Paradise Sign

One of my favorite quotes is from Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, a character on the old A-Team series. ‘I love it when a plan comes together.’ But right now, I’m wondering just what to do when my plans fall on the floor and shatter into tiny pieces.

We had big plans on starting up our greenhouse this year, in order to sell vegetable and herb plants. We did everything right. We researched. We created a budget. We carefully chose the seeds. Determined a conservative number of cells and flats. Researched prices. Placed our orders. When everything came in, we carefully calculated the time we needed, by counting back from Good Friday, the traditional planting date here in the South to when to plant the seed. And then we spent countless hours sowing, watering and watching. We put the trays of seedlings on seed mats and installed a heater to ward off the cold of the winter. We lovingly and gently bumped them all up (all 2,000 +) into the cells. I did fun markers for them, with the name of the plant on one side, and a Bible verse on the other. (I did that mainly because the idea of a tiny seed growing into something that I eat, and then still be able to save the seeds to grow again is one of my favorite things about God’s creativity).

And wouldn’t you know it? Mother Nature threw the South a curve ball. Temperatures dropped to well below our norm. It snowed. I mean, really. We don’t DO snow here in the South. Yet we got it. Three years before its scheduled date. No matter what we did, we just could not keep the greenhouse warm enough, and all those precious seedlings froze to death. I don’t think my greenhouse ever looked so sad – including when the sticker vines outgrow the energy and time I have to yank them out – usually in the dead heat of summer.

As any good Farm Wife would do, I frantically regrouped and reseeded. This time, I skipped the step of seed trays, and planted seeds directly in their cells. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. We did manage to sell a few, but we mainly have a lot of leggy plants begging to go into the ground. What makes it worse is, we have already had around 8 inches of rain in the past two months, which prevents us from trying to plant them in our own garden. Trust me – I know it’s still too wet. I tried to mow the grass around the garden this past week, and buried my lawn mower.

But we will regroup. One of our more minor concerns is I didn’t have the sign I wanted painted in time to advertise down by the main highway, or in front of the Planation. Most of our sales came from a flier at the local convenience store, one placed at Alona’s Beauty Shop, or word of mouth. I even used a few for bartering. Still, if we had had the sign, we may have sold a few more. But – no. The Farm Wife didn’t want just any sign. She wanted one that covered the entire gamut of what we sell – plants, produce, jams, jellies, eggs and more. I had just about given up. The Country Boy and I really did try hard to get our design built, but we are just NOT sign painters. And then an angel arrived at Paradise…

My cousin Rose is one of the most talented women I have ever met. She paints. She designs. She creates. And her cooking skills are the absolute best. She and my cousin Steve (she’s actually Stephen’s wife which makes her a cousin-by-marriage, but in all honesty, those two are more like my brother and sister than a cousin) came out to bring me a clock they had made and painted for me – and a Key Lime Pie that was drool producing delicious. In the course of the conversation, we told her about the sign, and she volunteered to finish it for us.

Oh. My. Word. In less than a week she delivered it in all its full glory. And it is a million times better than the one Randy and I came up with. And she even anticipated future sales of honey, if I can ever get my bee hives up and running. I may not have plants to sell, but I do have other things, and this sign will be going up as soon as possible. And the best part is she is designing another sign to place by the road, and this one will be going up in front of the Plantation.

My plans may not always come together as smoothly as Hannibal Smith’s, but somehow, God always sees to it that they come out even better than I had dreamed. Now – if he can just figure out a way to get Randy to build me a cute pavilion here on the Plantation from which to sell all these goodies, I just may be in business. Oh well, there is always next year…..

Thank you, Steve and Rose. Only the beauty of your hearts outshines your talent!