Introducing Obtaining Mercy Croft

Tropical fruits, figs and corn

After a year of planting, digging, watering and pruning, Doug and I have decided that gardening is just one big experiment. And since it seems that we really enjoy the scientific method, with all it’s trials, successes and errors, we thought we’d name this laboratory of ours.

Introducing Obtaining Mercy Croft!

CROFT: a fenced piece of land used for small-scale food production, usually near a house

We’ve planted, without exaggeration, over 125 different fruits and vegetables since last spring. Many of them didn’t do well, some did better than we expected. Some we planted in our sandy backyard and others we potted up into containers, buckets and half-barrels.

Southern peas, okra and peppers

We’ve discovered things we don’t like to eat and some lovely things we were surprised that we liked.

Cape Gooseberries (Ground Cherries)

And we’ve been amazed at all the beauty to be seen in the garden.

The most astonishing thing, I think, that we’ve learned in the garden is that the garden teaches us so many spiritual truths. We’re constantly learning something about soil or seeds or pruning or watering that exactly mirrors a truth that can be found in Scripture.

And that is going to be our new focus here on the blog.

Along with more regular updates on Isaac and on the garden, you will see more posts of a devotional nature, sharing some tidbit of truth that we’ve gleaned from the Croft.

And…you won’t just be hearing from me, as you have for so many years now, but you’ll also be hearing from Doug.

I know you will enjoy the truths that he has to share!

So…a few changes. Nothing drastic. But we’re excited about our new focus!

We hope you’ll join us as we study our Master Gardener and the things He teaches us here at Obtaining Mercy Croft.

Doug and Alesha

The Importance of Water, Part 2

As a beginner gardener, I have a new appreciation for rain.

In the past I haven’t always appreciated the rain. It may have a bit bothersome, or an inconvenience to my present plans. But since starting a garden, the rain is beautiful; a refreshing gift from the bounty of God; an encouragement that helps to keep me going through this Florida heat.

6.5 inches is a big rain for Florida

Rain has become a hopeful and blessed event. It’s arrival raises thankfulness in my heart. I know that rain and my watering are a blessing to the garden. There is no life or growth without water.

The Master Gardener know the importance of His Word (compared many times in Scripture to water).

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

A few definitions as we move along. The hart is an adult male deer. To pant is to long for, or to passionately desire. A brook is a small natural stream of water, or a current flowing from  a spring or fountain.

That deer in his movements through the forest or countryside is thirsty and passionately desires the water brooks. God through the psalmist writes “so panteth my soul after thee, O God”

Do I pant after God? What do I pant after? What do I passionately desire? 

Is it the brook? That small, consistent, daily water source that flows from that spring.

Unfortunately, I know that I pant after other things too many times. I pant after connections, notoriety, comfort, maybe even rest. These things are not a substitute for the water brook of God’s Word.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:2-3

God wants us to seek Him first, today and everyday. Jesus is our Answer to today’s question. He is our Peace, our Joy, our Life.

Drinking from God’s Spring,

Doug

The Importance of Water, Part 1

When I started gardening I thought I understood the importance of water for healthy plants. The truth is I think I severely underestimated how much water plants really need.

Planting seeds is always exciting. When the plants first push through the ground and start growing, that is an energizing and exhilarating thing to be part of! That excitement fuels my care for the seedlings, because watering at this stage seems to bring changes to the plants every day

Poblano pepper seedlings

But soon, the plants reach a stage where they begin to slow down their growth. They are preparing to produce flowers and fruit. This is where my challenge begins.

Okra blossom and fruit

The plants seem healthy and they are doing well. So it’s easy to assume they have all the water they need, and I lose the urgency to water well, because I see no immediate results. Without that necessary water the plants become weak and more susceptible to pests and disease.

The Master Gardener knows our fragility and our need for spiritual water. We are, after all, sinful by our very nature, and by our choice. Jesus told the woman at the well that He could give her a well that springs with everlasting life.

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 4:14

Our sin separates us from God. And when we look within ourselves, we feel an emptiness and void that we cannot fill on our own. That emptiness can only be satisfied by Jesus Christ. We receive His everlasting life when we cry out to God, and ask Him to forgive our sin and become our Saviour.

We must take an honest look at our sinfulness and realize that we are not able to make ourselves good enough. We must look to Jesus, the one Who died for our sin, shed His blood, and rose from the dead.

We must choose for ourselves. We must step out by faith alone and call on Jesus personally. Then we can have that well that springs up to everlasting life.

Strawberries, dill and basil in the Green Stalk

Drinking from the Spring,

Doug

Fifty

Fifty
by Alesha Conklin, saved July 2, 1972

For fifty years, my God has carried me.
For fifty years, He’s held me so close.
For fifty years, my needs He has provided.
For fifty years, He’s spoken to my soul.

For fifty years, my heart has been His habitation.
For fifty years, He’s guided day by day.
For fifty years, I have been forgiven.
For fifty years, His best for me, come what may.

For fifty years, His Word has spoken to me.
For fifty years, my soul has been at rest.
For fifty years, my home has been in Heaven.
For fifty years, His blood has been my forgiveness.

For fifty years, His love has never wavered.
Even through days when mine has grown cold.
For fifty years, I’ve loved to tell of His salvation.
For fifty years, the story has never grown old.

Last Week was Busy in the Croft

Just a few pictures from this week:

We’ll be harvesting the leaves and roots of this plant to be dried for later use.

Grainmaster grain mill

We hope to use this attachment to our Champion juicer to grind our dent corn when it’s dried and ready for harvesting.

None of the things we canned were grown in our garden. The okra was given to us by a friend. The blueberries were frozen. And the potatoes were given out for free at a truck stop just down from our house. We were sent home with 144 pounds of potatoes! We still have MANY quarts to go!

Herbs drying: chicory leaves, sage, oregano and strawberry leaves
Leaves after drying

We’re drying some of these for use later as spices and some as a blend of healthy herbs that can be added to dishes to increase the health benefits.

Jicama is a plant that grows a tuber underground that is a very tasty starch. The good thing about this starch is that it doesn’t spike blood sugar, so it’s pretty healthy. The thing you must remember though, is that the leaves, stems and flowers of the plant are poisonous.

Bread

That’s it, I think. We did try a loaf of bread in our bread maker. My mother-in-law sent it early for our July anniversary. It looks pretty, but didn’t taste the greatest. We’re still working on our bread recipe to find something we like.

We made a few goofs with our canning too. It seems like preserving our garden harvest is much like the gardening itself – lots of trial and error.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…

Ecclesiastes 9:10

No worries. We’re not discouraged. We’ll just keep trying until we get it right.

Alesha Kay