Keeping the Keel Clear

“Distinguish between the fact of God’s presence, and the emotion of the fact…The religious life is not a brooding over emotions, grazing the keel of faith in the shallows, of dragging the anchor of hope through the oozy tide mud as if afraid of encountering the healthy breeze…If we remain groveling on the low ground of feeling and emotion, we shall find ourselves entangled in a thousand meshes of doubt and despondency, temptation and unbelief. Hope thou in God!” ~Streams in the Desert

Can You Believe I Won?!

I’ve won the occasional online giveaway of a Kindle book here and there and a couple times, won an actual book, as opposed to a digital one. And truly, I love those gifts, because I love to read!

But this is the first time I’ve won a GARDEN GIVEAWAY! And I couldn’t be more thrilled!!!

Brijette over at the San Diego Seed Company‘s channel on Youtube recently celebrated her 10,000 subscriber mark by hosting a giveaway.

We’re fairly new subscribers to her Youtube channel, but we’ve been enjoying the content she puts out. It’s extremely educational and – bonus for us – it is targeted to those growing in Zones 9 and 10 of the Plant Hardiness Zones. That is perfect for us here in central Florida.

I was super ecstatic to receive the message that I won that giveaway!!! I giggled and squeeeeed and clapped and kept saying, “I won! I won!” Honest…you can ask my husband. I was *that* excited!

My box arrived yesterday. It was full of awesome goodies that I can’t wait to use.

So…first thing…this insect spray.

I’ve been so nervous to choose something to use in my garden. I don’t want to use chemicals and I don’t want lose my crops to bugs either. But I had no idea which product to use. Well, now that problem is solved. I’ll be using the Insect Killing Spray by Safer to spray on anything that’s munching on my garden babies.

These lovely plant clips were also in the package Brijette sent.

The reason they’re so cool is that they are made from corn and are biodegradable. If they accidently get caught up in any spent vegetable matter that’s headed to my compost bin, they won’t be leaching plastics into the compost.

These awesome things are called Tomahooks! They’re for growing tomatoes!

These gadgets are used to grow tomatoes in the lower and lean method. Brijette does a video to explain what that means, and I can’t wait to try these out.

Next is this awesome white shade cloth.

We used shade cloth this past summer to cover our sitting/potting area and to cover some of our veggies that were in 5-gallon pots. It does an incredible job of dropping the temp in that area by several degrees. That is a great thing during the hot spring and summer days here in Florida. The cloth Brijette sent is white, which will reflect that sun even more, and there’s a really good-sized piece of it.

And the calendar! Oh my goodness…it’s a thing of beauty!

Every month’s page is full of tips, information and helps for planting in our Zone. She lets you know which seeds should be sown each month and how to adjust for the weather as it warms up. It’s a treasure trove of info for the backyard gardener!

And lastly – these seeds!!!

Brijette was incredibly generous with this seed collection. There are veggies, flowers, fruits and gourds. I was just overwhelmed by the variety. I told Doug we might need to lay out new garden beds just to get them all in for this season.

And here’s the really cool thing about these seeds, the San Diego Seed Company has grown each and every one of these seeds. Much of their farm is designated for growth of plants to harvest the seeds. They grow heirloom, non-gmo, organic plants in a sustainable way for their area. These seeds are adapted to their growing conditions and are therefore healthier and stronger for farmers in those same zones. I’m excited to try them out!

All in all, can you believe this awesome package of goodies I received??? I am just so grateful for small business owners who reach out to help others grow and improve their skills. It’s a very generous practice and it will grow a successful, loyal customer base for their products. Pretty smart, if you ask me!

Thanks for checking out my prizes! I’ll let you know how everything goes.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Florida Freeze 2022 Aftermath

We fared well with this past week’s cold weather. Some things did great, some did poorly and some we’ll just have to wait and see how they do. I’ll give you the rundown.

We actually had Hard Freeze Warnings for 2 nights in a row – January 29th and 30th. We hit 29* (or lower) the first night and were just at 32* the second night.

We grouped and covered and lighted various plants in the garden. My husband was very creative with his groupings.

He used sheets, tarps, buckets, cardboard boxes, milk jugs, buckets of boiling water – anything that would protect and hold in a little heat. It looked pretty when we turned the lights on at night.

Without fail, anything that was covered and had a string of lights under the cover survived. This included the following:

  • Mango tree – in-ground
  • Tomatoes – several varieties – in buckets
  • Strawberries – in pots
  • Longan tree – in pot
  • Cranberry hibiscus – in pot
  • Peppers – several varieties – in buckets
  • Oregano – in buckets
  • Carrots in buckets

The things that were covered with tarp also survived, even without lights. But to be fair – we also had several of these plants in buckets, uncovered and unprotected and they are ALL just fine. Who knew chickpeas were so hardy?!!

Some things under the 5-gallon buckets did well, especially the ones that were near the house. However, those in the farthest bed with no wind protection did not survive. These 2 tomato plants are the only things we know for sure that we lost. The peppers, however, look great.

