Ch-Ch-Changes and Growth

The gardens are changing everyday.. showing LOTS of growth.  It’s an exciting time to be home and being able to play in my garden – and helps keep me distracted from the roller coaster of emotions I’m on for the last week or so – contemplating my future with regards to work & ministry and wishing that God would give me a sneak peak  into what’s in store.  I need to stop.. talk to my Father.. and rest in Him.  He is my Provider – not just of worldly goods, but of LIFE, health, peace, strength… Everything.   Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. As everything else changes around me- HE does not.

One very interesting gift He gave us this last week was a new job offer for Guillermo at a different steel plant with a different group of people.. with almost 2 hours longer (per day) of commuting.. It’s not what we would have chosen, but are hopeful that it’s the right fit for right now.    He’s been off work due to Covid for 2 months – and we’ve REALLY enjoyed our time at home together, working in the gardens, in the house.. doing ministry together for our church as it navigates through the pandemic.  We’ve been BUSY… and really enjoying the time.  Monday was his first day back – but to a different plant.   The new longer commute &  workday means a 9-930 pm bedtime for us.. and a 430 AM wakeup call for him.  I’m guessing that his dad reading this is smirking.. saying.. “Yup.. sonny-boy, just like when we farmed.. without the commute.”   

The best part is– he passes by his parents home just over halfway in his commute (~35 min drive from our home) every day, so he’ll get to see them more often.

Like each new flower and each new leaf that comes out of the ground – I realize that  I may be the one tending the garden, and watering it.. but He provides me with the strength, ability and the water… just like He’s providing us with what we need for everyday, whether it be the reliable old van with an odometre reading over 306,000 that is going to earn 720+ km more each week in the next 3 months, and the gas to fill it, or Guillermo the renewed strength and ability to do this new job.. the rest we need each night to start each new day..

EVERY good gift and EVERY perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (JAMES 1:17 ESV)

In this world that is changing minute by minute.. and not all for the good.. It’s SO SOOO GOOD to remind ourselves that God doesn’t change.. and that He continues to give good gifts that help us to grow in Him.

this past weekend we noticed the first of the brilliant red poppies blooming. I’ve moved/transplanted and cut back these poppies so many times over the last 14 yrs we’ve lived here.. I have a love/hate relationship… the leaves are not pretty.. and they take up a lot of space.. and the flowers bloom for maybe 5 days out of the whole year IF we’re lucky..  so a whole lot of ugly and space for a very short time of brilliant beauty.  Is there a metaphor for life here?? Today, 4 days after writing this post.. the poppies are gone already.

The peonies are quite a bit better… they provide us with a fairly nice looking hedge for most of the summer… with prolific blooms for about 2 weeks (providing we don’t get a heavy rain).. and they give me the opportunity to share with others.  Last year the hedge provided close to 100 blooms for my niece’s wedding, and most years I give away at least a dozen large bouquets.   They are right on time this year.. and seem to be EXTRA tall! 5′ now, measured at almost 57″ a week ago)

Here’s a tour of how things are growing in our vegetable garden as of earlier this week – June 8, 2020)

First off we have our 3 zucchini (black beauty) mounds (planted from seed) that are getting quite leggy.. I fear they don’t get enough sun.. but we’ll find out in a few more weeks.  Next our transplated remaining rhubarb is doing quite well.  It got pelted by hail a little over a week ago, and has some holey leaves, but is mostly doing well.  We also transplanted some roots that didn’t show any growth yet at the time.. and they are also sprouting new leaves.  We’re quite hopeful that the new raised rhubarb bed will do quite well.  Next is first of 3 “salad bowl” lettuce containers.  They are at 3 various stages of growth which is perfect.. hopefully they will stay that way and give us lettuce for most of the summer. This one pictured is a repurposed Pointsettia planter from this past Christmas.

next we have our radishes!  Guillermo is not a radish lover.. but most of my family is, including my mom.  I hope to provide her with some fresh radishes soon.  I’ve done 3 separate plantings so far, each about 2 weeks apart.. and the first planting should be ready to harvest in the next week.. I pulled one today – and it was YUMMY!

Then i have a row of golden beets which are also suddenly taking off from their first little seedlings.


I’ve had to remove a couple of plants, and have to remove still more.. (same with the zucchini.. but i’m protesting there)..

I don’t like Pruning. It is so hard for me to do – I grieve each little plant or branch i pull.. but in order for good growth to happen, pruning HAS to be done.   I wonder how hard it is for God to prune us?  Is it like the age old saying when a parent disciplines.. .“this is gonna hurt me a whole lot more than it hurts you?”  I’m not a parent, so I’ve never been the “discipliner”.. only the disciplinee.. and I’ve never quite believed that saying.

