower, but flowers are a gift from God and they bring me a very deep sense of calm and happiness. They are one of the things I have come to identify as nourishing to my soul, which is why the garden in bloom brings me delight and great satisfaction.

Well, it looked pretty bad the next day, but I watered it, added some worm castings, and prayed again. The next day it had perked up but later that afternoon, after another scorching day, it was limp again. The flower head was closed tight and hubby reminded me again that things looked grim. But still I prayed and watered and watched.

This morning, a small miracle...

If you could have seen me jumping for joy, praising God and shouting hallelujah at 5:15 this morning you would have wondered what on earth was going on...I'm sure that's what the neighbours thought!

But there was a lesson in this. Don't give up, don't lose hope. I'd invested my time and prayers, kept a watchful eye on how this fallen sunflower was recuperating after replanting, and sought to improve the soil around it's root system - hopeful that it would revive and strengthen. 
That's what God wants me to do with the people and situations in my life which have fallen over or are struggling - HOPE, PRAY, and be ready to do practical things if there's a greater need. 
God always has a lesson to share, even when it's just a flower struggling in the garden. With Him, nothing we learn is wasted.

Also in the garden, the 1 year old elder trees are flowering again. I am hopeful they bear some berries this time around...

...because their first flush of flowers turned black and dry very fast, with no berries at all. I'm thinking it's from our heat, or the sun really - I can't tell you how fierce the scorch is from the sun where I live.

Actually, it was nice to get photos this morning before the sun came over the mountain. 
Our lemon tree is heavy with fruit...

...and the shrubs and trees are blooming too. 

Zinnias are self seeding everywhere, which is a real blessing because I won't need to plant them again, but so funny to see them popping up in pots and garden beds all over the yard. This one came up beside a bed of spring (green) onions.

The marigolds have self seeded as well, right beside one of our many clumps of aloe, and boy are they pretty! That's another sunflower beside them...

Hubby planted a blackberry bush a few months back, one which apparently does well in the tropics, and after a slow start it's really taken off this past month so we've put an old clothes drying rack over it as a frame to grow across.

That pink flower behind the blackberry frame is a gorgeous desert rose. It was a gift from our neighbour when we lived closer to the city, and she'd raised it from seed. When she gave it me I think it may have been just 1" high. 
My neighbour was a French marine biologist named Veronique, and when we planted it in our garden (just after we bought the house at the end of 2018) I named it after her. Let me introduce you to Veronique, the desert rose...

Elsewhere, here's a few things which are still doing well (with lots of water and care).

Thai basil (which the blue-banded bees adore)...

Birds Eye Chillies

Lobelia, still flourishing in a shaded spot.

More zinnias, but these were planted as seedlings between the Hyssop and the Tarragon.

Strawberries, still (very) surprisingly bringing forth fruit!

Last Friday I had Blossom and the children come spend the day and Cully May requested "Could you make blueberry and raspberry muffins please, Nana?"
The girls LOVE raspberries and will eat a punnet each within seconds of arrival, or should I say they inhale them within seconds? If you've watched a teenage boy eat, you'll understand what I'm talking about! I scattered white choc chips on top because Blossom loves them, so everyone's taste buds and tummies were very content, and I only needed one punnet of raspberries.

On Saturday morning I had to pick up my new computer/reading glasses. I don't usually go anywhere on Saturday but this was the only appointment I could get to have them checked and adjusted.
These are my new Cath Kidston spotty specs...aren't they lovely? 

On Sunday I finished the UFO which featured in my little hanging tabs tutorial (HERE).  Those tabs came in handy as a cushion closure for the back, and just so you can see how I did that here's a few photos.

Next time I'll increase the overlap of these two sections for the cushion back, but I was making this up as I went along and that's usually when you learn a few things which could be changed next time. 
Still, I do love the way this looked and will definitely repeat the idea in my next cushion project.

Here's the completed cushion, and if you like the embroidery used for the front it's HERE.

The cushion is small (9.5" x 12") because I needed a new one for my hands to rest on as I do hand embroidery. You see I don't use a hoop, but rest my hands on a soft cushion instead, and this gives me more control in how I stitch - it's also how I'm able to do such tiny backstitch. 

I'm really happy with how this turned out, so that's one UFO complete and now I can't wait to begin my next UFO project. 
As I mentioned in October, my plan is to complete (at least) one UFO project every month, from now until the end of 2022, and I invited all of you to join me. Have you been looking through your UFOs and put some aside to finish in the coming months/year?