Two of our tropical trees we wrapped with ground cover cloth around their roots and stems. We didn’t cover their tops. The banana looks completely dead and the chaya looks fine – even has its little blossoms still intact. The leaves look a bit stressed, but will probably recover just fine. Our other bananas are under the canopy of our oak tree. We mulched them heavily with leaves and they look well. We will leave this little banana tree alone and see if he can recover.

Things under cardboard boxes and plastic milk jugs were a mixed bag. The chicory did great, but the cassava didn’t fare well. Only 1 of the 3 has remaining green leaves.

Three other tropical were wrapped well, one even had boiling water added under its cover, but they are looking pretty sad. The Spanish Hog Plum will surprise me if it comes back, but I think the Jamaican Cherry juuuuuust might make it. (It’s behind the blue wagon, but you can see it’s leaves are very withered and drooping.) The Longevity Spinach is going to have to live up to its name to recover. It just looks like a pile of mushy brown leaves.

All things considered, I am super-duper pleased with our survival rate. The strings of lights definitely seem to be the secret, so we’ll probably invest in a few more of things, along with a few more extension cords.

I’m also amazed at the hardiness of many of the things we didn’t protect at all. They all survived. The list is impressive:

  • Garlic – in ground
  • Onions – in ground and in buckets
  • Sweet potatoes – in ground
  • Collards – in ground
  • Brussels sprout – in ground
  • Blueberries – Florida varieties – in pots
  • Carrots – in ground and in buckets
  • Turnips – in ground
  • Mulberry tree – in bucket
  • Fig tree – in pot
  • Loquat tree – in pot

And the surprise survivor is this:

Tiny baby lettuces that we’d planted on January 21st! They had just begun to pop up on the 27th. These hardy little babies weren’t even covered. Just took on the freeze like champs! Can’t wait to see how they do as they get bigger.

You know – God’s creation never ceases to astound me! There is such an overwhelming variety of plants and trees, veggies and fruits, but they all seem to obey His laws. Each has its own hardiness level and it will respond exactly how God intended it to. It’s a constant reminder to me to grow where God planted me, as I’m here for a purpose by His own design.

The Master Gardener may allow the harsh winter winds to blow us about, but He also gives us the Light of His Word and the Covering of His blood to protect us.

May you grow well, wherever He has you planted.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

He Hears What We Can’t Say

Genesis 2:24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Genesis 6:5  And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

GROANING,  Uttering a low mournful sound.

GROANING,  The act of groaning; lamentation; complaint; a deep sound uttered in pain or sorrow.

In the Old Testament, when the children of Israel groaned because of the hardships that their disobedience had caused, God heard the sound of their groanings, and He remembered His promises to them, and made a way of deliverance.

In the New Testament, because we have the indwelling of the believer by the Holy Spirit, God the Father takes it even further: when the pain is too deep and the grief is too overwhelming to have breath to make a sound, God HEARS our cry. His Holy Spirit calls out to God the Father and communicates what our prayer should be. 

Romans 8:27 says “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

On days when we can’t find the words to tell God how much we hurt, how broken our heart is, how overwhelmed we are, how deeply we are wounded, and we groan out our prayers to Him – He remembers! And when there are days that the pain is so sharp and so deep, that we can’t even summon the breath to groan – amazingly – He hears!

Do not despair, my sweet friend. You are heard by the Almighty God. He knows your voice. He sees your pain. He remembers His promises. He will use this present suffering to work His glory in your life. 

(For further study and edification, I encourage you to read the entire chapter of Romans 8.)

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Our Garden’s First Freeze and How We’re Handling It

You guys know I’m a newbie gardener, so this weekend will be the first time we’ve dealt with a freeze in our garden.

Here’s a list of some pointers that have been posted on the various groups I’m part of, as well as on the University of Florida’s IFAS Extension article on Cold Protection.

I thought I’d share for those who don’t have time to do the research.

My next step was to list everything in the garden that we didn’t want to lose or that was close to harvest. I made a coded list of what we planned to do with each one.

Some things are tropical. Ideally, they would be dormant right now. But, of course, it’s Florida, so things get weird. We had temps in the 80s just a couple of weeks ago so the plants that had been dormant started to bud, flower and grow. So nothing is dormant as it should be. We’ll do our best to protect each one in the best way.

Tropicals that are too big to be moved or that are in the ground will be mulched with yard clippings and leaves. Our neighbor just blessed us with 9 bags of oak leaves that will do a nice job for that. We also can use the straw that we use for mulching our garden beds.

Some of the tropicals will also be covered with sheets and we’ll add a string of Christmas lights underneath to add to the ground’s radiant heat.

We’ll be grouping our strawberries and blueberries together and placing a bucket of hot water underneath the covering as well. We’ll try to put that out as late as possible, and will need to replace it each night that we have the coverings in place.

We have several 5-gallon buckets with peppers, tomatoes, chick peas and Cape gooseberries. We’ll cluster these with a sheet and lights too. A couple we will bring in, especially if we only have one of those – namely, the Cape gooseberry and the Katuk.

