Tag Archives: plants

I Broke the Weedwhacker, But I Did Not Break the Hedge Trimmer

A much lesser known reggae song, but it was what I was singing as I did yard work on Sunday, Father’s Day. I finally got to the hedge and the ivy that have pushed out copious growth since last year. I filled three trash cans and five yard bags with clippings, and the place doesn’t look like a scary Fragonard landscape. The ivy, however, did wreck the weed whacker. I ended up trimming it with the hedge clipper.

I started the morning getting up with the kids at the decent hour of 6:30. I made pancakes and hung out until my wife came downstairs. I then took a nap and awoke to have lunch with the crew. Yard work followed.

In the evening, my daughter and I planted two pots with purple pepper seedlings and seeds for lettuce, basil, and radishes. The radishes were a party favor from a classmate’s birthday party on Saturday. Around here, that is record time getting something in the soil. We then watered our garden where sunflowers and corn are doing well. We might get one large beet out of there, too. We then dropped one of the pots off at a friend’s house where we also deposited their half of the farm share.

I finished the day’s chores by picking up a dresser on craigslist. Our children’s clothing no longer fits in one dresser, and we had been looking for a while. I glued up the bottom of one of the drawers and put a clamp on it. Hopefully over night the glue will set and hold the slightly warped bottom in.

All in all, a good Father’s Day.

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Not Half Full, All Full!

Today was one of those great days when I was able to get a lot done, go mostly at my kids’ pace, and have lots of fun.

They got me up around 6:00 in the morning. I had a good morning with them and walked my daughter to school in the stroller. My son fell asleep on the ride and even stayed asleep in the stroller as I got my daughter situated in the classroom. He snoozed for most of the walk home on which I stopped at the grocery and hardware stores.

With double-sided tape in hand, I mounted the small magnet board on the play kitchen:

After that, I mounted the large magnet board in the kitchen. During all of this, my son was just happily puttering around mostly playing with the toy kitchen. I even got the dishwasher loaded and running and the bread maker working, as well.

After picking up my daughter, I walked with the two of them in the stroller to the doctor’s office for her annual physical. My son fell asleep, again, in the stroller. He awoke halfway through the appointment, but it was a very long appointment. In addition to the usual, they tested her vision and hearing in ways they had not before. She got her last round of shots for a number of years, yeah. She did get four shots in her arms which she did not appreciate at all.

After we got out of the office, we called one of my daughter’s school friend’s mom, and they came over for a play date. We planted lots of seeds, played, and had snacks together.

It was finally time to bid our friends adieu, and get dinner started. At this point, the kids did fall apart a bit, but we then had a nice dinner-bath-bed routine. The day was by no means half full; it was all full.

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I See Leaves of Green

My new book to read is Grow Great Grub. I hope to improve upon our gardening experience of last year– maybe not this year, but as an ongoing process. The peas, again, are showing up again. With the heat and cool, I have no idea what will happen with the beets and carrots, but if last year was any indicator, the carrots will be about an inch long. That did not dampen my daughter’s enthusiasm. She loved pulling them up and sharing them with anyone who visited.

I am realizing that my soil quality is terrible, and I hope to rectify that with the compost that we have been creating for some time.

There are plenty of other things to do to improve the crop yield, but that is not the real point. My real goal is to connect my children to the growth of life that happens in the spring, to the harvest, to the act of eating what one has grown. I want to show a different type of time; the one that measures from planting to harvest and whose demarcations fluidly move with the weather and seasons. Part of me observes the clock of work, of appointments, and of convenience. Part of me–my hands, my heart, my sight–also work in this other space.

The garden is just a focus and learning tool for this. Each day the Earth sends these messages. As I sit at this computer, dusk has fallen with darkness now almost complete. My neighbor’s enormous tree, covered with new leaves, captured my attention. The bright green lacework will be replaced by darker leaves creating an opaque screen. The timescape of plants runs through me and, hopefully, through me to my children.

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Hooray for Grandma

Grandma’s good, Grandma’s great, this is who we appreaciate!

This week in St. Louis has been wonderful, and one of the biggest pleasures I have is watching my mom and my daughter together. My mom is able to just be with my daughter in ways that I can’t as a primary caregiver. She also sees what my daughter is able to do and creates opportunities for her that I might not given the slow movement of development I see daily.

On the first day here, they planted some seeds and watched the fast growing “cat grass” sprout and get taller each day. Just today, my daughter asked for a needle and thread to sew on paper. My mom found the last remaining kid’s needle from my childhood and created a schoolhouse pattern at my daughter’s request. She happily washes dishes, makes freshly squeezed orange juice, and rakes leaves.

In other respects, my daughter pushes every boundary my wife and I have set for her, especially the ones around reverting to babyish behavior, incessant repetition of requests, and using things like sippy cups that she has graduated from using.

My mom is an amazing partner in navigating these things, holding firm when it is important and having flexibility for things at Grandma’s house.

Tomorrow, I get up early and return to Boston with my two kids and will happily greet my wife at the airport after a week of soloing (with much support from my mom!).

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Seeds of Hope

Last year, we planted a garden with mixed results. Throughout the process, however, my daughter was engaged and loved both the doing and the eating. Last year, we planted some peas, tomatoes, lettuce, and carrots. The peas did great and were an obvious success. The carrots grew about an inch, but they were multicolored, intentionally. My daughter loved getting them out of the ground to eat and to share with others. The lettuce grew fine; it was supposed to be small. However, we did not pick it in time, and it grew bitter. The tomatoes grew to about 8 inches and then just stopped. I have had many suggestions on how to do things differently, and I will incorporate some in this year’s expanded garden. However, I think with the tons of tomatoes we get from our farm share, we just don’t need to take up space with a crop that doesn’t like our soil and limited sun.

Today, my daughter and I went to the local hardware store that carries some nice seed varieties, and she chose most of the packets in the picture. I made sure to get some peas again since those worked so well last time. This year, I plan to do two plantings: cold weather and warm. With the mild winter, the soil is not frozen, so some of the cold weather crops could go in soon. Of course, doing so would immediately spur a record cold snap and snow fall.

Whether anything really produces enough food to be called a meal, the great thing is my daughter’s enthusiasm for watching seedlings grow, tending the garden, showing visitors her plants, and harvesting the crops when they are ready.

Bring on Spring!

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