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Gardening with Children

Chantee Fisher



  • January 14, 2021
    9:30 AM
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You don't mind bearing your head for a word of prayer. To get started here precious Heavenly Father thank You for this new day for this opportunity to be in this place fellowshipping learning from one another I pray that you will bless this presentation and may the lessons you've been teaching Luke and I be a blessing to those who are here in your name pray man. So I have to tell you very frankly that when. Vivian Seiler contacted me about teaching this class I said I told her that sounds like a really great class title I need to attend that class. I do not think that I am qualified to teach that class but she encouraged me to pray about it and I prayed about it and here I am so I'm not here as an expert to share with you exactly how to garden with children the perfect blueprint but I am here to share with you our journey as we're learning and for growing we found some things that were work we found things that don't work very well and I feel like I'm just going to share with you frankly from my my testimony and experience I'm going to start off with a quote from agonist home that has really blessed me and inspired me in this area it says Let each of your children have a piece of ground of their own and as you teach them how to make a garden how to prepare the soil for seed and the importance of keeping all the weeds pulled out teach them also how important it is to keep unsightly injurious practices out of the life teach them to keep down wrong habits as they keep down the weeds in their gardens it will take time to teach these lessons but it will pay greatly pay administration page $146.00 I mean isn't that the whole point we want our children's characters to develop be developed in the. Likeness of God and the garden is a wonderful place to start teaching those lessons so I'll tell you a little bit about ourselves our family quite literally lives in the garden gardening is not just an event of our day one our time on the schedule gardening is our life at this stage and so we have had to find ways to make our life work in the garden. It started early you can see this picture here is of our oldest I think he was about 3 weeks old here when we. Really took him out to the guard while we took him out to the garden right at the beginning but when we 1st had our 1st family work day in the garden after he was born I was feeling up to working again and it was spring the weather was really nice we wrapped him up in one of his daddy's sweaters and put him under a cabbage leaf and he just left there peacefully as newborns do as we were working in the garden and I feel like that was the beginning of our children's journey in the garden living growing eating experiencing all kinds of all kinds of things out there in the garden so we spent the 1st 5 years of our marriage market gardening in the spring and summer and then in the fall and winter we volunteered in the Congo and it was just a really really great experience. We were growing a family but we still had a few enough children that we could kind of put them in the backpack and just keep on going and then we went. We accepted a full time overseas service and we were there for 2 years and so we kind of took a break from gardening during that time and when we came back to start a garden again we had 4 children and I'll tell you it you definitely have to juggle things differently when you have 4 children rather than 2 there's not enough backpacks to go around anymore. As we were finishing up our stint overseas we had actually been in a more challenging environment we had been living in town and it was the 1st time I had lived in town since I was a child the 1st time my children ever lived in town and it was difficult I mean we made it work we had a yard and we grew a little patio garden but at the end of that time we really felt the need to just get back in nature really deeply connect with God as a family spending lots and lots of time outside so as we were evaluating what that would look like for our family we decided. Our priorities were spending time in nature working on the character development of our children what we felt like was a critical stage for them they were 0 to 4 at the time and we wanted to take the opportunity before we started like the official home school journey to really strengthen the practical virtues in them so we wanted to teach them the 1st 1st lessons in hard work and resourcefulness and fortitude and we also wanted to remain debt free we did not we've been saving to build a house but we didn't have enough money so we were like Ok we didn't want to rent because renting typically in our area at least means living in or right near town we wanted to be on the farm but there was no housing for us on the farm and so we decided to. Buy a canvas tent I think I have a picture here. So we decided to homestead it was supposed to be just a very temporary thing we were going to live in it for the spring and summer and start working on building in the fall. And we've been in the tent now for 2 years this is our finishing our 3rd winter and it has been quite the journey we have been able to meet a lot of our gold which is a real blessing. We've started building now but it's building is a real process. But I'll tell you there's been all kinds of lessons what I never anticipated learning I never anticipated how difficult the experience would be for me frankly. My husband and children love