Winter is Orchid Time

“As a plant that grows and rests on its host so I depend on You, my God, Creator and host of the planet earth, for all of my life’s needs.”

c.e. hollis

Orchids are a winter flower. When the days are overcast, snow blown and cold here it is spring in the southern hemisphere and the orchids are blooming. The tree bark that gives them a hanging on place where frequent short-lived rainfalls soak their exposed roots, gives them all the nourishment they need.

The orchid is not a parasite plant like ivys and mistletoe that can overwhelm and kill a tree. They take their own food and water and sunlight and give back sturdy blooms that can last two months before they fade. I love the centers of the blooms that look like little angels with spread wings or like little girls in Sunday dresses.

I have never seen orchids growing in the wild woods. All mine come from store or flower shops and I cannot say as I have ever seen one outside an orchid show or as a decoration in a home or office building.

These plants are dependent on the host tree for a stable place to live. They must be up where rain can freshen them and where their the roots can dry. They must have sunlight––but also shade. They use those roots too to glue themselves in the crevices of tree bark. They hold tight never loosening their grip, and in such a trust I hope to live in this world dependent and holding to God as my stabilizer. I need protection of His strength and the shade of His canopy over me. I need the life He gives to hold onto.

Make me an orchid, Lord, in your garden.

Autumn Afield

The sun setting over the water runs like a golden thread through the needle that sews the seasons into the quilt of the year.

The days are shorter in the fall. Trees daily losing their leaves, flowers fading, grass turning brown. Soon all becomes brown and barren, looking and worse with all the junk and problems of farms, barns, and houses becoming visible. No screen of green hides the ugly and stained. No grass filled ditches hide the litter unscrupulous persons toss from their open car windows. All is open to see and to injure the soul through the eye. What is that? An old couch and some mattresses turned out along the road. A junky piece of old useless auto or a broken down appliance. So junk becomes landscape.

Winter otherwise gives us the beauties of bare trees and scrubs where I see shapes, outlines, silhouettes and statuary which summer had hidden. The blackbirds in their swirling flocks pass up, around , and down and it is a wonder to watch them––like poetry on the wind.

Snow and ice is rare here but when it comes it is as often followed the next day by bright sunlight we are dazzled by the glowing glittery glory of it.

The best of the season is waking to the smell of the woodstove fire and the scent of strong arabica coffee. The evenings we spend sitting back by the woodstove, its door propped open so we can hear the crackle and sizzle of the wood burning. Conversation flows or we sit and I read aloud while Ron cracks out pecans for the holiday baking. The wood and ashes are messy, but the wood fires loved by all who visit because of the warmth and friendliness of it.

Autumn is not a long season here. It comes in late with October’s harvest moons and the Monarch butterflies’ migration from northern places to the south side of Mexico. It gives us windy wet days to harvest pumpkins, apples, and pears. It allows two or threes days to enjoy open windows and the absence of summer heat. Then autumn turns chill and cloudy and the days shorter and shorter. Wham––cold! Winter is sudden yet we know we will have warm days interspersed and what we call Indian summer.

We know that the crocus blooms and daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips will soon follow. Our winter lasts no longer than spring and we will find ourselves welcoming summer back with its wind and waves of heat.

Calving Season on A Small Farm

Watchful cow hides her calf in the weeds at the pasture’s perimeter. Most of the mama cows protect their young this way and it helps to have a horse between the cow and calf while you work them. A mad mama cow can be dangerous. Nothing seems to scare Brenna though. She talks the cows and calves through and they seem to regard her as part of the deal. I stand far back. I’m the observer with my camera in hand.
Fences. I do hate them for the way they enclose the land. Still, I know we need them. It was barbed wire that replaced open ranges and hedges of osage orange and helped settle the prairie lands. Fences keep our horses and cows safe here where we can have the benefit of them. If a fence could be built that would keep crows and squirrels out of our pecan orchards, I am sure Ron would try to build one.
The sky cannot be fenced and isn’t that good to know!