Monday, May 6, 2013

A Recipe for New Beginnings

Apple blossoms in Kansas, Spring 2010
It's been two years since I've had a garden.

That's when we finally sold our house in Kansas and were able to move to the Black Hills to join my husband after six months of living apart.

Being together once more was the best part of this story, but it broke my heart to leave my gardens behind. Again.

I had planted apple trees, raspberries, blackberries, and asparagus. There were four raised beds for vegetables.

We had also planted a bird garden outside the back door - flowering and fruiting shrubs, a bird bath and plans for an arbor.

After five years of back breaking work, the garden was finally beginning to produce.

Then my dear husband lost his job and I was going to have to leave another garden behind - and that was only the surface. Over those five years we had planted relationships, found our favorite restaurants, had learned to like the weather....

Moving uproots everything.

But after two years, it's time. A new garden is going in this week. Not a large one, but a beginning.

A new beginning.

It's spring, and time for new beginnings, right?

Another new beginning is so exciting I can hardly wait to tell you!

Joyce Wheeler, Jan Drexler, Jennifer Rogers Spinola
Saturday morning, a few of us met together in the FIRST EVER meeting of the West River Christian Writers.

All published authors, all ACFW members, all committed to helping one another on the journey and reaching out to bring others along with us (now where have I run into that concept before? Oh, yes, it sounds a lot like Seekerville!)

We had a great couple hours comparing notes, brainstorming, playing with Jenny's cute boys and planning the next several meetings.

And we ate, of course! 

Some bruschetta things from Sam's Club, a batch of the Cinnamon Swirl Cake I shared last month, and some orange juice. Oh, and milk, please, in the blue cup for the four-year-old.

It's the beginning of great things. Two years ago I didn't think I'd ever be part of a local writer's group, and now we are three. 

Sigh. Isn't God good? All the time?

But wait! There's more! Another new beginning! A new little bundle of fluff and pink tongue will be coming to live with us in three weeks!

Wynter isn't sure what to do with the smells we brought home from our puppy picking excursion on Saturday. She's been an only dog for nearly a year, and she'll enjoy having someone to boss around again...but a puppy? 

When my border collie, Connor, died last summer, I didn't think I'd ever have the heart to replace him. He was my dog more than any other dog I've ever owned. His eyes never left my face. When I was at home, he always - always - knew exactly where I was, and if I wasn't at home, he pined. How could he protect me if he didn't know where I was? I was his person.

And how would I ever find another dog to love as I had loved him?

Thatcher at 5 weeks old

But Saturday afternoon, as I held Thatcher in my arms and looked into his little face, I knew I was ready for yet another new beginning.


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  2. Jan, he's so stinkin' cute!!!! And I love the poignancy of leaving friends... and gardens.

    (Ruthy makes note that must go in book!!!!)


    And how nice to get together with buddies! LOVE IT!!!! This post is pure spring.

    Now if only my beloved Yankees would WIN!!!!


    1. I don't follow baseball - but are you telling me the Yankees aren't winning this year? And I think I heard the Royals ARE? That's it. The end of the world as we know it.

      And I'm done leaving gardens behind...unless we buy land someday. Then I'd move the garden with us :)

  3. Looking out over my yard with my mother's Lenten roses and iris, I can only imagine what it would be like to leave them. Can't wait to hear what your garden will hold in your new abode.

    Oh, Thatcher. I already had a crush. Now it is turning into an obsession. We expect tons of pics.

    And great to have a group to gather with!

    Peace, Julie

    1. Julie, I have one plant I've brought along on every move - the oxalis that's descended from my grandmother's garden. It's in a pot, so it's mobile. It nearly died on this last move, but I nursed it back to life over the winter, and now has tons of blossoms. Love it!

      And yes, I think you can expect plenty of puppy pictures :)

  4. Wow -- congratulations on so many fronts! New beginnings are definitely due for you, Jan!

    Love that you have a writing chapter of three and you can meet together. I can't imagine what that would be like! And yay to gardening. Mines a bit overwhelming right now but I adore gardening. It stills my soul and makes me optimistic.

    Wynter -- poor pooch...what a disgruntled look on her face! I'd love to witness the first meeting. She kind of looks like a martyr -- "You're going to make me train him, aren't you?" That's what she's thinking and already mourning the loss of copious siestas. Thatcher is soooo adorable, a real charmer but he looks a bit of mischief maker too. Like he wants to get out of that pen and explore! Poor Wynter! Hope she's as into new beginnings as you are!

