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Tuesday, August 14, 2012
All Things Bright and Beautiful—Carolyn Wilker
I was a little girl in Sunday School, I learned the song “All Things Bright and
Beautiful.” As a five-or six-year-old, it didn’t matter who wrote the song.
Neither was it important that the song was ages old, only that it was something
that I cared about.
researching this song, I see that it was written originally as a poem in the
1800s, specifically for young children. Cecil
Frances Alexander wrote about flowers that open, ripe
fruit in the garden, birds that sing, and how God made and loves them all. After
singing the song so often in Sunday School, much of it is deeply rooted in my
line came to me as I walked through our local farmer’s market last week: “The
ripe fruits in the garden, he made them everyone.” I knew what I would write
about this week. Such a wonderful array of colour—the red of apples and raspberries,
the green of pears, peas and beans, pink
blush on peaches, purple eggplant and so much more.
end to the bounty from people’s gardens. It reminded me of the garden we had
when I was growing up and my first garden as a young 4-H member.
Tomatoes from my garden
no wonder then that I come home with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Peaches, apples, tomatoes, potatoes, red pepper and more. No wonder my kitchen smells like a canning
factory in summer. This summer it has already been filled with the scent of
tomatoes and peaches as I made fruit relish, and cucumbers and dill for dill pickles.
There will be peaches too, when I get to them.
course, it’s a lot of work keeping a garden. We have one at our home—very small
compared to the one my mother kept, or even my garden when I was 13.We prepare the soil, cultivate and till until
the soil is soft and friable. After marking out long straight rows, it’s time
to plant seeds; then after the plants start to grow, the thinning and the weeding.
I wondered some days if we’d ever get to the end of the row.
There was time in the garden picking
strawberries, peas or beans, and afterwards podding the peas and “snibbling”
the beans. We relied on sunshine and rain for the plants to produce their
fruits, then ate the produce fresh from the garden, and preserved even more for
winter. The overflow we shared with our neighbours or friends who came to our
garden to pick what we didn’t need and put extra food on their tables.
for two summers our family grew cucumbers for the Matthews-Wells Company. We
had green fingers, literally, from picking every other day, rain or shine.
Every time we passed the pickle aisle in the grocery store for years afterwards,
we remembered those hours in the garden.
the end of a growing season, after all the harvest was in, my mother had the
satisfaction of enough food stored up to feed her family until the next summer.
Not too much, but enough in jars and freezer bags. Then in winter, my mother
bought only those fruit or vegetables we didn’t grow, and we ate well until the
next growing season.
This morning after writing my column, I went
out to my garden and picked fresh tomatoes and basil. We still rely on the
sunshine and rain—and during a drought, our water barrels. I feel that same satisfaction when harvest is
in, and in winter when we eat peaches, tomatoes or beans, that we can enjoy the
food before us.
Indeed, we have many gifts from our creator
who has good things in store for us.