Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gardening Part 1 - Why Garden?

Last year at this time our house had a For Sale sign in the front yard and a sad lackluster garden in the back yard. When The Lord made it clear that we were to stay put here for a while longer I began making mental plans for our garden this Spring. The Principal has been so busy with school and work but has still managed to squeeze in a few weekend/evening projects to make our garden the best it has ever been. Over the next few weeks, I want to share with you some of our methods and projects to encourage and inspire you in your efforts or even better to get you out there and playing in the dirt for the first time!! Today, I want to share with you the reasons we choose to invest our time, money and labor into our garden. Gardening is a blessing on so many levels it is really hard for me to decide what my favorite element or greatest blessing is. We have over the past 2 or 3 years been slowly creating a lovely little sanctuary in what was just an empty patch of grass when we bought our home 8 years ago.
We really enjoy our morning coffee and quiet time on our screened in patio. We love to get out there in early in the mornings and watch the antics of the birds and the many rabbits that poke around in the field behind us. We have bird houses, feeders and a bird bath which my guys gifted me for Mother's Day several years ago so we see plenty of activity from our feathered friends. We feed the birds the crusts left behind Wonder Boy's toast (he doesn't do crust and I'm not wasting homemade goodness!!) and anything else that may be bird worthy that does not get consumed. A few slices of staling cornbread provided much enjoyment and antics for us this past Sunday as we spent the afternoon playing board games on the patio - it had me singing "Mama's little birdies love cornbread cornbread, Mama's little birdies love stale cornbread" - this kind of thing - songs sung to the key of life happen often in this house - try it - it's great stress reduction!! But I digress...forgive me while I find my way back from the rabbit trail I was on..... The garden....It all started in a garden so it stand to reason that I always feel close to God when I am in the garden, how can you watch the birds, rabbits, the amazing-ness of a seed that turns into a plant and then ultimately provision and not be drawn directly back to The Creator of it all? I am humbled by the intricacy with which He weaves and works into even the smallest details! I love to witness the process of seed to plant to harvest - you cannot imagine the giddy delight we all had when we saw the first teeny tiny baby cutie patootie grapes on the vine a few weeks ago, it was downright goofy (there was no song for this - sorry).
As homeschoolers, there are endless opportunities to teach in the garden. I think a child who is able to put a seed in the dirt and then eat something he has nurtured and grown will forever be connected to God who created it, the earth that brings it forth and will have an awareness and respect for conversing and not wasting the provision that we have. A child who works in the garden gains a perspective that would not otherwise come easily in our packaged, constantly product consuming and overall thoughtless society (oops...soapbox). Even a very young child can garner some basic values of work = provision through a little time spent watering, weeding and caring for something alive and live giving.
The bounty of the harvest is naturally the ultimate goal. I would never have been drawn to learn to can, dehydrate and preserve to the degree that I have if I had not been involved in the process of producing the food that was harvested. There is such pleasure at sitting down to the family meal table and enjoying the fruits of your labor together as a family. The taste is so much better than anything that comes from a grocery store and you know what it has or more importantly hasn't been sprayed with. A garden is a labor of love in many ways, from running out to protect the young plants when a hail storm came suddenly, to being out there in the dark with flash lights covering the same tender plants when an unanticipated frost was forecast.
As a family we have worked together and shared the joys and disappointments when things have not gone as planned. This is the stuff that makes family family isn't it? This was not something I learned as a child, but oh the blessings of knowing these pleasures as a wife and mother are a treasure to me! Over the next few weeks, I will share with you about square foot gardening, herb gardening (Oh! How I love love love herbs), harvesting rainwater as well as some of the 'structures' that we have built to make our garden work for us.....please join me and please, if I have touched on something you want to know more about by all means ask....let me know what you are interested in hearing more about!
I am here for you!

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