But.. now here I am, having to prune.. and remove plants that I lovingly seeded.. to make room for the better ones to grow and produce.. and I DON’T LIKE IT!!!


oh and cucumber.. i have to thin those as well.. they are to grow up these two arches on the North side of the raised garden.   I’ve harvested all the kale now, leaving one stripped plant that is boasting beautiful yellow flowers now and about to go to seed.   The garlic and onions planted last fall are all doing amazing and should be starting their harvest in about a month.  In the meantime, I’ve been cutting back the greens on the onion as needed for salads and dishes. In the foreground is a 5 yr old transplanted sage flowering, and a mint I’m cutting back almost biweekly.  as well as 3 jalepeno pepper plants.   3 rows of Daikon radish were direct seeded on Saturday, almost a week ago) and  sprouted leaves in 3 days after direct seeding!  This is something new for me to try growing, and I’m quite exciting.  I love Daikon (Lo Bok) in salads, fish tacos, or just to munch on fresh.

We have a section of my “kitchen scraps” that are growing amazingly well, 3 romaine (one didn’t make it) 4 celery (not pictured) and 4 rutabega… all from kitchen scraps.


The new bean bed is taking off remarkably well.. the first plant has reached above the deck floor now.

I’ve really taken to container gardening..using every available space.. including the steps up to the deck where we have a ginormous mint plant, geranium, and my little herb garden that really needs a bigger container.


I repurposed some flower pots from the garden centre to seed new kale plants for late summer/Fall planting (hoping to over winter & have for Spring harvest again) and 3 for Nasturtium to germinate in.  I hope to find a place to plant the Nasturtium where it can either trail or climb on the deck, giving shade and adding beauty with it’s orange, red and yellow edible flowers.  (behind the upper right nast. pot is a celery growing from kitchen scraps)


We’ve REALLY been enjoying the new deck during this season, both during the day and into the evening. (showing the other 2 lettuce bowls at later stages of growth than the “pointsettia pot”)



Never fear -there’s still lots of baking going on in “Bill & Amy’s Kitchen” … we found a VERY old partial case of Alexander Keith’s beer in the basement. (ewww) I had bought the case when a crew of guys came to build fences on our property line 5 years ago.  Thinking it had to be flat, and nothing to lose – I looked up recipes, and found one for Beer Bread. <–link to recipe here. It turned out pretty good. and VERY easy.


Amazingly when I popped the top off the bottle, it was still quite fizzy- but i still wasn’t gonna drink it.   The bread was dense, but really sweet and flavourful.  Toasted well.  It’s recommended to go with soups, stews, chili.  I’m earmarking this recipe and stashing the rest of the case for Fall when I get back into the heartier cooking.


More rhubarb/strawberry crumble, baked Kale chips, choc chip cookies, and a rhubarb/strawberry pie for my almost 92 yr old Father-in-Love.   I realllllly struggle with pie crust.  Guillermo really wanted me to make it with coconut oil, and I’ve tried a couple of different recipes.. (honestly, i did no better with butter or lard in previous attempts) but i just can’t seem to roll out a circle without big breaks or splits in the dough.


This time I didn’t do a good enough seal around the edge.. and lost a lot of liquid to the bottom of the oven…. oh dear. Still, i’m hoping it tasted good, and it did look a bit pretty.  The heart cut-outs help. ❤️ 

This post has really got me thinking about the pruning, changes and hopeful growth in my own life – as I’m stretched in new ways.

God.. I’m trusting you as this pruning happens.  I know you are gentle and loving.

I leave you with this pretty edible bouquet of Sage flowers, mint and Kale blossoms.




Published by billandamyskitchen

Bill (Guillermo 'cause he likes pretending he knows Spanish) and I (Amy) have been married since Sept 2005. We live in Southern Ontario, Canada - Niagara Peninsula in fact, smack dab between 2 of the Great Lakes. We love God, our family, our church family, and making each other laugh. (ergo the profile pic, he decided to make our photographer laugh by throwing a leg up on me just before the shutter clicked, which made ME laugh) When we married, I told Bill: "I don't know how to cook" but he had faith in me. So 15 years later, I'm still learning, and having fun. I've never (in my whole life) cooked a whole bird, chicken, turkey or otherwise. I've never roasted a beef, other than in a crockpot on low for 8 hrs. I like trying to find healthy & easy recipes and then I rarely follow them. I don't enjoy recipes that take hours or intricate steps. I have a special fondness for the Podleski sisters, writers/creators of the Looney Spoons, Crazy Plates and Yum/Yummer cookbooks. In 2018 we suddenly decided to rip our small house apart from stem to stern, moving out for 4.5 months while the house was demolished inside and out, and then rebuilt with an addition. If you go back in the archives to July-Dec 2018 you can follow that story. It's made our house open and so much more conducive to entertaining, small groups and large. It's given us the kitchen I've dreamed of to create and learn in. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to write about our journey, our faith in God and some fun recipes along the way. Thanks for joining us.

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  1. I love is this tour of the garden! Almost seems like I’m there. Thanks for sharing your heart, Amy. ❤️ And praying for Bill with the new job, longer commute!


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