The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another Norman Rockwell Saturday

Long ago we had an apple orchard near our home in Moline,
and we could relax on a sunny day with comic books
and donuts. Actually, this was posed for a Melo-Cream calendar.
Sassy and I had our usual walk, which included several stops at our neighbors' yard sale.

The landscaper hosted it, and the Four S girls were there to help the joint effort. Their mom had the children's stuff out for sale, and her daughters helped arrange everything. Since all the daughters have names starting with S, we call them the Four Esses.

Sassy loved the attention, which included petting from each new visitor. Her favorite S girl knelt and petted her while the landscaper said, "I want that dog when he gets tired of it."

We traded some gardening information, and I asked for all the cardboard, which he was complaining about piling up for the garbage pickup. He was about to buy heavy-duty weed blocker plastic, because that was what they taught and used in landscaping. Once he saw the light, I thought my supply would be cut short, especially since the Four Esses mother discovered plastic was a bad idea for her garden.

But the whole idea is to use what is already there and good for the soil, so I am not worried about lacking cardboard in the near future. The same thing is true of logs, especially small portable ones. When I moved the Butterfly Bush, I carried the log fence that I placed there to promote a residence for toads and a perch for bird. The newly planted bush needed some propping, so the logs did double duty. A light went on in my head - "I can protect the new Elephant Ear bulbs the same way." I did not want them to be trampled - most likely by me. I was going to buy some little fences at Lowe's but that meant a new stop, something small to trip over, and some cash. Logs are free and more difficult to miss.

Plastic sheets are not good for the soil. We want the soil to breathe and the material above the soil to block sunlight, absorbing rain and rotting downward to feed the soil. Plastic promotes pathogen growth, I imagine, and will let weeds through over time, creating a real mess.

Naturally, an informal conversation leads to some bartering. I obtained a metal stand for very little, plus a promise of cardboard for the garden. The Four Esses garden, so I offered some sunflower seeds to them right after the landscaper gave me a box of wildflower mixture.

Sassy and I went back - 1/2 block - and fetched the sunflower seeds and some roses for the Four Esses.