I'll have some tutorials to share in the months ahead which may help with orphan stitcheries, but I'll also show you some of my larger projects which have lingered far too long, hidden away in darkness where it's easy to avoid them. Let me know what you're planning to work on first, okay?

Now I'd best sign off for today and go put that chicken in the oven or it won't roast itself, and I have a pile of vegetables to prepare too - parsnip, potato, pumpkin, red onions, beetroot, asparagus and broccoli. Gosh I love my veggies, especially roasted parsnip, though my dear husband believes it would be best mashed and used as cement. Sigh.

Bless you dear friends; and thank you for dropping by, reading, and leaving comments to share your own thoughts, because YOU are very interesting and I love to hear about your own plans and ideas. 

Drop by again on Wednesday as I'm sharing a gorgeous free pattern, plus you'll see my November UFO project.

Biggest hugs


mammacarol said...

I want you to know I truly appreciate your blog. I love your expressions of faith because it helps to strengthen my own, though we may be coming from different backgrounds as far as religion is concerned. It is very comforting to know that there are people in this world who have deep faith in God and trust in Him. I love your stitcheries and hope to make some of them in the future. Right now, I have problems with a trigger finger, which I hope to soon resolve so I can start doing embroidery projects again. Thank you for your talents and love of nature. Carolyn

CarolE said...


Your new glasses are so cute! I am do for new glasses and I am thinking I will get something fun like these! I love seeing pictures of your garden. I consider myself to be somewhat of a "black thumb" when it comes to gardening, but I have recently retired and I'm going to give it a go. Have a wonderful day.

Fran said...

Thanks for the glimpses of your lovely garden. Here on the west coast of Canada it has been pouring for many weeks and the snow is creeping down the mountainsides, lower each day as we head into winter. The new glasses are very cute!

Fran said...

Forgot to mention - I have many UFOs so am enjoying the inspiration to tackle some in the coming year.

Deb E said...

I love your glasses! You look like a much younger Meryl Streep in that photo. Looking at your lovely garden gives me hope for our garden. We just bought this place in late August and the back yard was a desert - not a tree or bush or plant in sight, and the prior owner removed the trees from the front, as well. We've had rain since, which I'm thankful for as we live in Northern California & have had many fires up in the foothills and other areas. One of the lovely things about the rain is we now have lots of green in the back yard, but sadly, 90% of that is weeds. We are busy planning what to do with the garden, both front & back now. We'll be planting lots of trees, of course, but keeping in mind where the water & sewer pipes are in the front so we don't cause ourselves problems in the future. I'd love to plant some redwood trees, but will have to settle for some smaller trees such as maples, chinese pistache & crepe myrtle. I enjoy your blog very much & look forward to reading it, its lovely to hear from a fellow Christian. I lived outside Melbourne for a year from 1973-1974 (I was an exchange student) and we spent a lovely holiday near Cairns in 1998....Australia is near & dear to my heart. Deb E

Gayner said...

Thank you for all the ideas you continue to give us. Would it be possible for you to show me how you use a cushion to rest your hands while you embroider.

Dorothy Matheson said...

In Feb this year Texas had the deep freeze for a week and we lost power for a week. No power no heat in house or greenhouses. I have plants that I have had for years and they all looked dead. The one I was most upset was the Tie Constilation that I spent way too much money for. It came with 4 leaves and just sat in the pot for most of a year and then finally grew one new leaf. Well after the first night of no power I brought it in the house because even a little above freezing was better than below. So a week or so later I cut it back to the green part of the stem and let it sit. I watched and even made a few prayers for it. I am happy to report that it has recovered and now has 5 leaves again. 4 on the original stem and an off shoot stem has the 5th one. There is another off shoot stem so I have hope it will also continut to grow and make a leaf. Many of the rest of the plants recovered and grew this year. Dorothy

terricheney said...

When I was a girl my grandmother wore a perfume called "Desert Rose". It was fun to see a 'desert rose' in your photos today.

Susan said...

I always love seeing your garden pictures. It's starting to get close to freezing and our flowers are getting damaged and dying down, along with beautiful red and yellow fall leaves coming on. I like the way you use the garden to learn lessons and then share them with us, too. Your muffins look delicious! Funny about Mr. E's feelings on parsnips. I quite like them and they make a wonderful soup that can be served hot or cold. I'm not stitching anything right now, since my hands are so shaky and out of control. It will come back in a few months, but right now, I enjoy just seeing yours.

