Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Providential Preparedness

When Maid Elizabeth was in grade school we made our way through Noah Webster's Value of the Bible and Excellence of the Christian Religion - 1834.  It is a wonderful book that was designed to walk young children through the bible so they could understand this incredible world that God made specifically for humankind.  One section really struck me with its simple wisdom - truths that should be apparent, but aren't.  Mr. Webster contends that even the geographical makeup of our planet is providential.  His conclusions are summed up in these few paragraphs....

29.  Esculent grains - The different species of grain intended for the food of men, and fitted to grow in different climates.  Of these rice is one of the principal kinds.  It grows only in warm climates, and its qualities are peculiarly fitted for a wholesome diet in such climates, which tend to produce fevers of a bilious type.  Probably half of the human race subsist on rice.

30.  Wheat, rye and maiz - Next to rice in importance is wheat, which give us the finest flour and best bread.  This plant is fitted to grow in almost every habitable latitude.  Rye, though less valuable, constitutes a large portion of food in parts of the earth not fitted to produce rice or wheat.  Maiz or Indian corn, a native grain of America, supplies an abundance of nourishing food both for man and beast.  This grain is wonderfully fitted to grow in different climates.  In the warmer latitudes, where the summer is long, it rises to the height of seven or eight feet, and in colder climates, its height is not more than four or five feet.

31.  Plants of less general use - In distributing the materials of food, the Creator has given to every country such plants as the climate will bring to perfection.  Oats are fitted for cool climates, and in such climates, grow to a larger size than in warmer latitudes.  Certain varieties of turnips and potatoes grow to higher perfection in the cool climates of Sweden, Scotland and Nova Scotia, than in the warmer climates and richer soil  of more southern latitudes.  Such facts prove the benevolence, as well as the wisdom and power of the Creator.

What struck me was that God provided the grains that would be most beneficial to peoples in every part of the world according to their climates and their physical needs. He created everything to serve mankind before he even placed men on the earth. As I schooled Maid Elizabeth, I began to call this concept Providential Geography.  It seemed a fitting description.

7 Gallons of fermenting Apple Cider Vinegar
This fall, as my family and I have been busy gathering the harvest, we have noticed something unusual.  Every wild plant in our neck of the woods is producing heavily - abundantly.  Unusually so.  While we were out picking elderberries for wine and syrup (medicinal), we had to carefully pick our way through rose bushes heavily laden with rose hips.  The fruits were as large as small apples and so heavy on bush that they were drooping under the weight.  Ignoring the rose hips, we harvested elderberries in huge, juicy clumps.  Pounds and pounds of elderberries came home with us while we barely made a dent in the elderberry bushes.

A bowl full of elderberries

Divided into buckets to make wine

Elderberry must fermenting in a demijon
After we got home and were busily removing elderberries from their branches, I began to think of those fruit-laden rose bushes.  The more I thought about them, the more I began to realize how unusual such an abundant rose-hip harvest was.  It dawned on me that perhaps there was a reason for such an overflowing harvest.  Knowing that God prepared the earth to perfectly support mankind, it stood to reason that He also prepared the plants to produce abundantly in anticipation of hardship.

Cleaning rose hips

Washing the hips

Divided for wine making

Sugar and yeast added
Within days, Sir Knight, the children and I were back in the wild, picking pound after pound of rose hips.  The fruit practically fell from the bush and filled our baskets, begging to be turned into wonderful things to fill our shelves - and our bellies.  We made wine and jelly and syrup and dried and ground the rest of the hips to be made into rose hip tea at the first sign of a cold.

As we worked, I realized that we need to prepare as God provides.  This year we had an abundant berry, apple and pear harvest.  Honeysuckle, elderberries and rose hips grew in profusion.  As God provided, we prepared.

I don't know if this is going to be a hard year.  I won't prognosticate on the likelihood of famine or plague.  I will, however, prepare for the future with whatever the Lord provides.  I will practice Providential Preparedness, just like my brother Joseph.  And I will know that God has provided, in advance, for whatever my family needs - as long as I have the wisdom to see His providence.


  1. Amen. Beautifully stated.

  2. TO get those elderberries OFF the stems.. place the entire head of berries in an old pillow case and put it in the freeze for the day. The berries will fall off the stems and are then easy to separate in a water bath.

  3. I just noticed today that my rose bushes are covered in hips. I'd heard you could make jelly out of them but never knew how. Are all rose hips edible?

  4. Gorgeous rose hips. What I wouldn't give for one or two for seed. It is so true that God's plan is perfect in all accounts. We've experienced the same wonderful providence. Last year was wild plums and persimmons. This year pears and poke berries for medicinal tincture. Your jars of vinegar look like my front porch with pear, apple and wild plum vinegars clearing and awaiting final bottling.

    I so enjoy your blog.

  5. I've only recently started reading your blog and find myself either wanting to shout "amen" or feeling hungry, especially when looking at scotch eggs...

    From the pic of the rose hips in the bucket it doesn't look as though they have been crushed at all? Is it not necessary to make them into a pulp or squash them a bit to get the juices flowing?



  6. Enola,

    What a beautiful post, thank you.

  7. I was so excited as my brother's garden area is surrounded by wild roses and the hips were abundant and large this year. DH and I spent a beautiful morning picking them. After lunch I set about washing and preparing to dry them for tea. Almost all of the hips had evidence of worms inside! I guess this wasn't our year to have rose hips. : (

  8. we had that abundance of harvest last year here in ne.mississippi and we took full advantage of it as well..good thing we did because this year there was very little to gather....and not near the bees that we had last year either...

  9. My goodness......I've been thinking the same thing. We have had the best garden ever in recent memory and because of the great harvest, we have more stored food than ever before. It does give me over to stop and ponder......
    And to give thanks to the Great Provider!

  10. Okay-you need to get the rest of us up to speed. How do I wash/dry rose hips for tea? And how do you use them for wine and jellies? I loved the article. I don't think that I have ever seen any direction on using rose hips. I planted commercial roses, keep them organically, and I do have lots of rose hips. The cockers love to snack on them. -Stealth Spaniel

  11. WOW, great article!!! :)

  12. Enola, we've noticed the same abundance in our apple orchard and nut trees this year...WAY more than in most recent times. I know God provides for us, so I pray everyone stays safe and well cared for if the winter _does_ turn out to be harsh.

    1. Sorry, forgot to mention we're in WV :)

  13. None of the other folks say where they are at, but we are in northern Illinois and had the same abundance (except my winter squash). The wild grapes were massively abundant, as were the elderberries and apples. I heard rose hips could be harvested after frost, so I will do those -- also in abundance -- this next week. Thanks for posting, and please tell us more about using the rose hips!