Another year of travel restrictions due to Covid has resulted in us spending almost all of the year at home, so most of the photographs this year have been taken locally or on ‘day trips’ from Glasgow. However as we look back on 2021 it’s amazing to remember all the interesting places we visited, some for the very first time, and the joy and peace we had in doing that. So here’s a picture or two per month!
Reflection: This year started with some optimism as vaccines were being rolled out, and the slogan ‘we will beat this together’ sounded more plausible, but then along came the variants!
Thankfully the latest Omicron variant is reported to be less severe than those that have gone before, so we pray that this downward trend will continue in 2022. A visit to Glasgow city centre just before Christmas told its own story. Gone was the sound of laughter and the bustling Christmas market in George Square. No ‘big wheel’, ‘flying chairs’, ‘helter skelter’or ice rink, fun and joviality had given way to just a few families with kids who had come to see the lights and the nativity scene, plus some folks handing out food and drink to the poor and homeless.
But hold on a minute, is ‘families with kids who had come to see the lights and the nativity scene, plus some folks handing out food and drink to the poor and homeless‘ more in keeping with the Christmas story, than a ‘lets eat and drink and be merry‘ lifestyle, especially in the current circumstances? The British Prime Minister caused outrage recently when it was disclosed that last winter some government departments were partying while people were self isolating and others mourning the loss of family and friends to Covid 19.
This Christmas I was caused to stop and think again about the reason for Christmas, which this new carol, so beautfully sung, challenges us to do. Take a minute to listen!
I hope you enjoy the photographs, and like me are challenged by the new carol.
Hope to see you again in the New Year. Every blessing to you and yours.
I was given a new arrow shaped notice by some of the family that simply says ‘Garden‘. So all that pass by are being encouraged to have a look. So no pressure, but we’d best keep the bit nearest the gate looking tidy 🙂
This year I tried growing different varieties of fruit and vegetables in the greenhouse with varying amount of success. Cucumbers, and tomatoes, in spite of early misgivings, have all produced a very good crop, tomatoes in fact a bumper crop. The coloured peppers have been ok, but the fruit has been a bit on the small side. Potatoes and carrots grown in bags and bucket have been fun to grow and I think the results were amazing. Cropped 100 potatoes from the ten sown, and the carrots yielded 22 from the bucket and plant pot. (See the video below)
After a promising start and much care and attention my bags of strawberries produced an abundance of leaves and shoots but only a handful of small strawberries. So what did I do wrong? Perhaps they were fed too much with a strawberry fertiliser bought online? Help please. My two small gooseberry bushes produced their first fruit this year, but not enough to make jam. The rhubarb also produced its first decent crop this year enough for some rhubarb crumble on a couple of occasions. The apple tree is looking good, but too early yet to pick them.
In my last garden report I was able to show you some of the flowers that were enjoyed earlier in the year, so here are some pics of those that have appeared since.
Now here’s the wee video on Carrots – ‘From Seed to Freezer‘
Today I spent time again in the garden and greenhouse. But yes, today has also been a day of deep reflection. As I sit here writing this blog infact, thoughts that I had earlier, have come flooding back, causing me to stop and ponder. After breakfast I was reading from a magazine a short report regarding life in the country of Northern Macedonia. I consider myself quite well versed in geography, but I knew little or nothing of this relatively new country in the Balklands, which was previously part of Yugoslavia. So that kept me busy for a while doing some research, looking at pictures of its people and countryside online and reading of the diversity of its people and its economic poverty. It is evidently amongst the poorest nations in the world, where people have suffered so much in my lifetime.
Then like everyone else we were confronted again on our tv screens by the chaotic scenes at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. The sense of fear and desperation was palpable in people’s voices and faces, as thousands make every effort to flee from the threat posed by the Taliban, after they so easily over-ran the country.
We have been recalling the promises made by Western Nations just a short 20 years ago, saying that we would never abandon the Afghan people. They must ring hollow in the ears of the Afghan people now.
We often say that the world now is a global village, but how helpless we feel in these situations to do anything which we feel would make a difference.
I was recounting that Jesus was in Israel at the time of the Roman occupation and oppression. There is the lovely story in Matthew’s account of his life, where it says ‘Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ What an apt expression of people in Afghanistan and in so many parts of our world today, ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’
Last night our Church was praying especially for the situation in Afghanistan, and for all those ‘harrassed and helpless’, perhaps in the near future we can help be the answer to our own prayers. Meantine the message of Jesus’ love and compassion continues to be beamed around the world. His death and resurrection make fulness of life to all who will come to him a reality.
