When we bought our little 2+ acre homestead four years ago, it was in need of some TLC. In a previous post called “Other People’s Garbage,” I wrote about the piles of junk and partially burned trash we found. This picture shows one of the larger piles in the lower right-hand corner. The downed tree was blackened and surrounded by a mound of dirt and the non-combustible remains of many fires.
We didn’t have much time to devote to clearing it at the time. We were in Texas temporarily, just long enough to buy the property, move David’s mobile home onto it, get rid of the worst of the debris and get the house ready for tenants. Then we returned to Florida and our caregiving duties.
When we moved back to Texas permanently two years ago, the pile was worse. The log was smaller from more fires, but the pile of trash around it had grown. The tree behind it on the left was dead, the evergreen on the right was still alive but was leaning at a 60 degree angle, and the whole area was choked with weeds and briars. Our tenants weren’t much into yard work.
Since then, we’ve done a lot of work. The dead and leaning trees are gone, and a storage shed sits to the left of the pile. The log is long since gone, and the surrounding weeds are mostly under control, although David still has to spray the mound itself with weed killer from time to time. Most of the surface trash has been carted off, but every time we have a heavy rain or a strong wind, bits of broken glass and rusted metal surface. But all that changed earlier this week.
I got garden fever early this year, and I bought seeds – lots of seeds. I started with a small plot in a sunny spot close to the road. I filled up 5 rows, and then I moved to the area where I planted tomatoes and peppers last year. I expanded that little plot and filled it, but I still had seeds left – watermelon seeds – so I started looking for a likely spot. I don’t know a lot about gardening, but I know watermelons grow best on a hill.
“David, do you think watermelons would grow on that trash mound?”
“I don’t know if they’ll like the ashes, but there’s some pretty good dirt under there. It wouldn’t hurt to try.”
He’s still fighting dead trees and poison ivy at the back of the lot, so I do most of the gardening. I got my grubbing hoe and my rake and went to work. It was a hard job. Even though the weeds were dead, there were lots of roots to dig up, and I filled up two 5-gallon buckets with debris. I’m not as young as I used to be, and I’m about to get a year older, so it took me a couple of days to finish. I got the seeds planted Tuesday afternoon before the rain started that night. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Gardening requires more muscle power than brain power, so my mind wanders while I dig and weed and plant. Sometimes I think about trivia, but sometimes I think about spiritual things. The Bible talks a lot about seeds and growth and pruning, and I wondered if there was a parable or Scripture passage that went along with my efforts to produce watermelons from a trash pile. There are lots of stories about people whose lives were drastically changed for the better after a touch from Jesus, but nothing about watermelons. Then I thought about the fruits of the Spirit. In Galatians 5 the Apostle Paul tells the church in Galatia to clean up their act and start practicing the love that Jesus taught so their lives would produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He doesn’t specifically mention watermelons, but that’s some pretty powerful fruit.