Sunday, March 9, 2008

Creating Old Traditions for the Young

Last weekend was such a heart-warming weekend, I don't know why I didn't post about it right away. We had Chad's nephews (9 and 11 years old) from Saturday morning through Sunday evening. As usual, we tried to make their time with us thoughtful, productive, and fun in ways that most kids don't get to have fun these days.

We picked them up late Saturday morning. We first visited their great grandmother at her house and then took them to see their grandmother in the hospital. Chad asked them questions and got them thinking about the body and the immune system.

Our next stop was the farmer's market. We absolutely love the farmer's market and had been wanting to share it with the boys for quite some time. We handed them canvas bags and and walked them around to our favorite tables. We bought some organic eggs and the seller showed them pictures of the mobile hen house while we talked about how her chickens, unlike most, get to walk around and scratch in the dirt like nature intended.

Our next purchase was a fresh honey comb. Chad asked the boys if they'd ever tried one before, to which they replied, "We've had Honeycomb Cereal!"

"Uh, no," Chad said. "It's absolutely nothing like the cereal."

The seller shook his head in pain and said, "That's just how kids are taught to think these days!" We told him that's why we'd brought them to the market and he smiled and said, "Good! They're young enough that you can still fix them!"

Then we made a b-line for the Christian Cheese table. They sampled several varieties before settling on Cowboy Cheddar and Basil and Sundried Tomato Cheddar.

Then I spotted shelves of small organic vegetable plants and remembered the sorry state of my onions. We gave the boys two dollars and asked them to buy me the best looking bunch of onion starters. They picked out a fine green pot full of them and the grower told them about his farm and nice dog who never bites before we were on our way home to drop off our findings.

We then met up with our friend David and his 8 year old daughter at the Omniplex Science Museum of Oklahoma for the controversial human body exhibit. The kids were very mature about it and it was all very fascinating. Overall, we were very happy to have made it. The rest of the evening involved a little omniplex exploration, dinner, and then board games.

Sunday morning, I dragged into the kitchen and it wasn't long before the boys were in there helping me make a breakfast of buttermilk pancakes, vegetarian sausage, and scrambled organic eggs (the ones they'd picked out at the market!). Not long after, we all put on long sleeves and got our hands dirty in the Square Foot Garden!

Here you get to see my completely constructed garden.
Gardening with the Boys
The grid is just a sort of twine, but it served our spacing purposes. You can see in the photo that I'm separating the onions and showing the boys how to plant one.

Once they got the idea, my job was merely to separate the onion roots, hand them the best looking ones, and guide them a bit in their placement.
Gardening with the Boys

Gardening with the Boys

Here we are learning about the grids that are meant to serve as a guide for plant placement.

The four of us then split up into pairs and planted almost all of the garden's seeds. I suspect there may have been a little much enthusiasm for poking holes deep into the soil though, so I may need to do a little reseeding if some of them don't grow. But over all, they did an excellent job!

We knew, however, that a chilly storm was on its way that night. Our final project was to dig through recycling for plastic bottles (which I'd been hording for this purpose) to cut and place over the onions.
Gardening with the Boys

Once we put screen over the seeded portions of the garden to deter cats from using it as a litter box, we felt everything was sufficiently protected and went inside to wash up, play games, and eat organic mac and cheese until it was time for them to go home.

I think they enjoyed getting dirty and starting things from seed. I'm going to send them photos as the plants grow and they'll help out in the garden whenever they're over here.

It's a wonderful thing, to share something like this with children. I remember gardening with my parents when I was very small, how the rows of corn towered over me and the little carrot tops tempted me.

I plan on raising my own children with their hands in the dirt.


One Acre Homestead said...

I'm so excited to have discovered your blog! We've just built three square foot gardens ourselves and hope to add vertical supports in the next few weeks. My most productive veggie gardens ever were when we lived up in Stillwater and had square foot beds, so we've decided to build more now that we have an acre lot! Where is the farmer's market you mentioned? We live in a rural area just north of Lawton and I'd love to make a trip to the FM with my two little girls (3 & 5).

Elizabeth said...

One acre, thank you! Your blog looks wonderful as well. I love following other people's gardening. And it's great to hear that the SFG are successful for you! This is the first year I've ever tried one, so I don't fully know what to expect.

The farmer's market is on the Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City campus. Here's their web site. They're entirely indoors in the cold months, but they'll have booths outside soon too, which I love in the summer morning.