The Robin

 

In Ireland the humble bird the Robin is celebrated on our Christmas cards. Images of the bright eyed bird with healthy feathers, red on his breast and brown on his body and wings are displayed on many a mantle piece.

One forgets that this bird has had to survive a busy schedule in spring and summer building nests, hatching eggs, and foraging for food to keep himself and young alive. Brendan leaves out seeds and leftover bread on the fence for the birds. One bird waits expectantly every morning. It has come into our kitchen when we leave the door open.

If I am away for a few days the Robin welcomes us back by hopping in circles around me from shrub to hedge to get my attention. I haven’t been looking out for my friend for a while. But this morning I was up early. The bird must have seen me move about the kitchen. He was looking for food.

I fetched the seed box and laid out some seeds. The Robin came along. Sadly he looked a bit disheveled. His head was bereft of healthy feathers. He had few red feathers. He must have been in a few difficult situations; fights, hungry or thirsty.

Perhaps the hungry mouths he was helping feed this summer pulled at his feathers when he was sharing his morsels. Is it time to moult his feathers? Or was he in some territorial fights? I discovered from a bird blog that robins defend their territory fiercely.

He has some nice territory to defend. He has two gardens in which to forage and get plenty of food for his offspring. He has a home owner who leaves out treats for him every morning. He isn’t going to give up easily.

Can I learn from this little bird. Jesus said look at the birds. I see this Robin as a real warrior fighting for his home and his land where he gets provision for his young. I read in Nehemiah 4 v 4 that the men prayed for their families and their homes. They built with one hand and defended their property with a sword in their hands. Like the Robin I often get a few ruffled feathers as I defend my home and children. It is my space and I want to keep it a safe place free from evil.

Jesus likens a man to a house.
““When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. “”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:43-45‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We can learn from this scripture Jesus warning to continue to keep our house free from evil spirits. They will always want to come back in. They will never give up. So one needs to be on guard to prevent evil coming back into ones life once we have been set free.

How does one do that. By believing in Jesus, by prayer, by reading the Word of God and by obeying what God has asked one to do.

Irish Summer Weather is Unpredictable

The Summer weather in Ireland is unpredictable.  The weather forecaster may tell us there will be showers with some sunshine.  This unpredictability causes the Irish people to talk much about the weather.  You can be sure the tourists that come to Ireland don’t come to get a suntan.

We Irish have learned to make the most of our unpredictable weather.  Ireland is famous for having forty shades of green throughout the land.  We grow vegetables and crops that like rain and mature without hot sunshine.  One such crop is the potato. Another is Oates. The Irish have survived on these staple crops.

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Our unpredictable weather causes weeds to flourish as well. One such weed is the nettle.  Nettles love to grow in good soil and flourish if there is no competition.  Nettles spring up everywhere, along roadsides, in gardens, in forests and wherever it’s seeds land.  One doesn’t have to sow nettle plants.  If there is soil and water they will grow.  The seeds are so tiny they can be carried by the wind.

I went for a walk this morning.  There were plenty of nettles growing along the road.  Many other grasses, thistles and weeds were flourishing, making the road narrow at some parts.  Maybe the road will dwindle to a pathway someday if the weeds are not cut back.

As I looked at the vegetation along the Boreen, I remembered a dream I had last night.  I saw a nettle plant open up before me and many of its seeds were released into the air, just like a fire cracker that is released at Halloween.  I have been thinking about Multiplication recently.  The nettle was releasing seeds for the multiplication of new nettle plants.  God created every plant to multiply, despite the weather.

“Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”
And it was so.
The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.
And God saw that it was good.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:11-12‬ ‭

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I am back from holiday.  My garden needs attention like the road.  If I don’t deal with the nettles and other weeds, the flowers and vegetables will be choked.  The decking is dotted with sycamore umbrella seeds.  The back yard paving has a sprinkling of leaves.  It is constant work subduing the land.  God created man to work the land and take care of it.  Weeds find a way to grow in the tiniest of crevices, on walls or between flag stones.  I need some men around here to clear up.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭NIV‬

The trees and weeds will continue to bear seeds and multiply.  God made them to produce their own kind.  It’s man’s job to manage all the produce of new life.
It all seems an never ending battle to deal with weeds.  But I take courage.  God said he would bless the work of our hands.

“You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land.
The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:3-4, 8, 12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There will be order again.  The weeds will not take over.  I will enjoy the fruit of the apple and pear trees, the tomatoes and other vegetables.  There will be trailing nasturtsums, daisies and roses.  The decking will get cleared and the lawn cut.  It is good all the weeds die back for the winter.  It gives me a chance to get ahead of the growth of nettles next spring and keep them at bay.

Plants and weeds flourish here despite our unpredictable weather.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unpredictable/

The Fields are White Unto Harvest

I grew up on a small farm in Co Down, Ireland.
My dad raised ten children from farming the land.
He kept a herd of Freisians cows.
That meant milking the cows twice a day.
No lying in bed when one felt like it.
Mum reared chickens and sold the eggs to a local grocery store.
I used to carry buckets of grain and water across a field to feed the chickens, and then collect the eggs.
Dad grew crops of potatoes for the family’s use and oats and barley to supplement the feed for the animals.
We children always helped out when we could.
When the oats crop was ripe and cut, we would help dad gather up the stalks and bind them into sheaves.  The sheaves were then collected and built into a stack.  At the top of the stack an empty food sack was tied on to keep the seeds and stalks dry until threshing day.

 

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Here is a photograph I took recently of such stacks.  There are eight stacks, the number of daughters my father had. The scene prompted me to write this post.
This farmer keeps the tradition of threshing going to show the next generation how the oats were harvested.

Threshing day for dad would come around.   Farmers in the neighbourhood came to help with the work.
A Threshing machine was used to separate the seeds from the straw, and bind the straw into bales to be stored for cattle bedding.
It was an exciting and joyful day for our family.  We helped our mum prepare a big pot of stew and home made soda bread to feed all the men who came to help.  The boys helped the men while us girls played around in the sunshine.  It was a golden scene with the sun gleaming off the straw.
In Ireland in the past this harvest event would have been a time for match making.
A marriage could be arranged between a suitable young man at the threshing and a daughter of the household.
The single men who attended dad’s harvest may have had designs on us daughters, but we thought they were far too old for us.

We found our husbands in farther away fields in other counties.
Today some of our children have found husbands and wives from the nations.
We got news yesterday of the birth of our Canadian grandchild!  This is my harvest!

A very long way from the Threshing field in Dunmore.
Life in the past was more leisurely and people depended on each other to help with the harvest.
It did not matter if you were a Protestant or a Catholic when it came to helping your neighbour.
We  could not hate our neighbours.
Sadly the community atmosphere has disappeared.
Small farmers have to supplement their income with another job.
Big families are rare.
The combine harvester sweeps up the harvest .
No more cups of tea and soda bread with melted butter running down the sides in the harvest field.
No more talking and sharing stories or finding out who had got married or had a baby.

Jesus was familiar with harvest time in the Land of Israel.  He would have seen the farmers gather in the grapes, olives and wheat.  He mentioned stories relating to the harvest, olives being pressed to make olive oil, grapes being crushed to make wine and grain being crushed into flour to make bread.

We remember His death through the breaking of bread and drinking wine, the fruit of the vine.

He spoke of a different kind of harvest, the harvest of souls to bring to heaven.  He is looking for workers in His Harvest.  Let us bring joy to Jesus.

 
Nowadays we find out the news from friends via Facebook.
The harvest field is now the nations.
Welcome to my field.
Thank you for listening to my story.