    1. Oooh, I like that - "it stills my soul". Yup. Digging in the dirt, nurturing the plants, watching them grow.... Until there's an invasion of squash bugs or something. Then it isn't quite so peaceful!

      And Wynter. There's another aspect to our four footed world - Maggie, the cat who thinks she's a dog. She always wants to play with Wynter, but Wynter was taught not to play with cats when she was a puppy (she was fostered with a family who had cats, and they taught her to respect the claw).

      I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of puppy/cat interaction that will give Wynter an occasional respite!

  5. I want Wynter! I couldn't remember who had posted pics of her before! I dont have the energy/room for a border collie- german shepherd was more than enough for me! luckily my lab was always laid back/lazy-ish(they say they take after their owner - not sure about the laidback but the lazy is spot-on). I'm thinking my next dog needs to be big but not sure what breed though probably a mutt/rescue. saw a dog going into petsmart yesterday -think it might've been a labradoodle- was stocky but looked like a poodle's coat - anyone know if they need haircuts like a poodle does? and how about the hips and other health issues they're prone to having? are they like goldendoodles- those are the ones Ruthy has right? not familiar with poodles except for the little yappy ones (not a fan) but the bigger ones might be ok. just thinking..not wanting mine to go but they're both 12 and already having problems esp the lab - talked to vet last Friday and we're going with the prednisone until she's no longer able to have any decent quality of life. :( glad I still have her but I'd already made my decision and it was the same - let her go if she can't have any quality of life. right now I think she still does - gave them chewies the last couple of days when Iwas off work and could supervise and they had a blast esp the lab.g ave her something to do besides lay around.

    I understand the garden -my mom liked to plant stuff. had a garden at my grandpa's for years(I hated it!)and she liked to plant certain things (irisis, dogwoods) and when we moved when I was in 2nd grade her dogwood finally bloomed and the 2 trees she's planted when they first married grew double (didn't hardly grow at all the 5 yrs or so we lived there!) and when they sold the lake lot the dogwood bloomed afterwards as well(never bloomed before) and by the time the oak trees grew in their backyard my dad cut them all down to build his shop. that was heartbreaking even for me-he refused to put it against the other fence and leave the trees alone so now there's basically no backyard. I haven't done much with my back patio area but I bought some stuff a few weeks ago and have most of it planted- some is barely hanging on but haven't had time/daylight to plant yet.

    good luck with your new puppy!

    1. Hi Susanna!

      You're right - Ruthy is the one to ask about doodles of any kind. One thing I know is that poodles are one of the smartest breeds (some say the smartest, but I think Border Collies are), so they make good pets.

      I'm with you on the little yappy ones, though. As I researched Corgies, I came across something called "small dog syndrome" - that's where the owner doesn't train the dog correctly, thinking that a small dog can be controlled physically, so doesn't need to learn manners. The little dog ends up bossing everyone around and is generally a pain to be near. Yappy is my term for it! And believe me, Thatcher will be learning his manners!

      Wynter is a sweet, sweet dog, but is very leery of strangers. She'll accept people eventually, but it has to be on her terms. And once you're part of the pack, you're on her good side forever!

      I hope your plants do well!

    2. I thought a few years ago I'd like a corgi- I know someone who has one but the dog's hyper -she trains her and does agility with them but I think that dog was too much for me! Her italian greyhound was a sweetheart but they're so thin! same with greyhounds - sweet but super skinny - I like a dog big enough to hold its own and stocky enoughI can roll over on it and not squish it!

  6. You sound like my husband! When we rented our first home he planted all sorts of wonderful things. And when we bought our first house, he started digging up those bushes he'd planted! ha!

    And yes, I used to move once or even twice a year. Since I've been married I've moved twice in fifteen years. It was awful and you have my full sympathy.

    But I want that puppy. NOW.

    1. Virginia, you can't have him.

      You're welcome to come over and give him a friendly squeeze, though :)

  7. Oh, sniff sniff! I'm a day late, and now I'm about to cry after reading your words about moving and about Connor. But what a sweet story of new beginnings, Jan!

  8. The whole thing sounds just great Jan. The garden, the writers group, the puppy. Thanks for sharing.