How blessed to have a garden, and to live in a country that has known peace for the last 75+ years.
It was a very cold Spring here in Scotland, but in early May the weather started warming up at last. Here is an update on the garden and greenhouse –
Daffodils were a bit of a disappointment this year as a spell of frost and snow arrived just as the flowers were about to open, but amazingly some did survive, and the tulips coming on a bit later more than compensated as they seemed to go and on!
It’s nice to see the rhododendrons and clematis in flower again, without too much effort from me, and also the shrubs and bushes bursting into life, not to mention the apple tree and lilac, which shout out to you ‘summer has come’! I’m afraid I haven’t done too much this year in the way of planting ‘annuals’, but I have however planted from seed some french marigolds, sunflowers, tom thumbs, coleus and cornflower, and some begonia corms.
The greenhouse is doing fairly well, and this year I’m trying to grow quite a few different fruits and vegetables. Cucumber ‘F1 Socrates’ is proving to be fantastic, the cucumbers are smaller in size but delicious in taste and are cropping very well. Tomatoes are Tigerella, Shirley F1 and Ferline F1. The latter is one I’m trying for the first time, it seems to be struggling a bit, but it may come away yet. There is a variety of peppers, three bags of potatoes, one bucket of carrots (Autumn King 2) and two bags of strawberries, and lots of ‘tom-thumb’ lettuce. So between cutting the grass and keeping everything in trim its enough to keep me busy. Here are some photographs of progress so far.
With the wonders of camera, computer and the www, I have been able to show you the best of my garden and greenhouse. What I haven’t shown you are the plants some slugs have eaten, the parts of paths that need weeding, or my Spring plant pots that have yet to be emptied and cleaned. In a small garden it is difficult to find a spot to hide them away 🙂 I guess if you are a gardiner you are in much the same boat!
Got me thinking, ‘social media’ is a bit like that, we (including me) tend to emphasise the positives and try and bypass the negatives. The ‘about me’ section on Facebook usually paints a glowing picture of the person we would like others to believe that we are, and seldom do you find folks telling you how they have messed up! But of course we all do at times.
I’m reading a book this month entitled ‘Gentle and Lowly‘ by Dane Ortlund, concerning Jesus Christ he says, ‘in the four gospels accounts given to us in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John there are 89 chapters of text, but there is only one place where Jesus describes his heart. (The heart in biblical terms is the centre of who we are, what defines and directs us) So what will this man Jesus, who claimed to be the Son of God say? He says, ‘I am gentle and lowly in heart’. Ortlund goes on to say ‘The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger, but open arms’!
You can read the full words of Jesus in Matthew 11 v 28-30. Jesus said – “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Now there is an open invitation, but folks are so loathe to come.
So I’m thinking, what two words would you or I use to truly define ourselves on social media? Mmmm, let me get back to you on that …..
Well ours started with great promise in the Spring, but like most years it has had it successes and disappointments as the year has progressed. Never-the-less it always gives us great pleasure, and overall is looking very pleasing to the eye. Of course it also gives you a sore back and shoulders at times 🙂
I was a bit late in getting started in the greenhouse this year, as I was trying to cut down on the heating costs. For my tomatoes I tried using some more expensive seeds that I had stored from last year, when they were a great success. They seemed to grow well initially but are currently looking not so good. It may be down to the watering system that I am re-using, which I had tried once before without a great amount of success. It supposedly allows the plants to draw water when / and what, they need, but I wonder if it draws too much water in the colder days and not enough when the plants are growing? I would appreciate comments from fellow gardeners.
I have also grown flowers for planting out. Nothing too exotic – Antirrhinums, Cosmos, Aubrietta, Narsturtiums, sun flower and geraniums, and as always had more seedlings than I knew what to do with!
One of the borders next to the hedge I’ve covered with cloth and stone chips, and re-arranged it with flower pots. I always felt that my plants there did not do too well because of the hedge, but I also am trying to reduce my garden maintenance now that I’m an octogeranian!
A special success was the planting out an acer tree, which had been in a pot for years, and I had to cut the root to get it out of the pot. I did not give it much chance of success, but amazingly it seems to be thriving now that it has been set free.
I trust your garden is giving you pleasure too, and if you don’t have one there are plenty of wonderfull gardens around to enjoy. We recently visited Kellie Castle Garden in Fife – wonderful!
Today I received ‘J Parkers Autumn’ catalogue encouraging me to plan for Spring! HaHa, oh well it is good to keep planning ahead!
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.“