it so that that helps because they just think what life is one grand adventure but as a mother with 4 little ones it's not always easy when you come home after a day in the garden and you know it's cold in the wood is when the fire is not starting very well and the generators out of gas so I can't do the laundry and the water pipes are frozen so we can't even take a shower you know what I'm saying it's not like I feel like why am I dealing with these very fundamental problems I mean. I have enough in my plate that I should be able to just turn on the think and how water come out but I have been encouraged there's a there's a quote I think actually looking it up this morning in my devotions that has really inspired me in this journey this is from the book Christian experience and teachings of Ellen White and this is her commentary on her vision of walking the narrow path you know the allegory of the journey to heaven and she says we thought then of those this is where be the road is getting so narrow that they've actually had to take their shoes off and they're just walking and stocking. We then thought of those who had not accustom themselves to privations and hardships Where were the Such Now they were not in the company at every change some were left behind and those only remained who had accustom themselves to endure hardships the privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end you know in our country today. We I know we all face hardships in our lives but in a physical sense usually hardships and privations are not something that we really experience and so as I've gone through the experience the last couple of years I've realized that God is using these lessons in my life preparing me for the days ahead and to make me a fit teacher for my children as I am seeking to prepare their characters for eternity. So anyway back to gardening we are still learning and growing in how to manage keeping our children a priority while we are running a full time market gardening business and like I said that's a that's a journey that we're still on. And we're still learning those that balance but I'm going to share with you practical ways that we have made the garden a place that our children love it's a place of discovery and a place of joy to them so 1st of all I would say the most important thing is my attitude. It makes all the difference in the world if I am excited about the work that we're doing out there in the garden if I'm enthusiastic about it and if I exude that attitude from my children they pick up on that they copy that attitude even if they're in a grumpy mood and we're heading out there if I maintain that cheerful excited attitude told who rubs off on them. Here's an example I mean there's some there's some things in the garden that I don't enjoy doing but in general I do love gardening and I really I love planting seeds it's one of my favorite things to do I love starting the seed in the spring early spring late winter in the greenhouse and I'll talk about it weeks ahead of time with the kids and like hey guess what look at this catalog it's almost time we're going to be you know basically ramping it up and by the time it's it's time to begin our market season they are so excited and they think it's the greatest thing in the world I'm always looking ahead to the things that are coming children love anticipation I mean I love anticipation as a child and one of our favorite times on the farm is strawberries and asparagus season they kind of they kind of overlap and to me it's just like the quintessential spring being out there picking strawberries picking asparagus. Weathers beautiful birds are singing and I really kind of romanticized in my mind and I just love to think about it all year round when I'm actually in the middle of it sometimes I'm thinking man you know what's so great about this I've been sticking Starbreeze for hours but I talk about it with my kids all seasons through I'm like guess what this winter is over guess what we're going to have strawberries in the garden again and they're excited they they love to come out there they look forward to it too. I remember when I 1st got married to Luke I thought that hoeing was like this negative thing because I had grown up reading character building stories were like the children. One of their consequences was having to lead whole row corn out in the heat and i just how it was really something that we did in our little garden very much we just kind of pulled weeds by hand but when I got to the farm they do a lot of hoeing including hauling rows of corn but my husband loves hoeing it's like one of his favorite things to do and I remember one day I was like why don't you do this evening and I'm thinking I grew up in a home where family time was something totally recreational like we would play hide and seek or read books or you know take a bike ride and he's like let's hold the sweet corn for family time and I'm like What. I just I could not wrap my mind around that but. I realized that it was totally an attitude and perspective thing and I understand now you know when when his family host together like all the different families on the farm come together in the evening in the cooler day we all go out there and hold the sweetcorn and it is a real highlight we talk we laugh we have a great time and you know when we're done we all go and jump in the pond it is wonderful and my kids love hoeing Now to them it's like a big treat at the end of the day and to me that's all about attitude that's all about the perspective that you bring to a situation. I'm