The little one says the bok-boks are in the garney. And she’s right. They are. She says she’s going to dig for worms in the garney, too. And she does.
My daughters will never remember a time when there wasn’t a garden in their lives.
I mean, think about it. What are your earliest memories? How old were you?
Summer of ‘76. I was three and a half and it was Forth of July when my family hitched up the pop-up camper to the old brown station wagon and dragged it down to Virginia where we set up camp for a week and spent the bicentennial in Colonial Williamsburg.
I was just a little kid, practically a toddler. A little older than my youngest is now and a little younger than my oldest.
These girls will simply grow up with a garden in their hearts and dirt under their fingernails.
They’ll know how and when to start their seeds, when to harden off and put the seedlings in the ground, what to do with kitchen scraps, when to harvest, how to can tomatoes, how to make sauerkraut and pickles. They’ll be steeped in the idea that we can grow their own food. All it takes is patience and love—and hard work.
What’s my contribution to this world?
I’m doing my part for world peace.
I’m raising my daughters in the garden.
My second official act of gardening of the season occurred Saturday when I dragged the chicken tractor to the garden, rerouted the fence, and let the three hens have free access to the garden.
Three very happy hens.
We acquired these birds at the tail end of summer, so this is our first spring with chickens. Seems like the perfect time to incorporate the birds into the seasonal machinery of the garden. With their continual scratching, hunting, and pecking, they will eat the bugs and prepare the ground for planting.
My first official act of garden happened two weeks ago when my daughters and I started our onion seeds in the basement under lights. I love the way these perennial rituals act as a yardstick. My youngest (almost 2) stands on the milk crate that my oldest (4) has stood on for the past 2 years to see the top of the seed-starting table but now no longer needs.
Soon we’ll be planting peas.
My family fell in love with hats a few weeks ago. Not just any hats. No, we fell in love with Wallaroo Hats. In a serendipitous turn of events, the same day my wife bought a cute little sun hat for my 4-year-old’s first day of school, I was contacted by a representative from the Wallaroo Hat Company in Boulder, Colorado, who sent us a couple of samples to try out. And Oh My God—these are the best hats ever. Here’s why:
1. They are super-cute.
2. They stay on. A lot of hats we’ve tried to get our kids to wear fall off as soon as the girls start running or swinging. But Wallaroo hats are designed with a smart drawstring inside the headband that keeps the hat snug without being too tight.
3. They protect my girls’ faces from harmful UV rays. The brims of these hats are nice and wide, but not floppy. We live a pretty rural lifestyle at our house, and spend a lot of time outside—digging in the garden, walking in the meadow, feeding chickens, picking flowers, running around, swinging on the swing set—so it’s important that we protect our kids from too much UV.
4. Did I mention they’re super-cute? OK, I know that as a dad, I am completely smitten with my kids and I think they’re super-cute all the time. But these hats have a way of harmonizing with the kids’ natural cuteness, thereby raising the cuteness factor exponentially.
And check this out: Next week, right here on this blog, I will be giving away three hats to three lucky winners. Stay tuned.
For more info, check out The Wallaroo Hat Company.
Photos courtesy of Heather Hurlock.
OK, I admit that this is the first year I’ve ever tried starting my own seeds. I even made my own little newspaper pots. Iris and I had a good time filling them with the seed starting mix. Anytime you get to play with a bucket of dirt at the kitchen table is a good time, whether you’re a toddler or a dad.
We planted seeds and set them up under a low hanging fluorescent light in the basement. We planted basil, parsley, zinnia, squash, and marigolds. And now to keep them moist and wait.
I’m worried that maybe I should have filled the pots to the brim with potting mix, but as with most things in my life as a gardener, it’s a learning process.
Iris and I planted our pre-sprouted peas yesterday. She was more interested in filling up her bucket with water and letting some of her worms go for a swim, but we managed to plant 3 different varieties. I planted spinach and radicchio during her nap time.