Monday, August 15, 2011

Green Acres

I grew up in Ohio where everyone had a garden in the backyard.  It was part of my upbringing to see how the food my family ate came from a seed. Since moving away I've dabbled in gardening and still do. However, on top of our hill it's foggy and a hundred-year-old cypress chokes out all sunlight after 2:30. We can grow lettuce but little else. Still, we garden what we can because we feel it is important for Ada to understand from a very early age that good food is a precious resource. I hope she learns that although we are lucky enough to have more food than we can eat sometimes, that is no reason to be wasteful. A farmer worked very hard to grow the food we nourish our bodies with while some families have very little at all.

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Since we are limited in what we can grow, we decided to participate in a local vegetable and fruit delivery. It's the best thing we have done since living here! They host farm tours and harvest celebrations from time-to-time and I've always wanted to go. I just don't know when Ada's first memory will form (any time now) and I want it to be a good, meaningful one.

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I had this vision of us on the farm: having a delightful picnic under the shade of a tree wearing cotton sundresses and hats.

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We would smile and laugh and snack on peaches.

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We had the pleasure of being joined by Sophia and her dad, Lucas.

Then we would go see the chickens.

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We would pick ripe black mission figs, still warm and soft from the sun.

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We would go look in amazement at the huge ripe tomatoes hanging heavy from the vine.

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Then, after a brief, understandable explanation about tubers, we would hop on the tractor and go pull carrots out of the ground .

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What really happened is that the drive turned into 2 hours with me hacking (chest cold, I don't smoke) the whole way. We got there and it was hot. Like, back in Florida hot. There was no place for our picnic blanket so we set it on top of brambles and foxtails. The girls ran like maniacs. I fumbled with my camera struggling to get a handle on exposure, aperture...I'm learning.

Then they headed toward the grove of fig trees. Ooh! Here's my opportunity to show them how figs grow. We skipped of into the trees and that's where it turned. I felt my left foot sink deep, deep into the mud. That kind of mud that sucks your shoe off when you pull your foot out. Ada wanted to run for it, I caught her, turned her around and in a tantrum she sat her diapered bottom right down into a bushel of rough grasses.

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At the edge of the mud - her brand new shoes (size 8!!) ruined.

We went back with mud and grasses caked to our shoes. By now, Lucas had sprayed both girls with sunscreen a total of 8 times with a clever , "Tchsss Tchsss" to make it fun. They both insisted on holding his hand. We got on the tractor and rode past the chickens and tomatoes.

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We pulled some carrots as fast as we could then herded the girls back to the tractor without anyone falling into the aqueduct. We hopped on the back, Ada kicked my back leaving footprints on my cotton shirt, and her sun hat landed on the dirt road with a puff of dust puffing up around it. "Bye bye hat!"

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A standing diaper change later, we were loaded into the cars and headed back to the mild cool of our city. After a shower for the whole family the whole experience was much clearer.

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Even though it wasn't the picture-perfect wholesome learning experience I imagined, I'm really glad we went. These adventures - I'll continue to create them because she will remember them one day.  They are worth the mud, the pink cheeks, the scratches, the drive in traffic.... all worth it to see her running in a wide open field with her friend, to see her poke the dirt with her finger, to watch her bare feet on the grocery store floor when we stopped for snacks and water. We may go again in October when the weather is cooler to carve pumpkins. Well, really we'll go to make memories.

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2 Lovies:

Lisa said...

I am so with you. On all of this.

Hi! I'm Aitch said...

That looks like so much fun! And although I hail from the desert and have a black thumb I am a huge proponent of teaching kids about where their food comes from, how it's grown/made and the importance of appreciating it.

In that vein, there is some "cow to cone" ice cream with The Boy's name on it when the county fair comes to town next month.