Genesis 1:29 – I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat.

Gratitude Day 850

The tomatoes have taken over.


These buckets of tomatoes are just the ones that Hubby Rick picked YESTERDAY. He picks this much a few times a week.

The tomatoes have taken over.

We’ve always had a garden. It is something that we have both enjoyed. The last few years, Rick is the gardener. I am the freezer/canner/figure out what to do with the produce. It has been a good system.

At our last home, our garden was small. Well, actually, most of our gardens have been small. Rick prides himself on getting the most produce per square foot that a garden can produce. And he has done very well with this.

We have had blight or some other disease with our tomatoes multiple times. We’ve sprayed, dusted, moved plants to new locations to try and minimize the spread or taming. Well, this year, there is no blight or disease in sight and the tomatoes are going wild.

When we moved to our current house, we knew that we did not have an ideal place for a garden in town. Thankfully, Rick has a farm just a few miles from our house. He staked out a spot and prepared the ground. Since it is a working farm, there is manure. In fact, there was a little manure pile that had been sitting there for a few years, rotting away. Making beautiful humus that Rick incorporated into the space where he put the garden.

For you non-gardeners, let me just say this: old manure that has had time to decompose is some of the best fertilizer you can get for a garden. It has nitrogen and lots of other good stuff plants like. If it has a chance to decompose a bit, it’s even better.

Case in point: why our tomatoes have taken over.

I bought some plants in May. Rick put them in the ground. A couple days later, the plants were droopy from a late frost. I picked up another 4-pack of tomatoes just in case the tomato plants didn’t bounce back from the frost. Several looked suspicious. Well, they all bounced back because of Rick’s careful tending. And now, we have tomatoes like crazy.

Big, beautiful tomatoes. Like ones that should be sold at the grocery store. We have Roma-style tomatoes (maybe an Amish paste? I don’t remember) and more traditional tomatoes. And we have lots of both types.

A couple weeks ago, I was on deadline for three projects. Big ones that I was trying to get pulled together. It was a Sunday. Rick had picked three 5-gallon buckets of tomatoes that day, bless his heart. And he kept asking me, “What are you going to do with those tomatoes? They can’t go to waste.” I had canned some the day before, in spite of my looming deadlines. I was trying to get one project finished that Sunday night. I did not have time to can more tomatoes.

So, I called our former neighbor, Dave, who loves to make salsa. I said if he came to my job on Monday, I would have three buckets of tomatoes for free.

Dave drove 45 minutes to get the tomatoes. And Rick and I were both happy. I hope that salsa is fantastic.

Every week, I take tomatoes to church and make sure they are all taken home. Anyone who stops by gets tomatoes. I take them to work and to other people. Anyone who wants tomatoes gets them for free. I have made salsa and spaghetti sauce and tomato juice.

I am nearly out of canning jars. (Please, don’t drop any more off at my house. I only have so much room. And how many tomatoes can two people eat in a year?)

I do want to try roasting some tomatoes this week. And yes, our freezer has plenty of frozen tomatoes that I can use when I have time.

As you can see, the tomatoes have taken over. With more coming. Another 2-3 buckets every few days for the next couple of weeks.

Why so many tomatoes? How have they taken over?

Well, I probably did not need to buy one more four-pack of tomatoes after the frost. I should have waited a couple more days. This was also a new location for a garden. Fresh soil that has never had a garden on it before. So, no blight, no disease. Just beautiful soil ready to produce.

But the deal changer in our opinion?

The manure. The decomposing humus that has just been waiting to be incorporated into some soil so it could add nitrogen and other good things and turn the soil into gold.

Yep, the yucky manure that most people turn their noses up to because it smells and looks yucky and is what no one really wants to deal with. But in reality, it’s the best fertilizer out there. It was all free.

Maybe there is a little life lesson here. Something that we can all reflect upon and think about for even a minute and relate to our lives.

My friend – I’m guessing that you have had something that happened in your life that was stinky and yucky and gross. Something that you really didn’t want to have to deal with. A death. A divorce. A disappointment or a let-down. An ill-timed situation that distracted you and made you deal with something that you did not want to face. Something that caused you pain and suffering. Grief.

And this situation has probably festered in your life for a while. It has caused you tears and hurt and you have wanted to move on from it for years. Yet, it has drug you down. Affected your life. Zapped your energy and time.

It is impossible to separate this hurt from the rest of your life. And so, it becomes integrated. It gets mixed up with the rest of your everyday life. Sometimes, it creates messes in other areas of your life because, well, that’s what happens. Slowly, maybe the suffering has decomposed a bit. Broken down over time and you have decided to not let the raw suffering be quite so evident in your life. Hopefully, you have released some of the hurt and decided that living today is far more important than hanging on so tightly to the grief from the past.

And when you do this, my friends, there will come a day when you may find some beautiful fruit that comes out of this situation. Let me be clear – this fruit is not a life lesson that you had to learn. It’s a realization that simply comes out of what you have experienced. You have discovered something new about yourself. You are stronger than you thought. More compassionate than you anticipated. Or you have discovered how to have more empathy towards other people who might be going through a similar situation.

The lesson does not replace all of the hurt and pain. It just becomes a way for you to realize that today can be a glorious day if you allow yourself to see it this way.

And you discover a bunch of fruit in your life that is beautiful. Wonderful. Puts a smile on your face. You discover joy again and do not feel guilty. You see that you can live with grief and hurt and still have a pretty good life.

The joy can take over once again. And It. Is. OK.

The tomatoes would have never been so abundant without the manure.

You would not be the person you are today without the yucky parts of your life.

And isn’t this worth celebrating?

Please stop by my house if you want a few tomatoes. They are free of charge.

Just like the humus that created them.

The humus that enhanced our garden.

There is humus in your life: things that aren’t as pleasant. But you can find joy and peace and love again. If only you let the humus guide you.

For the humus in our lives, I am very grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – We look at the difficult times in our lives and yes, it is hard. We wonder why these situations happen. We want them to go away. I pray that over time, we can allow ourselves the joy of letting the humus in our lives to allow us to change, grow and become more of the person You long for us to be. Amen.

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