Some of the smaller plants that are in the garden beds will get a tarp installed over a frame, as well as a little extra mulch around their stems. Finding a frame is easy enough – we have several crates we’ll use and some lawn chairs that can be turned upside down over the plants that will do the job, too. We also have a few plastic jugs that we’ll cut the bottoms out of and install on top of fragile plants.

The onions, garlic and sweet potatoes are all underground, and we’re hoping that the temps in our area won’t be cold long enough to affect them.

We also made of list of those plants that need to be harvested if at all possible:

There won’t be a lot of this stuff ready, especially after the frost on Sunday night, but we’ll check on each of them any way.

So…this is our plan. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. If you’re an experienced Florida farmer and see a flaw in my plan, please let me know! We’d like to do our best to salvage what is still growing and to save those tropicals and natives that we’ve spent money on this past year.

I’ll do my best to do a timely follow up post.

Until then, stay warm – wherever you are!

In Him,

Alesha Kay

Making Do

to get along or manage with the means at hand

Merriam-Webster

As the cost of gasoline rises and supply chains are stretched to breaking, there are so many ways we can cut costs, meet our family’s needs and learn some age-old solutions for our households.

Sometimes, going high tech is useful, with YouTube videos available on how to do just about anything you can think of; but at other times we are digging out old recipes and how-to books – actual, literal, made-from-trees books, to give us our direction.

Whichever you choose, bathe your path forward in prayer and Scripture reading. God will open your mind and heart to His wisdom, which far surpasses our own.

With that in mind, I’ll share a few links to items that are helping us save, stock up and make do. All of the picture are clickable links that take you to the purchasing page for the products.

(For transparency’s sake, I’d like to inform you that if you choose to buy any of these items through the links here on my blog, as an Amazon Associate, I receive a very small commission.)

Summers are very hot in Florida. In fact, even here in mid-October, we are still hitting 90* occasionally. And in our house, we keep our thermostat pretty high, due to an aging a/c unit. Therefore we find ourselves going through a LOT of ice to keep our drinks cold. And the price of ice is rising, just like other things. Our refrigerator freezer is too small to use ice trays, so we opted for something different:

A small counter-top icemaker.

It does a great job of making ice, as long as you add water. We bag the ice up and store it in our freezer. It only takes a few days of diligent scooping to get a nice supply of ice.

However, we quickly found that we were going through many more bottles of water than we had been. It makes sense – we were putting it into the ice maker! So…how to remedy that problem?

By pulling out something that had been languishing in our storage shed for a long time: a water distiller.


(We somehow misplaced the glass pitcher that collects the water. But we found this Rubbermaid container that does a fabulous job:

Here’s the lid for it:

This handy gadget takes whatever water you put in it, turns it into steam, then collects that steam as a liquid, thus removing all impurities.

Our distilling setup.

We can use the bleachy, yucky city water (at no extra expense) and turn it into lovely pure water to use in our ice cubes.

But with one addition, we can elevate this whole process to something wonderful. By adding this mineral concentrate to our distilled water, we can add back valuable minerals (Magnesium, Chloride, Sodium, Potassium, Sulfate, Lithium, Boron, and Ionic Sea minerals) to our ice:

Who knows – we might actually start drinking this water, instead of buying bottled water!

We store our water in half-gallon Ball jars:

To some, this may seem like quite a complicated process, but once it’s set into motion, it pretty much takes care of itself. We store the distilled water, add it to the ice maker when needed and put the ice in the freezer.

We are saving money by not buying ice and extra water nor the gas which we’d use to go buy it, and we’re adding a pure mineral-enhanced ice source to our daily diet.

If we choose to use this water for drinking and cooking as well, our savings will really increase!

To take the process one more step further, this water would be excellent for storing for emergency use. Do you have an emergency store of water? Here in Florida, most of us keep some extra water on hand, especially during hurricane season.

Here’s a great YouTube video on storing water. It’s very thorough and logical.

I hope this post has gotten your wheels turning on the subject of water. I’d love to hear what you do in your family to save money, store for emergencies and maintain the flavor and mineral content of your water.

In what other ways are you “making do” these day? Are there other subjects you’d be interested in? Let me know.

Thanks for reading.

In Him,

Alesha Kay

9-11 – I Promise to Remember

I’ve promised to remember…
The day the Islamic terrorists attacked our great nation, here on native soil.


But I am also promising to remember…
The man who just empowered those same terrorist groups…
While he stripped our citizens of their God-given, constitutionally-protected rights and freedoms.


The enemy is no longer foreign. He (and the party he represents) is destroying our country from right here in the heart of our nation’s capitol.


If you’re going to remember, remember it all.


Make sure your children and grandchildren know that when a nation forgets God, He removes His protection. He allows the enemies to attack from without…and from within.


The only safely we have is the eternal refuge, protection and salvation of the Lord our God.

Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 20:6-7

In Him,

Alesha Kay