Digging in the Dirt
Have you ever worked in the dirt? Planted a full garden or even a pot of flowers? When I was growing up, my mom loved planting her garden and bringing in the harvest. It was fun, as a kid, to feel those smooth tiny seeds in my hand and feel that cool earth between my toes. Dad used the tiller to break up the hard dirt and make it soft earth to plant and walk in. The loud two-cylinder engine, running back and forth in straight rows, deafened our ears, and the smell of exhaust combined with dust made us cough and smile. When the smoke and noise stopped, the peaceful silence of the land, the chirping of the birds, and the muffled voices at the end of the garden plot overtook our ears.
We started to lay out the rows with string and wooden stakes. String from one side to the other was the guide for the hoe to run the length of the row.
Ploop, ploop, ploop went the bean seeds. Swish, swish went the lettuce and carrot seeds—they were so teeny that we had to be fast in covering the row so they wouldn’t blow away. The sun came out and created a warm crust on the newly tilled soil. As I stepped on the crust with my bare feet, my foot sunk through that warm top piece and dropped into the cool dampness below. Ah, what comfort.
Mom must have come out to the garden to weed while my siblings and I stayed with grandma. I don’t recall doing any back-breaking weeding when I was young.
Harvest and picking the veggies as they ripened was awesome. A pea for the bucket, a pea for me. The best were those huge watermelons and pumpkins. They filled the trunk and backseat of the car. We had to keep our toes out of the way as they wobbled side to side on the floor of the food wells. We cut into the watermelon’s flesh at home to gobble and drip that fruit down our faces and chest. Mom cut and cooked most of our pumpkins for canning and breads. We got to keep a few for carving later in October.
After we moved to a different town when I entered junior high, we lived on a farm with a one-acre plot of ground already ready for a garden. Half was a raspberry, strawberry, and rhubarb patch. It was very overgrown, but mom whipped it into shape our first couple of years.
Again, the tiller came out, as well as the strings and stakes, seeds, and sun. Since I was older, I remember the work that lasted all summer to create a good space for growth. It was painful: nasty mosquitoes, itchy weeds, scratchy raspberry branches, and sticky hot and humid temperatures.
I hated the maintenance all summer. It had to be done, and we had to do our share of the work. Drag hoses, water plants, move hoses, mow grass around the area, weed, pick, wash, cut, bag.
But then we got to eat. Oh, the rhubarb pies my mom made! The crust and custard around that sour fruit! The jellies and jams! Pumpkin bread and pies, zucchini bread, raspberry preserves, strawberry sauce on ice cream, chokecherry jelly and syrup, and canned everything—all available through the winter.
Since we had the space, we always planted potatoes. Our farmhouse had an old coal room in the basement—dirt floor and walls. I remember that one year our potatoes produced in abundance. We dug them all in one day so the work was done before bad weather hit. It was a beautiful, sunny cool day. We filled buckets as we dug each hill going down each row, wiped the dirt clods off each tater, and then carried them to the box of our Toyota pickup. It was heaping full and the tires were squatty.
The bucket work was not complete. My younger siblings filled the five-gallon buckets on the potato pile while my mom, dad, and I hauled the buckets to the basement. Great work, but greater family memories happened after that hard work as we enjoyed the fruits of our harvest.
“The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Everything we do is a seed just like the one in the garden, dirt, or pots. Have you noticed this? When your language or attitude goes south, have you noticed that the people around you, especially kids, tend to pick it up? It may not be on the same day, but maybe a week or a month later. It might be:
· The seed of complaint
· The seed of bitterness
· The seed of joy
· The seed of anger
· The seed of happiness
· The seed of irritation
· The seed of annoyance
· The seed of peace
· The seed of patience
· The seed of impatience
· The seed of kindness
· The seed of rudeness
· The seed of goodness
· The seed of madness
· The seed of gentleness
· The seed of aggression
· The seed of discipline
· The seed of procrastination
What do you feed your seed? If you have planted just one teeny seed, how will it grow? Water, sun, fertilizer? Basic enough.
Let’s say a seed of complaint has lodged itself in your noggin; then a bit of fertilizer named negativity, doubt, or fear seeps down on that seed. More negativity, doubt and fear will be harvested.
What will you harvest?
Do you want great, positive fruit to develop around you next year? What are you feeding your mind, eyes, ears, and heart today? What we feed grows.
Take this seed; plant it in dirt. Do you want a pretty perky flower? Or a snarly, nasty weed? The same works in our minds. Put a positive seed in, but don’t keep feeding it, and it will wither. Put an average thought in your mind, then feed it nightly news, Facebook feed, Snapchat snarls, Twitter twaddle, and media mush, and you end up with snarly, nasty results in your life.
How can you change your harvest?
What is better? What do you want to have as a harvest? Next year, do you want fighting family all around you? Or peaceful, loving conversations? Do you want a nagging boss, or do you want a supportive supervisor? It starts with you. Your attitude toward the situation is a great start. Are you arguing with your family every day? Or do you speak encouraging words frequently to your kids, spouse, extended family, coworkers, gas attendant, grocery store clerk, and every person around you?
If you want ideas on how to grow the best you, contact Deanna Becket at 605-390-6965 or email her at email@example.com