Dots said...

Hi Jennifer, Your new specs are lovely on you! Love the color and dots,too. The frame is nice for the shape of your face. I worked, and retired from, an optical lab. I was a Final Inspector.I checked the Rx in the lenses before they when to the Doctor. So I notice glasses.
Yes. God really has lessons for us all. If we are paying close attention we will see them constantly.Learning in much amazement sometimes. Food for thought.
Your muffins look pretty and good!
Be well, Jennifer.

De said...

Hello, Love your spotie glasses very becoming! It looks like your elder did bloom in your second picture, spotted some little black berries and some green ones too. As soon as they turn ripe and black the birds eat them like crazy! Thank you for all your thoughts and takings time to share them. Be blessed! De in US

Anonymous said...

Love the glasses, having worn them for over forty years I'd love to own some spotty specs... Soon perhaps!

Lin said...

As always Jennifer, lovely to see pictures of your interesting garden and great to see the sunflower flourishing under your care. xx

Janni Harlick said...

Hi Jennifer, I have the same reading glasses! I simply love them. Your blog was quite a read today (thank you) and I just love all the beautiful photos of your garden. Your faith inspires me all the time and brings a real lift to my spirit. Thank you for being you!

Kay said...

Every year I say that I will get through my UFOs and every year I do get a couple of them done but as I start new projects some join the UFO pile so at the end of the year it’s about the same size. Right now I am working on a couple of Christmas presents which I want finished this month, and then onto a Christmas cross stitch UFO. The muffins look lovely, I must try adding chocolate chips to my fruit muffins. X

Joan said...

Thank you for sharing the story of the sunflower. My daughter has been wandering away from God for some time- saved as a child, my Katie has decided that God’s agenda is not hers, and she has accepted the world’s view on many topics. I realized as I read your post that My prayers for her have recently been a little sporadic, a little less direct. I needed to remember that God is always answering our prayers, even if He is saying “Wait!”. His timing is perfect. Thankful for folks who remind me that God loves my daughter even more than I do, and she is in His care.

Barwitzki said...

Great flowers, full of summer with you, wonderful to look at. Thanks. Your muffins look really good. But the photo with your new reading glasses is just stunning ... good mood Greetings from Viola to you

Barwitzki said...

...yes, I also have UFOs ... but I also make new things out of old :-))) and that makes me happy.

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for the early morning garden tour :) Great idea to use an old drying rack !
Fun and cheery selfie with your new glasses :)
I'm writing this here on the evening of the 9th and the post above is already the 10th !
UFO's....I have blocks from a pannel that I would like to put together in a fun and creative way.
Looking forward to your projects and tutorials :)
hugs, take care,

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
All Creatures Great and Smaal season 2 starts this evening !

MargaretP said...

Hi Jennifer, your "Yesterday, today and tomorrow " can cause headaches, please be careful.

Ondrea said...

Your garden is so delightful and you must get a lot of pleasure looking at everything. Lol, Cully May loves raspberries like C loves blueberries. It is good that they enjoy berries so much. Your cushion is very sweet as are all your projects. I had to laugh when you said how early you get up in the morning as I have just been asleep for 2 to 3 hours at that time. It would be a lovely time of day up there.

Christine M said...

I love your new glasses Jennifer. I've got some Cath Kidston ones too but they're not as flash as yours! Your cushion is lovely. I've made that block and it's sitting in my box of completed blocks waiting to be made into something. xx

Nancy in IN said...

Love when you tell me what plants I am looking at. In Indiana we are into late fall. The acorns and walnuts are really heavy. A lot of the acorns have small roots. I don't remember seeing this before. Love the look of the muffins. Did I miss the recipe for these? My hubby and I share a muffin at supper time. I make homemade applesauce which we eat with it. Next week I will make a big bowl with fresh pineapple plus whatever fresh fruit I have plus a can of apple pie filling. I use orange juice as the liquid.
Thanks for all you do. Take care of yourself and rest.

Anonymous said...

I read this blog at 4 a.m. as I was awake with worry and anxiety. Your sunflower story calmed my mind and gave me a sense of peace. God is here whether it is for a sunflower or a child.

KingsailK said...

Love the new glasses and your lovely smile and blog as always! Thank you. BLESSINGS XML