Hopeful and Thankful

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Hope Blooms market

This last week was rich with amazing little snapshots.  Here are just a few. Rain and Springs: I was walking by the pond on Saturday, and the water level in the upper pond seemed shockingly high to me.  I was expecting it to be all the way down to half a foot deep or so.  But no!  The level had risen a decent amount.  Was it the rain? A spring?  Both?  In any case, it is high enough to start siphoning the water into the irrigation pond. 

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If you look closely, there are little shore birds eating in the mud

Semi-palmated Plovers: Every year around the end of August, migrating semi-palmated plovers show up on the river banks and beaches to fill up on little wee translucent shrimp.  They arrive in a trickle at first, and by the end of August there are great masses of them.  Like star wars fighter pilots, they veer and swerve in formation above the water at high tide.  They are tiny little hyperactive birds, no bigger than my hand, that walk so fast you can’t see their legs.  A very large portion of the population congregates on the Fundy tidal flats because they are such rich feeding grounds as the birds prepare for the second leg of their migration to South America.  I guess a few of them have found our irrigation pond irresistible.  The exposed rich muddy bank must have drawn them in, and as I pause to watch them, they seem to be finding plenty to eat.  Thankfulness: I am starting to really love Thursdays because we get to connect with our customers as they pick up their produce.  One of our customers inspired me regarding being thankful.  She and her husband lost their home and everything in it to fire recently.  As she was trying to cope with the news, she remembered a verse from the Bible she’d memorized as a kid: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7).  I confess I have been anxious about the lack of rain for our crops over the past few months.  It rains, and then I am immediately anxious again when I see no rain in the forecast.  Instead of being anxious I really needed to focus on being thankful for the rain we got.  When I focus on being thankful, the peace moves in.  My boss in Antigonish, Sister Florence, agreed.  “Being thankful is the root of joy.”  Syrian Desserts: At 6:30 we pack up our stand at Victoria Park and head over to Brunswick St and the Hope Blooms Garden.  Some of the leftover produce gets donated to the Hope Blooms market, which starts around 7:30.  We stop in front of the garden and several kids, who recognize the colourful van, run down to carry produce bins through the winding garden path to the market table.  There is a small boy struggling with a heavy bin and a Syrian refugee with a smile on his face lifts the bin and carries it the rest of the way to the market tables where more people are waiting to see what’s coming.  The kids set up the table, along with a display of salad dressings and some vegetables from their garden.  Hope Blooms offered half of their garden to the Syrian refugees who were placed in the apartment complex nearby.  They also offer the Syrians whatever is left over from the market for free.  As a thank-you, the Syrian families brought traditional desserts to share at the market.  Everybody dug in (yum)!  Hip-hop mixed with traditional Syrian music as people of all ages swung on swings, threw the football around, danced, and ate.  It was like a big, common back yard.  The field behind the garden was alive with a special joyful energy as Jessie Jollymore introduced us to some of the Syrian families, especially the ones who used to farm in their homeland.  They want to come with the Hope Blooms youth to visit our farm at the end of the month.  Before we left, the men started a traditional Syrian line dance.  Even the smaller boys joined in.  One man with an autistic son lifted him up on his shoulders.  He had no shame on his face, just love.

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David bunching onions with his mother, Hanna.  At 80 she’s pretty fast at her work!

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Dakota harvesting green onions

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Cody washing beets

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David offering produce to the Heart and Stroke Foundation big bike riders

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Dakota and Cody harvesting  Photo: David Greenberg

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Isaac hanging out with veggie-baby

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Bokar always brings great youth with him to help us out on Thursdays.  They also gave us salad dressings.  Thanks Hope Blooms!