A wonderful spring
vacation last year, in May, the prime spring gardening month, led to an
extremely unusual June in the garden. My strawberry patch had produced well the
previous two summers. My husband had built a wire fence arch over the top which
we covered with bird netting. The berries grew red, juicy and plump. Yet two
weeks away from home last spring had put me seriously behind.
evening in early June, I strolled out to wander through the lush garden. I
leaned over to peer closely at the berries, adjusting my glasses a bit.
I picked him
off, throwing him in the grass and twisting him into the ground with the toe of
my garden shoe. I turned over a few strawberry leaves to see if there were more
there. There always are!
I picked and
smushed and picked and smashed. Once I grew weary of this routine, I retreated
to the house, found a small jar lid and pulled an IPA beer out of the fridge.
Back in the garden, I sunk the jar lid into the ground just far enough for the
soil level to lead the vermin straight into the lethal beer. I poured the rich
smelling IPA into the lid, then resumed my slug hunt.
later I looked up from my search under a particularly large strawberry plant
and spotted slugs everywhere, headed straight for the beer “barrel”. Who said
slugs are slow? Not me! They were all making tracks straight for the IPA, more
coming out of the shadows all the time. My stomach sank. This was a true
I gave up
and went inside. I thought I would empty the beer barrel in the morning and
next morning, I tiptoed quietly out to the strawberry bed. The beer barrel was
overflowing with dead, slimy slug bodies. I gave a deep sigh as I knew beyond a
shadow of a doubt that I had not made a dent in the slug population.
evening, I refilled the beer barrel and left the wire fence off of the
strawberries. I just knew the birds would come and eat any slugs that couldn’t
fit in the beer barrel. Smugly, I went off to bed, sleeping well at the thought
of my genius.
The next morning, I rose early and dashed out, expecting to see a clean strawberry bed. The beer barrel was tipped out of the ground and thrown a foot away, half of the strawberry plants had been thrashed, and sliding along through this devastation were countless more slugs.
had drunk the IPA, eaten what strawberries the slugs had missed, and apparently
waved a hearty good-bye to the slugs as they flew off, well satisfied with the
slug IPA I had served up for them.
The evil king of Aram was out to kill
the king of Israel and plunder the countryside. 2 Kings 6 Time and again he
plotted where and when to attack the Israelites. Yet the king of Israel was
warned each and every time and made well his escape. When the evil king was
notified that Elisha the prophet was the source of the military leaks, the king
sent horses and chariots along with a strong army force to get rid of the man
The Arameans surrounded the city where
Elisha and his servant were staying. In the early morning, Elisha’s servant stepped
outside to begin preparations for the day – there was the enemy army! They were
The servant ran back inside and
shouted at his master, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?”
Elisha was not concerned. “Don’t worry
about it,” he told his servant. We have a bigger army than they do. As a
puzzled servant stood there with a muddled look on his face, Elisha prayed. “Open
his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”
The servant did not know what was out
there. Even the enemy army did not know what was out there. Yet God had
provided all that was needed – more than what was needed. They just couldn’t
For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and
certain of what we do not see. Hebrews
Then the Lord
opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of
horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6
Chris Tomlin wrote a
wonderful song about this “God of angel armies.”
The chorus goes like this:
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
God of angel armies
Is always by my side
Listen to the entire song here:
Angels are real. Angel armies are
real. But most importantly, God is real. Pray and ask Him to open your eyes.
This little-known berry bush is beginning to make itself
known here in the States. I found this Canadian native peeking out from the
pages of garden catalogs for a number of years, but I was too hesitant to try something
brand new. Then, three years ago, I ordered two blueberry bushes. By mistake,
the garden company sent me one blueberry bush and one honeyberry, so in the
ground it went. Last year it produced four scrumptious berries that I savored!
This year it is loaded with blossoms!
In order to produce well it needs to be pollinated by another variety of honeyberry, so I planted one last year. The one pictured is my three-year-old. Last week we had sustained winds up to 50 m.p.h. and these two bushes did just fine. They are set in a sheltered corner of the house – just in case. The day after the winds, an artic blast flew down out of Canada. Our night temperatures were in the low 20’s. Then yesterday I took a look and this silly honeyberry bush is bursting with blossoms!
