A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

Childhood in the Garden

Last weekend I helped my mom transplant several rose bushes, butterfly plants, and bulbs around her property. The soil on my palms, the sweat on my body, even the blister below my wedding ring felt wholesome and reviving. It was a joy to allow my daughter to toddle through the flowers and inspect the kale and herbs, and it boosted my confidence– and my excitement– for the coming year in which I’ll be nurturing a vegetable garden and a child together.

Something about gardening evokes the curiosity of youth. You have to look closely, know the wild plants, the bugs, the root systems beneath the soil. I joined my daughter as she sat contentedly among the bright yellow sour grass. Just as I had done when I was young, and I could not resist doing alongside her today, she munched the succulent stems, and puckered and grinned.

Without thinking, the tart flavor still on my tongue, I lifted a nearby tile to discover what wild critters night be hiding. Salamanders? Potato bugs? Earthworms?

Gardening, particularly youth in the garden, feeds the inquisitive wonder of childhood for a lifetime. As delicious and healthful as homegrown fruit and vegetables may be, and as gratifying the harvest, this is one of the garden’s most powerful values and why I want my child to grow among the vines and leaves, with dirt under her nails and fresh air in her lungs.

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  1. MM MM
    March 18, 2015    

    I agree. The garden is such an inviting happy place for people of all ages! It is hard to be patient here – we can’t plant until May – until I can get my fingers in the soil… but what a happy thought it is to think about the joys of being in the garden 🙂

    • March 18, 2015    

      Yes! I’m so ready, too and patience is a killer. I can’t really start my own this year– besides the bins of potatoes and small garlic and shallot bed– until the final phase of the move. It was so nice to be able to spend some time in the dirt at my mom’s!

  2. March 20, 2015    

    I love your photo!! We’re in the midst of a snow storm here in New York. No signs of spring to be found at this point. Your words invoked reminders of childhood friends and picking up rocks to look for salamanders in brooks from where they’ve since disappeared. Such great warm weather memories that I’ll treasure forever. Have a beautiful weekend!! : )

    ~ Wendy

    • March 20, 2015    

      Thank you Wendy! How sad that the salamanders are lost forever, but wonderful that you have the wonderful memories to cherish. I have many like that. I hope you get some spring weather soon!

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  1. The Answer’s in the Dirt, People | Greens, Eggs and Cans on March 18, 2015 at 11:10 am


I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

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