April 30, 2012

sowing seeds- part two.

"my" garden spot
when i was younger i prayed for a pony.
my mom told me to.
she said, if i was a good girl and i prayed, God would give me a pony.
my grandmother rolled her eyes at this.
we were living in section 8 government housing at the time and my mother was a single mom of two children.
in Northern Virginia.  Fairfax County-- the center of metropoliten, expensive, Northern Virginia.

the summer before 7th grade my mother got married and we moved to a small house in the center of town.
just down the street from us was a little barn-- a pocket of land that had withstood urbanization.
Dell, was an older, fairy-like lady who lived on the property with her sister, Tink.
Tink raised Italian greyhound dogs... and Dell boarded horses.
i would knock on Dell's door every morning at the break of dawn, asking if there was anything i could do to help.
she taught me, and i worked alongside of her.
i moved saw dust piles and curried horses and carried white buckets full of water (trying not to spill all over my legs).
it was heavenly.
we were a good match.
young and able with older and skillful.
after a summer of working together, Dell found me a free pony- an advertisement hanging on a cork board at the Saddlery.
she arranged a meeting with my parents and offered to board my pony in exchange for my working around the barn.
we paid $12 a month for horse chow.
I GOT A PONY!!  a real-live pony.
i did pony club.
i spent my summer brushing and grooming and jumping and riding and taking trail rides through the woods.
i made friends with another girl who boarded her mare at our barn and we enjoyed our summer days together.
it was heavenly.
the summer between 8th and 9th grade i got really sick and had part of my intestine removed.
i spent my summer healing from surgery and couldn't take care of my pony anymore.
it worked perfectly because that was the summer that Dell's family sold much of their land to a developer.
they closed down the barn.
i started high school and early morning seminary.
my years of having a pony drifted into memories.
but, they shaped me.
i had an identity in middle school that was different from all the other kids in my school.
i had a horse!
i knew God had answered my prayer.
He always does.

today, i know that i'm a farmer's wife at heart.
a farmer's wife stuck in a city girl's body.
raising children who NEED to feel the dirt in their hands.
i just know it.
God and I have a continual conversation.
i tell Him that i'm a farmer's wife...
He tells me to find the joy in the life i am living.
i tell Him that my children need land and animals and "responsibility".
He reminds me that my 'dream life' isn't all that i imagine it is.
He tells me that i can have the desires of my heart!
i just might have to look for these experiences in DIFFERENT ways.
i might never have a homestead-- but that doesn't mean we can't experience the joys of homesteading.
God works in mysterious ways.
i have many friends who are grandparents.
one couple, Debbie and Jerry, are living in the most darling house on a piece of property.
they are AMAZING.
their children are grown and they are just starting to get grandchildren of their own.
i love this couple.  they are a wealth of experience and knowledge.
they are always saying, "we've got it... if we can find it."
and, it's true.  they have barns full of potential!
they've raised sheep for years, they pan for gold, they fix old jeeps, they collect metal, they have a horse, they're getting chickens, they grow AMAZING gardens...
i am not even touching on all the amazing things this couple has done...  their house is like a treasure trove of experience.
they were getting tired and i could tell they could use some help with projects around their house.
we are full of young energy and excitement.
we are a great match.
we went over one afternoon to help with yard work and they suggested we plant a garden with them.
(have i mentioned they are amazing gardeners?)
one thing led to another and my 'service' has ended up being a great blessing in my life.
as i've gotten to know them better i can see how much they are adding to my life.
yes, i'll repeat the situation... we were helping them and they are CHANGING OUR LIVES.
i might not have a barn of my own, ever... but, i do have great friends who are willing to share with my family.
last Saturday we planned our garden out while the boys cleared the land for tilling...
it's still too muddy to till here in Oregon.
i am SOO excited!
(oh, and so are my kids... this is really all about the kids, right?!)
tonight we brought dinner over and planted seeds for our Family Night.
i do worry that it's a bit crazy for them with my kids all around.
they say it is so fun for them to have people who are excited about gardening.