not sure oh Ok so encourage exploration. If you interest your children in the natural world. There is less opportunities and interest out in the garden. Children are naturally inquisitive but like you can you can encourage that and it'll even grow as you feed it encourage their curiosity encourage them to look around and discover the things around them my daughter is in love with Frog she is like the very typical farm girl who carries a frog in her pocket literally a little bit growth but that's how she is and this spring around our garden we had done some bulldozing work we've moved our gardens to our Homestead area now so there were like a lot of really deep ruts around our garden and they filled in with rain and the frogs came lay their eggs my kids spent hours and hours and hours days weeks on their bellies at the edge of those ruts studying the tadpoles and it was the greatest babysitter I mean we could get up there my husband and I could really focus on work as they would be studying their frogs in their mud puddles and. We really encourage that and we and we made them some to rary ems and let them get their tadpoles and bring them to our tent so they could I mean they watch them go out there in their little body pounds but they also really enjoyed watching them grow in our space and learning what they like to eat and whatever and it was wonderful and every single day only went out to the garden in the morning they just rushed back to their little frog pond to see how much the tadpoles had grown Maria was like over the moon when she caught this bull frog we were we were on our way home one evening and it was hopping in the road and we've got out and helped her to get it and yeah she just she didn't want to let it go she really wanted to keep it as a pet I don't know if you can tell how huge it is but like it was humongous it was it gave me the heebie jeebies to look at it. And she actually she convinced us to keep it overnight and put it in a 5 gallon bucket with something on top of the mill the night the horses came along and sniffing the bucket because it was an old grain bucket and like knocked off the lid and this frog comes out at them oh my the ruckus was incredible and we all woke up. Anyway they also love studying insects and we've gotten a little cages and gotten them you know their butterfly nets and then you find glasses and just help to encourage and to feed that inquisitiveness so that they they love nature they love building play houses with sticks and weeds and grass and stuff and can just an hour's doing that kind of thing. One of the other things I hear she also loves snakes is when she was that easy. One of the other things we've done which is a creative solution to our particular situation most of the work so far in our market garden business has been done by my husband and myself we hire at least we do most of the harvesting we hire people to help us with the processing but we have found that for the most part you know we can usually harvest about 3 times as fast as anybody that we hired but we've done most of the harvesting ourselves we are trying to transition into not relying on me so much that I can be more full time focused on the children and have them in the garden but not really need to accomplish anything in the garden besides child training. At this past year was a very demanding year it was just we just had so because of coven our business really expanded and we had. So many customers so anyway we spent a lot of early mornings out in the garden and we would just we would just get up it you know 5 o'clock have our devotions or 430 and then pack of the sleeping kids in the back of our car at 5 30 in the morning and lots of blankets and pillows and whatever and then drive to the garden and let them wake up back there slowly as we're out there harvesting and they actually loved it to them it was like this big adventure that they really enjoyed waking up in the car and. As they would start waking up and poking their heads out or whatever then we would have a picnic breakfast by the garden which they also thought was the greatest thing I mean it might have been Cheerios and milk most of the time but it was very exciting to them to wake up at the garden and eat breakfast at the garden and just start the day that way so something that was very simple and actually helped to accomplish our goals was something that made the garden even more exciting place for our kids so you can see in this picture there you can see the blankets left over from they were waking up and we'd already harvest all the stuff on the back of the vehicle and they're all smiles. Another thing that I have found that has really helped our kids to really enjoy it gardening is teaching them to love the food that we're growing one of the ways that we've done that I mean they've they've just eaten stuff out of the garden from the time they were very little dirt and all that this year we started. I think was really their idea that basically we gave them access to our compost bin and would lessen just we've made kind of like a mud kitchen and we've taught our kids nice safety from the time they were about 2 years old to like the 5 and 6 year old are really good with knives now and we just let them cut up the compost and make their little soups and stews and whatever out of the old produce and you can see they made fairly elaborate creation. You can see the empty yellow compost bucket right next there they says they were really excited they love that kids love handling real food I mean I did when I was little I remember when my mom