May 26, 2010

Gardening with "Honey Bear"

This past week has involved a lot of garden time;
and not just in our garden.

On Monday we had the privilege of helping a man that has
been gardening for a very long time.
We've known him for about ten years I guess;
and I'm yet to discover what his real name is.
Everyone that knows him just calls him
"Honey Bear."
It goes back to the days when he used to sell honey,
and I guess it just stuck.

Honey Bear is a Master Organic Gardener,
and has an overwhelming amount of knowledge to share.
In his eighties, it's amazing how much he can still accomplish,
but the number of things he can't do
is growing as well.
That's where my mom, brother, and I came in.
We volunteered a day to help him get his gardens
and raised beds ready for planting.

First, we began with our customary tour...
He always has the most amazing collection of
heirloom plants & interesting flowers.

Some lovely blue irises...

Next, we built a new fence
for his little flock of chickens and ducks.

After that, it was time for the serious jobs...

Joe began the process of moving the bags of decomposing
leaves that Honey Bear has been saving all Winter.
His plants absolutely love this special mulch.

Yeah, he got something on him.

Meanwhile, Mom waged war
on the thistles in the raised beds.

Flowering Russian Kale

In its own rustic way,
Honey Bear's garden is a lovely place,
with lots of interesting sights to see.

A special kind of accidental art.


After putting the camera away...
I got busy emptying said bags of decomposing leaves...
Some of them were very full of water,
(resembling tea...)
Ankle deep in the squishy mulch,
fluffing up the leaves in preparation for tomato plants,
these pictures do no justice to the absolute mess I was...
Believe me though, I've never had a problem getting
dirt on my hands -
and was seriously having a pretty good time out there.

We were pretty wiped out -
but it was a special, and very educational day.
I'm often reminded of the importance of spending time
with those that are older than we are.
They have so much to offer in the way of
wisdom and experience.
We are so thankful for each of the elderly friends
that the Lord has blessed us with over the years.
They have taught us so much.

On the way home we stopped for Blackberry milkshakes.
Now we are busy applying some of Honey Bear's
ideas to our own garden -
and planning on visiting him again soon.


Laura said...

Dear Miss Kate,
This is such a wonderful blog...what a testimony to friendship. It is one of the things we love best about homeschooling...Samuel often gets to spend time with people of all ages...learning from them things that he to shape and mold his character...for a lifetime.

On another note, I wanted to share with you something that we have started doing that makes the most terrific mulch! I know you have we do... and when garden time comes we have had to either fence in the garden or fence in the hens! Two years ago, my guys built a moveable pen on skidders so that we could still free range our ladies. This year we've added another area for them. We have a traditional mulch pile...but now have built a mulch pile hen pen...we let the ladies in there, throw in anything that you would normally put in a mulch pile, and the ladies think they are in Heaven! They help to compost the mulch at a much quicker rate...and it makes for great soil! Just a little gardening note....

Have a blessed day and thanks for sharing your terrific post.
Mrs. Laura

Kate said...

Hello Mrs. Laura!
Thank you for this suggestion. We will soon (hopefully) be in the process of making a portable place for the chickens to live... They are kind of on my naughty list right now; post coming soon on what they recently did to me... At the moment, they are running loose - and the plants are confined... :)

Laura said...

Hello again!
Sometime this weekend I'll try to post something on our portable was so easy to make and it works great...even I can move it around the whole yard with no cost us next to nothing...most of the supplies came from our local "transfer" station....aka dump! We are planning to add a layer box to it this summer.
God bless,
Mrs. Laura

Kate said...

That would be great!!! We could definitely use some ideas... Thank you so much!!!

Kelsey said...

Kate, I love how you captured Mr. Honey Bear's "accidental art." Good job!
And I agree with you about spending time with older people...One of my favorite places in all the world is a nursing home/alzheimers home/assisted living place near our house. There are so many precious bits of wisdom and experience to be learned from those who have lived much longer (and probably fuller) lives than I.
I am sure you blessed your friend, too.