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16th of August

Zucchini God


That’s right.  Here on the farm, we have a zucchini God.  The day before, we had a visit from the corn God.  Now before anybody gets freaked out and thinks I’ve gone AWOL on the one and only triune God, read on.

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In all my years, I have never seen a longer spring or a shorter summer.  Everyone around here was fretting about their crop fields large and their family gardens small.  The earth was cold and hard for too long.  And then came the seemingly never-ending rains, water-logging the land, delaying planting further.

Fellow horse owners talked more about hay scarcity and skyrocketing prices than about corn or soybeans or wheat.  First cutting was lost due to flooding.  Last year, a cutting was lost due to drought.  At the mercy of weather, we waited.  And many with horses started trying to sell.  But who wants to buy a horse—even take a horse for free—when the price to feed more than doubles in a year and even if you can afford to pay, you can’t force hay to grow.  And farmers were talking about not being able to supply, no matter the price.

So here we are in mid-August, two months after the big fret around here.  Corn fields are swaying tall and tasseled in late summer sun.  Soybeans lush cover the field on our farm.  Hay enough to fill our barn and beyond has been cut and baled and stacked.  And we have extra to help our neighbor to the north who said she looks like she might be short this year by about forty bales.  Forty bales?  To horse owners, that’s practically nothing!  I know forty horse owners who would willingly donate a bale!

And then there’s our zucchini.  The first planting on the first of June rotted in the ground.  Saturated seed, too wet and too cold to germinate, just gave up and died.  Three weeks later, I planted again.  And here we are, mid-August, and our zucchini looks like it grew in Jurassic Park where everything grows big, like dinosaurs and all.

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We practically have zucchini growing out of our ears around here, we’ve eaten so much.  And I got really creative with ways to prepare it and even sneak it into dishes for unsuspecting kids who have moaned, “Zucchini AGAIN?”  Sounds like the manna complaints of the ancients . . .

How about roasted quail with oat bread stuffing moistened with grated zucchini and herbed with fresh sage, glazed in mango chutney, dear children?  Would that add some spice to your life?

So what DOES one DO with too much zucchini?  Well, you set up a roadside zucchini stand, of course!  And that’s what Anna and Nick decided to do!  They would sell it the same way they sold lemonade years ago and make a killing!

First came the advertising poster they made together, complete with dollar sign coming AFTER the number instead of BEFORE.  And then I suggested that people might not pay 1$ for one zucchini, even though they were gargantuan.  So they cut that line off the sign and decided to sell for fifty cents apiece.

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Next came the ATV with trailer to haul the wood table down our long drive with baskets of freshly picked Jurassic Park zucchini, organic or course.  They set up and opened for business, waving their sign at all, smiling wide.  Who could resist, right?

I met my neighbor at the end of the drive to go for a quick 30 minute speed walk.  She grew up in a farming family around here and quietly said as soon as we were out of earshot from the kids . . .

“You KNOW they’re not going to sell any of those zucchini, right?  They’re too big and there’s so much zucchini coming out of gardens right now, they won’t be able to GIVE them away.”

“Maybe,” I said.  “But at least they’re having fun trying.”

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Thirty minutes later, my friend and I returned.  Anna and Nick were dancing to a tune he was playing on his IPod, blaring through portable speakers.  All but two of the zucchini were gone.

“What happened to the zucchini?” I asked.

“We sold ‘em.” they replied, not seeming too excited or too surprised.

“WHAT?” I asked with shocked tone.

“Yeah.  Four ladies from Chicago stopped and bought ‘em.”

“And they paid for them?”

“Yep.  Fifty cents each.”  Again, no surprise.

“How much did you make?”

“Don’t know,” Nick said matter-of-factly.  Anna repeated.

And they couldn’t do the math but I figured they made well-over minimum wage for the half-hour they worked (played).  Hmmmm.

I got some food for thought that afternoon  . . .

God wastes nothing.  Even the extra.  He can lead a car full of urban ladies to a country farm stand two hours north to buy from the abundance of a family with two kids who have a BIG faith in a BIG God and a willingness to put faith in action.  And I worry about how God will provide for our three kids with cognitive challenges once Todd and I are gone?  Really?

And here’s the zucchini club on my head, knocking me to my senses . . .

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What I just said there about kids with cognitive challenges?  What does it matter how cognitively able someone is or isn’t when they are faith-gifted?  What does it matter if outsides seem normal, but insides are fear-quaking, those of us who are faith-challenged?  Which one is more abled, really?  Which one is more able to live life well, really?

And once again, I see God’s upside-down economy.

And once again, I see the blessing in raising three kids with cognitive challenges.

We’ve spent our years helping our cognitively challenged kids get through school lessons, readying them for life beyond home.  And they’ve spent their years helping their faith-challenged parents get through life lessons, readying us for heaven.  And they don’t even know what they’ve done.  Just by being who they ARE, just by LIVING their FAITH in a GREAT BIG GOD, they have helped others’ faith grow bigger.

Isn’t God the BEST economist EVER?  Isn’t THIS how we’re supposed to spread the wealth?

Oh LORD, our God of corn and hay and soybeans and zucchini and children with cognitive challenges, grow my faith!  Keep it growing till it’s big and bold and perfectly ripe for the picking on the day You choose.  And while I’m growing in your garden of life, protect me from the nasty little aphids that want to suck dry my vibrancy, my color, my life.  Keep me growing strong, able help all you bring by my side here on the farm and all places I go.  Cause some to stop and feed on Your goodness so they might move from here and feed others.  And help us all know and remember that you are God of all, our great Provider, the one true God in whom we can all rest from worry.

Amen.

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Come stroll the trails with me on our 44 acre Midwest horse farm where I seek God in the ordinary and always find Him--the Extraordinary--wooing, teaching, wowing me with Himself. Thanks for visiting. I hope you will be blessed!

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