Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

These first warm sunny days of Spring can only mean one thing. It’s time to get the garden ready. Isn’t it amazing to see how many weeds, briars, wild onions, and crabgrass can take over that garden spot in the time between Fall harvest and Spring plantin’? It would be foolish to just go out there and throw some seeds on the ground and expect to have sweet juicy watermelons, maters, corn, and butterbeans.

So in the Spring, you just gotta hitch up the ol’ mule to the turn plow and go to work. All the weeds and wild onions and other stuff need to be turned under and the dirt needs to breathe. At least, that’s what Daddy used to tell us back home on the farm. And judging by the way Ollie and Wade and me worked that mule and turn plow, Daddy might have just as well said last rites over our garden.

Plantin’ a garden is hard work. Something country boys like us had a hard time acceptin’. After the dirt is turned over and breathin’ again, then you have to take a drag harrow and get rid of all the rocks and clods. Then it’s time to spread the fertilizer. You can’t expect sweet cantaloupes without fertilizer to make ‘em grow. Then you gotta drag and smooth the whole garden again before changing the turn plow to a smaller blade and lay off some nice straight rows. After all that, then you’re ready to plant some seed.    

I was in the barber shop the other day getting’ my ears lowered when my mind went wanderin’ back down the dirt road to Route 4. And it was something Clint said that made me turn off the main road. As he was leavin’, Clint turned to ask Dennis if he wanted him to come over and plow up his garden.

But his garden wasn’t ready to plow, according to Dennis, because he had spread a load of compost from the chicken house on his garden during the winter. And now his garden was overrun with every kind of wild weed known to exist in North American soil. The chickens must have been fed a steady diet of wild onions and ragweed and dandelion seed. He had to get control back of his garden before he could get it ready to plow or plant. The only remedy, according to Dennis, was to zap ‘em with Round-Up.

Gardens are a lot like our hearts. Actually, our hearts are God’s garden. And we’re supposed to be working it, and tending it, and taking care of it. But if we leave the garden and run off to the woods or the swimmin’ hole chasin’ silly pleasures and leave His garden un-attended, Satan will sneak in while we’re not looking and plant some thorns and thistles. And, like Dennis’ garden, the only alternative we have then is to zap ‘em with God’s ‘Round-Up.’

What does His weed-killer look like? Glad you asked. You mix together equal portions of intensive daily Bible study, a regular quiet time, prayer, praise and worship, and you’re ready to take on anything the devil will try to get growin’ in your heart.

After all, when the seed (God’s word) is planted in good soil, there’ll be a bountiful harvest (Luke 8:8). Good soil is the heart that accepts the seed (hears the word) and wraps its heart and life around it, keeping it watered and weeded, and by hangin’ on and endurin’ the storms that always hit the garden, produce that hundred-fold crop of blessings (Luke 8:15).

Yep, it’s a lot of hard work gettin’ a garden ready to plant. Even more hard work to be sure the briars and weeds don’t get a toehold while the tender young seeds are being prepared to present us the good stuff at harvest, like corn-on-the-cob, fresh maters and squash. But you know what, I never sat down to a feast like that and regretted the hard work.

Does the dirt in your garden (heart) need to breathe? Are there some wild onions and dandelions that need to be zapped? These first warm sunny days of Spring provide the perfect opportunity for us all to check our gardens. Need some help?

Round-Up to the rescue!