That’s my kind of berry!
It is cold hardy to -55 F and the blossoms can withstand 20
F. They have a higher level of antioxidants than blueberries and can be eaten
fresh or made into jam or used in any blueberry recipe. It is also disease and
pest resistant as well.
If you have a corner of your yard or garden you need to fill, take a serious look at this crazy berry!
If you have any honeyberries on your property, please tell
us how it’s doing and what you think of it. What other suggestions do you have
for fruit or flowers this year?
My husband and I jumped in the taxi at the Red Hook Ferry terminal.
We were headed for the rental car company that had confirmed a car for us for
the next few days.
Ten days earlier, when we had arrived in St. Thomas, Budget Rental
car at the airport had confirmed a car for us, but they had not saved us one.
That is not the way it is done in the States, but I do understand. St. Thomas
is such a small island and there are an overwhelming number of tourists. The
rental car companies have to do the best they can. There simply is not enough
physical space on the island to hold all the rental cars that are needed. If they
hold a car for someone, then if that person does not show up, they lose a
significant amount of money. I understand the system, I simply wish they had
told me that when I made the reservation. To get off the airplane, tired and
hungry from the long trip, expecting to have a car, and not have one, is a bit
disconcerting. Yet, in the end, it saved us a lot of money to do taxis for the
first week we were there. Also, it gave us time to get used to the roads and
the flow of traffic. In the end I was very happy.
So now, here we were walking into the Dependable Car Rental
Agency on St. Thomas recommended by our bnb. Would they have a car for us? Yes!
They did! They were very kind and had an extremely comfortable and clean SUV waiting
for us. We were off!
The bnb (Casa Grand View on Airbnb – check it out!) that we
had booked for our last few days was up on top of the mountain with a fantastic
view out over Megan’s Bay, out to Tortola, and beyond. But, to get there we had
to follow some very interesting directions. Drive past the Fort, take a left at
the light, follow the road up the hill (there was a left turn not mentioned but
we figured it out). Follow the winding road till you come to an arch and a
burnt-orange wall. Hmm, several arches, but no orange wall. Finally, after a
few more zigs and zags, there appears before us a huge burnt-orange wall on our
left, and lo and behold an arched doorway just before it. There we take a left.
A few more zigs and zags, then a stop sign that is very well hidden. Oops. Didn’t
make a stop as the road turns very quickly up to the right around a sharp
corner. Next came Sib’s restaurant. (Great place to eat.) Take a right. Watch
for the lime-green school and the Catholic church. There we take a left. Looking
for a grey house with green shutters. A mile or so down the road and we are “home”.
The view is fantastic! We stand on the deck and just stare.
God’s creation is beyond belief!
Once we have settled in, we drive down to the Fruit Bowl grocery
store. We hear it is a bit on the expensive side but they have lots of fruit
and a fantastic salad bar. We picked up some hot food and a few salad choices
for our evening meal, much cheaper than going out to eat again and the food was
delicious. We returned the next day because we loved it so much.
One day we drove down to Hull Bay. It was quiet (no cruise
ship people) and pretty, but not much of a swimming beach. We sat and watched
the surfers for awhile and ate at the restaurant. Great food!
Another day we drove down to Megan’s Bay. Absolutely gorgeous!!
We went early and staked out some shade under a palm tree. Follow the beach
down to the left and it won’t be so crowded. We had great fun watching the
pelican’s diving for fish right in front of us. On the way back up the hill
from there, we stopped at a restaurant called Brooks Restaurant and Bar. The
food was incredibly delicious and the portions were gigantic! You have to go
We visited the Mountain Top view spot. The view was great,
but not any different than our bnb. The gift shop was lots of fun. There was a wonderful
pirate on the wall which I wanted to buy, but the lady just laughed at me and
said he was not for sale.