gave us an old in a flower it was like the most amazing thing we didn't have to make mud pies we could need real pies out of this flour so. They love real knives few I can say that they've never cut their fingers that they haven't cut their fingers off and. And they really really enjoy the experience of working with real utensils working with real food so anyway they started off this spring just making all these creations out of compost and my husband and I realized hey we can really. We could really capitalize on this as they were starting to make more and more what looked like at a bowl things to eat I mean you can be sure that they went ahead and ate a lot of these things that came out of the compost bin. But so we started to just kind of direct their their activity and teach them things about like hygiene and choosing good vegetables to make real real things and anyway here's an example of something the breakfast that they made for us out in the garden that was actually really good and they do this all the time now and it really helps me because I don't have to stop to make lunch they can just make lunch all morning and then we can eat it when it's time. So they'll make all kinds that they love making stir fry this is like a salad with the tofu they like adding tofu to anything they make and we all like tofu so that work they also love to make soup and they'll put just all kinds of things from that I mean little harvest of themselves to wash it chop it up and put it in soup and I have to tell you that I've eaten things in soup that I never imagined eating into before like they love to put cucumbers in the soup and radishes in the soup but they actually don't taste that bad and we give them use like some salt and they season their soup and one of the things we've done to encourage it is being super enthusiastic about eating this and guys are such good cooks to stay so good this is like one of the best move that ever had and there's so excited they're so excited about the garden they're so excited about vegetables and this winter when the seed catalogs came to realize what would be good in soup you know just. Anyway so that's another thing we've done to encourage their enthusiasm about the garden. We've also let our kids try everything so when. When Vivian talked to me about teaching this class who's she was saying that somebody on the programming committee had said to her you know what I want to know how I can get my kids to like enjoy working out in the garden instead of complaining the whole time and whatever Obviously my experiences with very little children so far and we have not required them to work long hours in the garden mostly So far the experience has been teaching them how to enjoy being out there. And we're transitioning slowly one step at a time in crease in their ability to actually stick to a project and work but I feel like if you start that too early then the whole experience just kind of becomes a drudge to a child and they're like oh no we don't want to go there I mean that's where we whatever so I think you need to find a balance because of course you need to teach perseverance but at the same time you want a little child to experience the free as lamb say a stage of life where just there's everything to explore and discover and it all seems so wonderful. So one of the things we've done is we've let our children try everything that we're doing and sometimes this is difficult when we're in the let's get this done mindset it's hard to have them come along and be like oh can I try that when we get a new tool and like you know they can't do it effectively but. We thought Ok this is an investment in our future and we'll take a moment and let them help us speed and when they're really little I just told myself this is I'm not going to do this long only do it for about 2 minutes you know max and then they'll be on their way so let me just help them for these couple of minutes if they're interested but as they get a little bit older maybe they want to try longer and they really get in the way of our production but again I have to remind myself when we're we're growing in this every day that the time that we invest in them now is really going to pay off in the future so I had a few pictures of that helping in various capacities here they were helping to weigh up micronutrients which they. Really enjoy doing Hudson This is our spirits ticker machine and all boys love machines and our son is no exception he always bags to. Help harvest asparagus in the spring and our machine has 3 seats and it was like the most helpful if he was willing to sit on our laps or whatever but no he always wants his own adult seat which meant at the beginning that most of the asparagus on his row would not be picked and so we but we would lessons do it we thought you know what he really wants to try it let's encourage this and so we would just get a worker to walk behind him and take all the stuff that he missed but over the years he's gotten better and better I mean he started when he was like 3 and now this last year if we drove slow he could actually keep up with picking. And he and Maria were extremely helpful this year when we 1st started our our oldest very good field really has gone out of production so this past year there was not enough to actually fire up the machine so we had to hand-pick. You know anything about Han taking like 7 acres of asparagus. As a lot of work and very back breaking but when you're a little person a lot closer to the ground it's easier for you than it is for adults and they really helped us with hand