mowing and pruning and boys…

teacuppamela.pngIt was such a strange day today. Strange bcz it was peculiarly quiet and strange bcz it was so cold… yet, bcz it was sunny out, the children were delighted to play all day—even the work was play for them today.

Yet another boy has mastered the mowing and was so thrilled to be making patterns in the grassy yard where the volleyball “court” is. I looked out to see him practically running as he eagerly mowed that portion of our yard. It was shear delight to him as he saw his work take shape and was utterly pleased with the outcome. I smiled as I thought of that little boy who, only recently it seems, was too short and not quite strong enough to use the mower. But now, an accomplished gardener! ~wink~ I stood there thinking to myself: wow…. this is now our sixth son to reach this milestone. Where did the time go?
I stood there a bit longer… different memories seemed to replay before me… I thought of volleyball games, tether-ball and kick-ball. I thought of the exuberant children playing “Red-Rover…” and all the running around. And then I thought of that yard that was, only a few months ago, covered in water and again I marveled at the swift passage of time.

As I walked around the yard to inspect all the rose bushes I was thrilled to see all the new shoots and leaves. O, the deep pruning each February always grips me… sort of like deep pruning in my own life and heart… deep down I wonder, will things ever grow again? And, as each Spring continues, the answer is obvious: yes. But you know… pruning a rose bush is sort of like giving a boy a haircut. You know you might make a mistake here and there, but eventually the hair grows a little and the smile on the face sort of covers over a lot of errors you might’ve made. So, also, the bushes will fill out and give you smiles and fragrance later. Speaking of smiling… I smiled at the old climbing rose bush – the one I dug up from Wes’ Dad’s ranch… the one that appeared to be dead through and through and yet I dug it up anyway and planted it a few years ago here in our yard. Well, not only was it *not* dead, it was to become the most prolific of all the roses in the gardens. Already divided several times, it’s a thrill to me to see just how alive it is! I think Dad would’ve marveled at these beautiful rose bushes! Well… beautiful is what they will be in a month or two. For now, some are recovering from their recent pruning.

Boys are often a bit too zealous to eliminate the old canes and the bushes sustain a pruning that’s a bit more aggressive than might have been necessary. But I like to have boys out there doing all sorts of phases of gardening so that they get a handle on the processes and the seasons and what to anticipate in each. This way, they sort of get in on the whole spectrum and see the results of proper pruning and well… the results of overly aggressive or improper pruning. Let’s just say that some years the bushes and the trees were given a nice long rest from producing fruit. And we go through a canning season and make no applesauce. I must confess, I was sort of glad the couple of years with no apples that I didn’t have sauce to can (but I regretted it months later when popping open jars of applesauce would have been a delectable treat!) So, when there’s been a very power-packed pruning job and I can see the trees are going to rest from producing any fruit… I tell the young men, in that case, the tree will be that much stronger next year. I try not to belabour the point… it’s just not worth it. They get it. Besides… we’re talking about trees. They’re just trees. Boys are surely more precious than trees.
So the boys are beginning to see they’re very capable and they’re also seeing how much they help me—and O, I let them know it. I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as heaping too much praise on a boy. Sort of like cups of milk and chocolate chip cookies… to a boy, there’s no such thing as too many of those, either. Well, at least they don’t think so, anyway.


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