i had a moment.
as i held a tiny, tiny oregano seed in my hand (as small as ground up pepper), i was amazed.
seeds are amazing.
holding a seed, i felt the same awe that i feel as i carry a baby in my womb.
there is a Creator.  a Master Creator.  and He designed this earth so incredibly.
tiny, dirt-like seeds, grow into plants!
i can make a baby.  babies form inside my stomach.  HUMAN BEINGS are created inside me.
we provide a healthy environment and seeds grow!
reproduction is inspiring to me.
maybe that is why i love produce and have a large family-- they are related.
i never thought that before.
i have never really planted a garden before.
i can hardly keep a house plant alive (i like the kind that just get all limp when you need to water them).
i am learning so much.
last week as we were planning our garden, looking at seeds and catalogs and drawing our garden map, eve was playing in the grass.
she found a lawn ornament that had tipped over.  there was mud on the bottom.
eve took her little fingers and just dragged them through the mud again and again.
she was amazed.
she threw her pacifier in the grass and tasted a finger full of mud.
she smiled a big, dirt-dirty face at me when i said, "Yuck."
i LOVED that.
lily sat for a long time filling her seed cells with seed soil.
when she got one filled she turned and smiled so proud of herself with a big, "See!  I did it!"
leah and drew and ellie and jakob were all great seed planters-- they are really into this.
drew refused to plant any tomato seeds.
future plumber
the supervising father, my friend, Jerry, said that anna filled her seed trays with the perfect amount of soil.
he held up hers as an example of what they should all look like.
anna smiled at me when we got home tonight and said, "Mom, i think i really like gardening."

my friend, debbie, loves 4H.
she is always telling us we should have our kids join.
jakob said he wants to raise a pig.
she said we would need to get at least three piglets... for the boys.
and three lambs...  for the girls.
the registration is in September.
i told her that i know nothing about animals... but that i think i'm a farm girl at heart.
she laughed.  i was amazed that she was as excited as i am.
 "Pigs and sheep," she said, "This will be so fun."
i laughed.  "I hope you don't get sick of us.  You'll be glad when we leave and your yard is peaceful again, won't you?"  (by now i had 3 or 4 crying kids in the car... no naps and bedtime fast approaching.)
she just smiled and said, "We love it!  Jerry was just telling me how nice it is to have someone who is excited about all this with us again."

God works in mysterious ways.
Debbie and Jerry are my farming angels.
i don't have land that is mine-- but i have friends that share.
we are so blessed.
did i tell you that we're planting a GARDEN??!!
a big one!
with people who know how to grow a garden?!!
yeah, as my kids would say, "i'm Mary and you're Laura."
we learned from Farmer Boy that if you want really big pumpkins you need to milk them instead of water them...

Jerry taught me...
- buy the smallest seed potatoes.  most people buy big ones and cut them.  they buy small ones and leave them whole so they don't get moldy.  {if you're crazy, like me, then you can grow red, yellow, white and BLUE potatoes... oh, i'm going to love being a farm girl.)
- don't plant seeds in potting soil... plant seeds in seed starting soil.  it's better.
- add water to the soil and mix it up till it is wet enough to stick together well.
- just barely put the seeds under the soil in each cell (a cell is what you call those black tray things)-- not deep at all.
-you don't water the seeds from the top.  you put the cells in a tray and you water the tray... they suck the water up.
- plant heating pads are pretty cool.
- after your corn starts to grow, you can put pumpkins underneath it.
- homegrown celery is really good.  it's dark green and tastes so different from store celery.  i can't wait to try it.
-gardening is not scary... it is a process... we can enjoy the process and let the kids be as involved as they want to be.

(I bought this stuff at the counter of our local nursery.  It is plant food that is supposed to make your plants grow really big.  My boys are so excited to experiment with it!  and, we bought a start for a HUGE pumpkin.  they're so excited!!)

ahh... day one of gardening...
i know that i might not love gardening when it comes to weeding and watering and harvesting and canning.
but today, gardening feels dreamy.
yes, i've told you that i get goosebumps IN THE PRODUCE SECTION OF THE GROCERY STORE!
i want to sing-- "I'm proud to be an American!" when i buy a pineapple in December.
well, guess what?!
i get goose bumps in future gardens too... when i'm holding tiny seeds.
i want to sing "I Stand All Amazed!"
because i do.
and, i have moments with my kids too...
moments where i see into their eye and a catch a glimpse of who they are and who they can become.
i want to sing, "How great thou art!"
i want to thank God for sharing these great spirits with me.
i am humbled by potential.
i know there is a God... because i've held a seed in my hand.
and, it was inspiring to me.

life is beautiful.

thank you for all your nice comments on my last post!
thank you for reading my blog.
thank you for being my friends.

1 comment:

valerie in TX said...

Beautiful pictures. How fun to plant a garden! The Mister and I were just talking about that this weekend - I've wanted to plant one for a long time, but...you know...we have SAND instead of soil here in West Texas. *sigh* I know it can be done, I just don't know if I want to work THAT hard at it! :)

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