The Growing Season
Finding Balance by Jessica
Winter is a difficult season for me here in eastern Idaho. Our cold season is usually long, gloomy, and suffocatingly oppressive. The sky turns gray in late September (we almost never have a pretty autumn) and we've seen snow as late as June. July and August are two absolutely cherished and longed for months that we try to live to their absolute fullest.
By the time March and April roll around, I'm usually getting pretty darn antsy. I search the skies for any signs of blue, and start planning imaginary trips to California or better yet, South America, where we can feel sunshine on our faces and forget that down-filled snow parkas even exist.
Alas, budget and the busy pre-planting season never quite allow any of my dream getaways to places snow never falls. Come February, we're combing through seed catalogs and readying our indoor seed pots to get a head start on our teeny, tiny growing season. In order to grow some of our food, we start seedlings indoors while the weather outside is still cantankerous and foreboding. This year we're extending our growing season even more by building a greenhouse. I don't know if we'll ever be able to enjoy a red pepper or an ear of corn before the first frost in the fall, but we sure have a good time trying.
My children help me go through the seed catalogs and draw their own pictures of what they think our garden should look like this year. They get to choose plants they can grow themselves in their own corner of the garden.
After we place our orders to the various heirloom and open pollinated seed companies, we snatch any clear day we can get to work together in the garden area. We rake together the dead weeds from the year before, till fertilizer into the garden boxes, make any repairs, and start tying up strings and supports for climbing plants. It's a family affair, and one my children understand results in the food they eat throughout the year... not counting ice cream of course, and we still haven't figured out how to grow bacon cheeseburgers yet :o)
The excitement builds as the seeds (and sometimes plants) start arriving in April and May. We start our seed pots, and tend them carefully. The kids take turns watering, and report whether or not they see any tiny leaves poking up through the soil.
After our final frost has come and hopefully gone for good, we start transplanting our little plants out to the garden. We still put up protection, just in case we have a surprise dip in the temperatures, but it's usually then we know that summer has finally begun.
Gardening is hard work, but it's meaningful work we all enjoy together. I love seeing my oldest handle the tiller carefully, like he has been taught, to turn over the earth and ready the boxes for planting. I appreciate how carefully my middle children spread the fertilizer, or scoop in the manure. Even my youngest pitches in by picking up trash blown into the yard, or carrying dried out vines and weeds to the burn pile. Everyone helps, and everyone reaps the sweet benefits as those tiny seeds we cared for produce berries for jam, tomatoes for sauce, green beans for dinner, and pumpkins for carving.
I can hardly wait to see what my own little seeds become; these children of mine who surprise me each day in all the ways they learn about the world around them, and how quickly they grow.
Find more balance with Jessica at www.balancingeverything.com/.
Get to Know Jessica
Take a closer look at the blogger, wife, mother, and master of...
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The Gathering Ritual09/06/2012
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