Today marked the start of something that I have wanted to do for a long time.
When I was a teenager my friends dad had a big old Victorian greenhouse in his garden. It was one of those old imposing structures with heavy wooden framing and central heating to keep the plants alive in the cooler days.
Growing along the roof was an ancient vine, every year it would look dead in January and by early spring it has performed something of a miraculous rejuvenation back to full bloom and grape production. It always amazed me how something that looked so haggard could be alive and productive.
Around 3 years ago I preached a sermon about the Vine in the Gospel of John. While studying for this discovered a really long article about how to care for vines. A seed was planted in my mind whilst reading that and it was at that time I remembered my friends dad and began to formulate a plan of having one of my own one day.
Those who have read previous posts will know that my son and I began construction of our own greenhouse last summer. Our windows were long overdue to be replaced and with the job done were left with a pile of old wooden framed glass. My wife set to wondering and the result was a picture from Pinterest.
I do like a challenge, so with little more than a picture and a vague idea we set to work readjusting and tweaking as we went. The weather beat us for 5 months but the project was finally completed a few weeks ago.
I had found a vine online for a reasonable price and was quite happy to wait until September for the optimum planting time. However, today in a local retailer’s outside display was a healthy growing vine. The colourful card promised luscious sweet red grapes with nothing but a hole in the ground required.
I am not that naive.
I am fore armed with the knowledge of what it takes to achieve success with these bushes.
At work there is a gentleman who does lectures on all matters horticultural in his spare time, I imagine that they will be long and extremely dull. I like to pick his brains given that my wife and I are novices at this growing lark. My interest is mostly observational, I get involved as a spade man mostly and a provider of grunt work. I pass on his answers to our questions and he has saved us no little effort at times.
So following his instructions I dug the prerequisite sized hole, threw in some sand and headed out with the kids to get dirt and poop.
Some moles had very kindly pushed up enough fine soil to fill our bag and with my daughter distracting the horses I raided their toilet in the corner of the field.
Thus it has begun.
In order to restore hope we need things to look forward to, we need projects to occupy us and we need focus for the brain to interest us.
Already it has helped me to understand that passage in John better, knowing the process of planting and caring for this vine, knowing the need for flowers over foliage and pruning ruthlessly to increase fruit. This is no mistake that at this particular point in my life as vine has entered.
What was planted today was more than a vine, it represents for me the return of a future, it is something that will require my attention and if all goes well will return to me fruit. This is a little investment in my future, it won’t make me rich but it will enrich. It won’t bring fame but it will reward.
It may seem a small thing, but I am learning to appreciate those little things a lot more.