Monday, January 11, 2010

Wheelbarrows, Chooks and Children

I've grabbed you with that title, haven't I?! It is actually the title of another of my pick up again and again books - I reach for it at least twice a year. Why do I love it so much? It inspires me! It really, really inspires me to get outside and get busy in the garden.

It's easy to feel like there's no time to garden, like it's all too hard to plant and weed and water and harvest with small children around. Well....... this book always reminds me that gardening with children is indeed possible..... and fun at that! It's a nice way to spend time with them, doing something purposeful and active, out in the fresh air. :)

A couple of pages for you to enjoy............

"People ask me sometimes how I manage to garden when I have small children to care for. I am not sure I do garden, really. I bung things in the ground and often they grow, and I sit up after the children are in bed and read books on Permaculture, and dream.

Having said that I think a more potent question is how people manage to have small children without gardening. Yesterday was a long, hot day which I spent entirely with the children, and otherwise in solitude.......... What would I have done without the garden? We were out there before the heat began, picking up windfall plums. Lachlan crawled bare-bummed over the plum-strewn ground and ended up looking like a little brown-eyed pot of jam. Clare ate as many as she put in her basket. But they were happy and so was I.

Then we planted out a couple of waratahs I had bought on the weekend. We planted them in the corner of the garden behind the house that I plan to be a showcase for natives one day, but which is at present something of a dumping ground for building materials to be used in the ongoing house renovations. I dug the holes. Clare filled them with water. Lachlan played with the water, until he looked like a muddy pot of jam. Clare put the plants into the hole, and helped me to fill them in. Then we all played with the hose until they were well-watered.

By now the day was warming up and so we retreated to the shade of the verandah to sow some lettuce seed in pots. Clare got the idea very well. She soon had half the household china filled with potting mix and water, and an untidy row of mud pies on the verandah. Now the shade was disappearing and I had two very sticky, muddy children. So we had a bath together, and Lachlan had his sleep, and Clare and I lay down on the sofa and read a book, and we found things to do inside until the cool of the evening.

Then we were outside again gathering eggs and strawberries until it was tea time and bath time and I was on the home straight. Far from being a trial, it had been a good day, with things achieved as well as and apart from keeping my babies happy and safe.

How do I garden with small children? It is an attitude of mind. You have to believe the research that suggests children in the western world get asthma and allergies because we live too cleanly and their immune systems aren't challenged early.

Challenge your baby's immune system. Believe that a dirty baby is a happy baby. Prepare for birth by buying a large and excellent washing machine. Whitegoods are the answer to relaxed motherhood.

Do all these things, and then you can garden, and so can they."

"Wheelbarrows, Chooks and Children" by Margaret Simons

See why I love reading this book? It's an easy read, down-to-earth and encouraging. It's written by a mother of young children - a dreamer, a nurturer, a busy lady - someone I can relate to. :)

Tomorrow's gardening goals:

* Dig cow manure through the vegetable patch, water in well and mulch
* Plant in Apple Tree #2 (#1 went in yesterday)
* Plant my Youngberry Vine
* Plant my PawPaw tree
* Mulch all trees in the orchard needing mulch!
* Water, water, water everything thoroughly.

Well, I'm off to bed to get some sleep as that's sounding like a big morning. But a happy morning. Bring on the sunrise!


Karen said...

I love your post! And what a great book! Right now it's really, really cold here...but I got a seed catalog in the mail last week that I've been pouring over, trying to decide what we'll plant whenever it warms up. And some of my children will eat "our" vegetables but not "store" ones.

Renata said...

Sounds like a lovely day out in the garden! I love gardening with the kids around, but at the moment it´s much too hot to even venture outside (we are having a dreadful heatwave here), so the garden is getting done after bed time. I hope your garden goes well. It looks so beautiful there!
Oh I forgot to tell you I have a sister who just moved to Bundy - so some time when I visit her I´ll have to drop in! (I´d love to truely meet you!)
Enjoy your busy, but fun day

Kelly said...

I need that book! It sounds eerily like me too......especially the haphazard gardening and the devouring of permaculture books in the wee hours.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin