Saturday, March 14, 2009

School in the garden

Yesterday I was feeling achy and tired and yucky. There's something going around. I really wasn't up for our Friday nature outing.

I thought, "We need a day off." I said, "Maybe we should just read all day." I grumped, "I don't want to doooo anythiiiing."

Instead, I took the fine young gents outside. We've got nature in our back yard too. We shoveled the last of our dirt pile into the wheelbarrow and hauled it into the back yard. Good heavy work for growing bodies. The boys told me that the dirt was good for the garden because it has lots of nutrients. We leveled our front yard planting area and planted second grade gent's dahlias and his brother's lilies. They read the packages to follow the planting directions. We discussed what we'd like to plant in that spot this spring, and they seriously considered what our family eats and enjoys most from the garden. More strawberries, they think. Then they voluntarily pulled weeds and explained to me that we needed to leave the weeds root-side-up so that they couldn't get nutrients or water from the soil. We dug up a garden box and they told me that we needed the light new planting mix mixed into our boxes because it will make the soil less dense so roots can grow. They have absorbed so much from our casual conversations about the garden.

Then I was pooped. I really am a little under the weather. The work was just what I needed and it did me good, but now my body was saying "Time to rest." So I hung in the back yard hammock. I was soon joined by two busy giggly wiggly little bodies. We swung and giggled and then we calmed to listen to the birds. Later the boys drew their dahlia and lily bulbs in their nature notebooks, and pictures of what they think the flowers will look like once they bloom.

My boys work really hard when given the opportunity. Every time this week that I was out there hauling dirt, they were right there with me. Meaningful work is important, not just for adults, but for children too. They need to see that they are making a difference and that their time is valuable. Ditching the books for the morning and spending our time out of doors was a good decision. I forget sometimes, in our drive for academic rigor, that we need a balance. Time to read and learn from books, time to explore and experiment, and also time to work, time to play, time to cuddle, time to rest. We got a little of each yesterday, and we were refreshed at the end of the day.
A note for Dawn....
This has nothing to do with my post, except that I took it while we were outside yesterday. Dawn, until you get some warm weather, I'll share our spring with you:

I can't wait to see your crocuses when they bloom.
And a garden note....
Look at this urban farm: Urban Homestead, Little Homestead in the City: Journal of a Self-Sufficient Urban Life

They call themselves eco-pioneers. They've got ducks, goats, chickens, and a beautiful garden on a fifth of an acre in Pasadena, California. Check it out!

1 comment:

Valerie Willman said...

I love Urban Homestead. They've been bookmarked on my page for ages.