One other beach we visited was at Secret Harbor. Most of the
beach is for the resort, but go down to the end on the right and you can rent
lounges and umbrellas. We got there early so the parking was easy and the
umbrella available. Before long, the cruise ship people came and they were out
of luck. The snorkeling was good, and the best part was the restaurant had a
beach waitress so we didn’t even have to move from our chairs to get drinks and
food. Loved it!
And so our Caribbean Trip came to an end. As one sign said,
we had “Sandy toes and salty kisses.” The Caribbean is a fantastic place to
visit – but we are always glad when we reach home.
Riding the ferry to St. John, we saw numerous nearby islands,
floating on the Caribbean Sea. It was a quick 20-minute ride. As we departed
the ferry terminal in St. John, we were quickly surrounded by taxi drivers. We
dove through the group and swam out the other side. Our ride was waiting for
us. The lady who hosted our bed and breakfast met us in the cute little park
opposite the ferry terminal. Since we had no rental car, we decided to try the
taxis for a day or two. Our hostess said her house was about a mile and a half
from Cruz Bay.
“That’s not very far.” I told my husband. “Let’s just walk to
Cruz Bay in the morning and get a taxi from there to the beach.” Our hostess
smiled and said, “Well, it is a difficult walk,” and she gave us phone numbers
for several taxis. She drove us around Cruz Bay in a quick tour and then headed
up the hill, then around some crazy corners, then down a hill, then up a very
steep hill, then down some more hills, more crazy corners, then up, and up
again, then waaaay up. That last hill was incredible—I never thought any
vehicle could make it up that hill!
My husband looked at me and said, “I am not walking to Cruz
Bay!” We climbed out of the car, grabbed our bags and headed into the house. It
was a beautiful view straight through her living room, out the sliding glass
doors, and out over the Caribbean Sea. Tropical greens and blues spread out
before us as far as the eye could see. Our room was upstairs with its own
balcony looking out over Rendezvous Bay across the sea and even out to St.
Croix, over 40 miles away! We simply stood in awe. The room was beautiful,
extremely clean and private. Check her out on Airbnb. It’s called Hawk’s Rest,
Cruz Bay, St. John USVI. She went out of her way to make sure we had everything
The next morning, she gave us a ride into Cruz Bay where we
bought some sandwiches and easily grabbed a taxi headed out to the beaches. The
taxi was an open-air Safari taxi. It was fun riding along looking out over the
bays and islands, not worrying about keeping my eyes on the road. As the wind
was up, we chose to start on Maho Bay. The waves were up, but not too much. We
dove right in and swam to our hearts content. We did try to snorkel, but the
waves had stirred up the sand so there was no visibility. Instead we built sand
castles, stretched out in the sun, ate our delicious sandwiches and swam to our
When we were ready to head back to our room, we stepped out
onto the road behind the beach and looked around like we were lost. What if no
taxi ever comes again? Before we had all the sand brushed off our feet and our
shoes back on, a taxi came to our rescue. The following day we spent some time
shopping in Cruz Bay and had a delightful strawberry and banana smoothie! Cruz
Bay is quaint and delightful during the day. In the evenings, everyone has
music blasting and the bars are overflowing with people having a great time.
When Friday came, I announced it was time to rent a Jeep tomorrow and drive
ourselves. Our hostess mentioned that most car rental companies are closed on
Saturday, so we headed down immediately and found a Jeep available at the first
place we stopped.
I have driven on the left side of the road before so no
problems there. But those hills! Sharp corners with extra steep switchbacks
make blind driving very interesting. Yet no problems occurred. The speed limit
is usually 20 mph and everyone is kind and willing to wait their turn. We spent
a few more days swimming and snorkeling, investigating all the beaches in turn.
Our favorite place to eat turned out to be the Sun Dog Café
at the Mongoose Junction. Their Shrimp Vera Cruz was excellent! My husband said
the Stuffed French Toast was the best food he had ever eaten. The mango and
cream cheese stuffing literally explode in your mouth!
The Jeep had to stay on St. John so we turned it in and
headed back to St. Thomas. Our final Airbnb recommended a car rental company so
we put in a call. Yes, they had a car and yes, they gave us a confirmation