My Life With Gracie…Saturday Surprises!

Saturday Surprises

Here again is something a little different, and “Saturday Surprises!” seems to be the most appropriate name for this type of post. It’s just a glimpse into life here in our little backyard in the middle of a big city.

Last weekend we were energized by these tiny fragrant blossoms from our tea olive, or sweet osmanthus. It started out as just about a foot and a half tall when I bought it several years ago. It is now over five feet tall.

If it had not been blooming at the time when I saw it at the nursery, I would have walked right by it because the leaves are similar to many other plants. You may want to watch for this plant in your local nursery, but check the label if it’s not blooming season. Otherwise you may miss it. This would make a great addition to your yard and is very low maintenance. (Basically just plant it in a good spot. How nice is that?!?)

These blossoms are extremely small, but they put out a sweet fragrance that fills most of our yard. The smell is said to resemble peaches or apricots, but I think it is something else entirely unique. In some countries the blossoms are added to green or black tea leaves, which is likely why it is often called tea olive. (It does not have any fruit like the regular olive.)

The only wish I have for this plant is for the bloom time to be longer than its four to five days. But I am grateful for the joy it brought us all last weekend, and so this weekend, I’m reliving that joy by sharing this with you.

For most of the year, it is just another evergreen in the landscape, but when it blooms, it is amazing! Amazing! I have it planted in the side yard so that it can greet me before I even see it when I come home at the end of the day. It makes almost as joyful a “Welcome Home!” as my chickens make!

It definitely has an invigorating effect on my chickens as well. Their “Welcome Home!” greetings always seem a little more extreme when the tea olive is blooming! Or maybe they are just catching some of my enthusiasm?!

My wish for you is that you will find joy in the smallest of wonders wherever they may be. Often the small things in life provide a most amazing and overpowering experience.

I wish I could have described the fragrance of these blossoms much better. But then again, maybe there are some things which are so extraordinary in life that they defy description and can only be experienced? Perhaps this is one of them.

Family Photo Friday (Well, Sort Of!)

Family Photo Friday (Well Sort Of!)

I say “Well, sort of!” because there aren’t any chickens in this photo. It’s a view of part of our backyard garden with Japanese Iris in front of garden beds filled with potato plants. Behind those garden beds is the spot where my chickens live. So you might say this is a “chicken’s eye” view photo!

The purpose of my “Family Photo Friday” posts is mainly to show my chickens are real, not story characters I only imagine in my head. They truly do live in my backyard in the middle of a garden which is the real-life setting for what you read here. (Whether they really do dance ballet or put on comedy shows…well, that is another post for another day! But I am not going to tell Gracie that chickens can’t dance ballet! Nor am I going to tell Pearl that chickens can’t put on comedy shows!)

I wanted to share this photo with you because it is related to tomorrow’s post. Emily will return for another “heart-to-heart” conversation and our garden and the Japanese Iris have an important part even though they will not be blooming in tomorrow’s post.

The Japanese Iris will begin to bloom towards the end of May or early June, so we still have them to anticipate. They are one of my favorites in the garden. Their blooming season always seems much too short for me, and that may cause us to enjoy them even more.

Do I prefer freshly dug roasted red potatoes or a bunch of Japanese Iris? That is tough to say. One feeds the body. The other feeds the soul. But I will let Emily tell you about that tomorrow!

It will be a longer post, about twice as long as my regular posts. It is part of a series that I’ve shared from time to time about Amelia and how she wants to be the first chicken to fly to the moon and back. Here is the last posting in that little series if you are a new reader or just want a refresher.

Your encouragement is truly valued, and I hope you benefit from the deeper meanings and bits of “chicken wisdom” beneath these simple stories. If I could, I would set up picnic tables and strings of decorative lights all around their garden home and invite all of you, our readers, for a great meal! This, of course, would be followed by a brilliantly choreographed chicken ballet production.

Nevertheless, we are planning a special “Thank You” gift for all of you later this month since our backyard wouldn’t be able to hold all of you!

My Life With Gracie…On Giving Patience

My Life With Gracie...On Giving Patience

Chickens and gardens go together…well, sorta, kinda, in a way.

They are great at scratching up weeds…but they can also scratch up and eat your seedlings.

They are great at digging in your soil…but they tend to just dig in one spot like a crater, not in a row. It would be nice if they worked like little tilling machines, but that isn’t going to happen.

Still, it is enjoyable when I’m preparing a new planting bed with some chicken helpers. Of course we have completely different objectives. I want to prepare the soil for seeds and seedlings. They want to find earthworms and bugs.

Chickens understand food really well. It’s like there are only two things in life: “food” and “not food.” Well, that’s not totally correct.

In their minds, it’s probably more like: “food” and “not quite food yet, but almost.” I get the feeling they would do just about anything to get the “not quite food” to become “food” as quickly as possible.

Chickens are quite impatient with garden crops. They are positively sure every cucumber and squash and especially watermelon is for them.

Their clucking sounds a lot like, “Why doesn’t someone remove this fence for us?!? Why doesn’t someone cut open this watermelon for us?!?” If I let them, they would eat every leaf off of the watermelon plants before the watermelons they love had time to grow and ripen.

To tell the truth, I’m often just as impatient as my chickens when it come to some things and perhaps even more impatient! There are times when I think patience just might be the greatest gift I can give…or receive.

My Life With Gracie convinced me patience is one of the hardest but most valuable gifts you can give.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Life With Gracie...On Giving Patience