Friday, May 27, 2011

In the dirt....

You could feel the excitement in the air at our house. Yesterday was planting day. At last.


We are WWAAAAAYYYYY behind this year. Partly due to crazy-busy days, and partly due to our horrible spring weather. This spring, it snowed when in it should have been raining. And rained when the strong sun should have been warming my gardens.

But all the "should have's" aside, yesterday was finally the day. We shed our shoes and socks and didn't care if we got a little dirty....


(photo courtesy of Anna)

And oh my, Henry was ready. I barely said the word "garden," and he ran into the garage, and emerged a minute later, dressed in his gardening apron, with gloves on and shovel in hand. "Let's get started Mom."

Henry has always loved gardening with me. And I cherish the time we spend doing it.....Putting in the work together, and then reaping the rewards. It's such a simple thing, but so profound too. And the rewards are great.

Plus growing a garden together is such a sure way to get my kids to eat their vegetables!


I decided to scale things back from the very over-zealous gardening I attempted (and miserably failed at) last year. So, this year, we'll plant herbs, tomatoes and peppers in the front planter boxes. And we'll have just one small garden in the back. Henry insisted on pumpkins in the back, and I absolutely agreed. Oh, and carrots. And snow peas (Anna's addition to the list). And maybe beets. Lettuce too, if I can keep the rabbits away.....

Oh &%$!. It's happening again.... Talk to me at the end of June. We'll see what I end up with...

However, for now, we'll take it one step at a time.

Anna pulled on her apron and princess gloves too, ready to plant right along with us.

(Do you know how long it took to get all the right fingers into the right spots in these gloves??)


But in the end, the princess wasn't too interested. She planted a thyme, and then she was done.



It was more fun to play with the worms Henry dug up.


At one point Anna asked, "Mom, if I cut a worm in half, will it still be okay?"

Hmmmm, that should have been my first clue.

Later at bedtime, I discovered that she indeed conducted a little worm experiment.  "Miss Anna in the dining room with a butter knife."

Sorry wormy.....




That's my princess!

Anna also enjoyed a little sidewalk bowling....




And sitting in the tomato she just planted.



Henry, on the other hand, was all garden.

I was so impressed. He planted the entire thing as I watched and offered a little guidance. "Mom, how come all these plants are named Herb?" he asked.

One by one, plant by plant, Henry would dig a hole, just the right size.

Then, he'd dunk the plant in a little water and squeeze the pot just a bit, to loosen the roots.


Pulling ever-so-gently, he'd plop the plant into the right spot.


And then press the dirt around firm, to keep it growing straight and tall.



As he planted, we'd talk about each herb. What we'd cook with it. How it would make things taste. And we'd inhale deeply. Oh, they smelled so good. Henry particularly liked the fennel and lemon thyme and rosemary. My favorite is always the french lavender. (Even though I never have success growing it, I will always try).

After every single plant, Henry would step back and assess his work. "Looks good Mom."  And then he'd move on to the next.....





By the end of the evening, with the sun getting low, Henry planted 15 herbs in one planter. And he made me promise that I'd save the other planter box for him after school tomorrow.

I think I may have a horticulturist in the making. (well that.... and an astronaut football player cop, as Henry reported earlier this week.!  I guess when you are seven, the sky is the limit!)


At one point, Henry said, "Mom, I'm totally going to tell everyone about this at morning meeting tomorrow at school."


What a perfect evening.  Perfect.  I loved being outside together with my kiddos, in the warm sunshine, with hands in the dirt. It felt grounded.  Doing something so simple and so important.  All at once.


And I loved that for Henry, planting herbs with his mom was as exciting to tell his friends at school, as when he shared about going on the roller coaster at Valley Fair.

Sometimes the little things are even more fabulous than the big.


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