I'm not much of a gardener, but I have one trick up my sleeve. It's not even a trick, but a quirk of nature: ferns love our open-air back porch. People ask my secret (I have no secret); what I feed them (I don't) and how much I water them (on days I'm not lazy and they're thirsty).
Yet they thrive.
So I run with them every spring when I drag home four ferns to hang out back, and one for a fake-vintage urn next to our front door. It's one of my personal annual holidays--the bright, sunny, late-spring day, perfect for the hanging of the ferns.
But come September, it's time to decide how to let them go. They would not do well inside our house, I don't want to mess with them in a crawl space and figure out when to bring them out again. No, I just throw out a Facebook pitch: who wants my ferns? They're free.
They're also heavy, messy, and depending on where you put them, they may or not play well with others. They love their east-facing open-air porch, lots of water, and to be left alone. They aren't for everyone.
Yet each year, I'm fascinated by where they go. Once someone in a town I rarely visit said she would love to have them--if I'd bring them to her. Nope. Come and get them is my only stipulation.
One year a local friend came and hauled them away. She never told me what happened after that. But she's never asked for any since.
Another year, a friend from New Castle came over and got them.
It's not an adoption where I'll be doing well-fern checks or asking how it's going. Once they are yours, they're not mine.
But this year, the Great Fern Giveaway turned into a surprise blessing. I posted the picture above on a whim one day this week and within minutes, an acquaintance from another town private messaged that she would like to have them as gifts for a relative. She came that day and as she loaded them in her vehicle, she unpacked her story of how this relative had randomly told her recently that she would love to have some ferns.
Ferns? the younger gal wondered. And then, although she says she is rarely on Facebook, there she was just in time to notice my post. The long story short is she came that day and took the ferns to their new recipient. The person was elated and blessed to receive them. I got to tell her how blessed I was that she was blessed. Blessings all around!
Isn't it interesting how the Lord can use heavy, messy objects like ferns for a special blessing? Yes it is.
I give programs relating to my book about lessons from cleaning out our attic. My book (on Amazon) is called There's a Clydesdale in the Attic: Reflections on Keeping and Letting Go.
The program I give to community organizations is called What We Keep: Fun with Heirlooms. The program continues to change as life offers new stories and updates. The latest one is the blessing of the ferns.
The program includes ways to not only keep and enjoy our stuff but to pass on to kids and grands, to donate, and to recycle and upcycle our stuff. I'm having a ball with it.
Consider my latest little twist:
This tiny vase belonged to my in-laws, and they kept it full of toothpicks. Perfect, but we aren't really toothpicks people. BUT, doesn't it make the sweetest little vase? It's going on the road with me tomorrow to an event where I'm the luncheon speaker. It's LifeStream's Fall Festival in Dunlapsville. I'm looking forward to it.
I've also used the vase as a Q-Tips holder.
My bigger point than this little vase, is that there are ways to upcycle our heirlooms in clever, useful ways that work for our livestyles. You can try this (and the concept) at home. I have ideas on how! If you need a program for your group, hit me up at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, I'm the guest blogger for bestselling author Liz Flaherty's website on Saturday. My post goes live at 2 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30. Maybe you'll check it out. Here's the adorable promotional graphic the talented author created.