picking the field this year and I feel like their enthusiasm had a lot to do with the fact that we had left them helping years before previous and made them feel like they were they were a part of the team. One of the favorite jobs for our little people. Digging potatoes they love eating raw potatoes which I have never quite understood and here they are speeding as you can see my husband gave them a jar old legacy he wasn't sure how it would germinate and spread very quickly as you can see but it was Ok they really really loved the process here they were average but he wanted to take a turn trying the the broad fork and have the time of their lives doing so. This year when we started we tipped our own strawberries for the 1st time and then a pretty big job but every child really wanted to be involved and here we have baby looky actually did fill up those seed trays I mean we kind of had to go and get the areas that he missed but he really enjoyed being part of the process and our 2 year old she actually was one in this picture she's extremely particular detail oriented the only one of our family who's that way and she actually did a really really good job tipping the berries. Here we are in a carrot harvest. In eating as many as are being harvested I'm sure this is the job that they all like the best. I have trained the older ones the little ones still are working on it but I've trained the older ones to only eat seconds so they will go around and they'll be like Is this a 2nd look there's a teeny tiny little brown spot on it you know. Filling up their bellies with seconds. This is an example of one project that we thought Ok our older children are old enough to really persevere with something until it's done so does this leave potatoes this year we told them we want you to help us and we want you to help us until the project is finished and it required some encouragement it required a lot of perseverance on their part. But we did it together even take great grandma out there and a cousin and that made it more exciting and they persevered to the very end they feel so excited every time I could sweet potatoes that they really helps to harvest the sweet potatoes. As they've gotten bigger giving them bigger responsibilities I feel like it's important I don't know if all children are this way but my oldest is especially this way he feels like he knows the difference between us giving him an unnecessary job to keep him busy and actually giving him a job that we really really need him to do like he really is making a difference we couldn't do the project without him and it makes all the difference in the world for him at his motivation level in actually wanting to stick with that job so we've found ways and means to give him jobs that are within his capability but really are a vital part of the team and we've seen him just grow tremendously in his level of responsibility and Luke actually found this junk tractor for $25.00 at a yard sale and went and got it and fixed it up for Hudson and then got him a wagon for Christmas and you can see right before we came on this trip he was hauling away all the dead. Pepper vine getting our Caterpillar tunnel ready to plant when we get back and he's excited about it and he's he just wants us to give him more jobs that require the tractor and trailer. Anyway he sticks he barely reaches the gas and breaks the he knows how to do it he can run it better than I can but you know starting them young is is a good thing to do so another thing we tried to do is encourage entrepreneurship early. We gave our kids their own garden bought kids love that I love when I was little having your own place where you can decide what you're going to grow and you can do with the produce what you want a couple of years ago we gave the oldest 2 their own garden spots and. It was very it was very inspiring to see how motivated they were suddenly to actually hope and to the perseverance job because it was theirs and they wanted to do and they wanted to keep it looking nice so I would say to you know find your children's motivation and to capitalize on it because motivation is different for different children for instance my oldest is very motivated by earning money and I think that's common but he's he's very business minded and he's like Ok the you know what crops are need to grow in this space to make the most money in this kind of thing so anyway we we've encouraged that but really at the same time taught him proper godly money and money management point in life is not making money. But anyway it's Ok for him to work and to have proceeds from his from his work and so the 1st year he planted he. He made about $45.00 profit off of his little what do you know about her 5 year old and he bought a beach suit with his $45.00 and then really got into b.s. this last year and grew some more stuff and did the bees and I was blown away harvested honey from their hives this fall and they couldn't harvest very much because like the 1st year and they had to leave enough for the winter or whatever but. People buy local honey like I would never buy a local honey or any honey or honey any being for the price that we were selling our honey for my husband assured me it's not over priced and sure enough as soon as we open our market people were like oh local honey oh this is such a good deal let me take 10 you know like who should have prices higher but the kids you know they've made a 100 or $150.00 on their 1st little harvest of honey that's like a lot of money for little children but it's possible and they're so excited they want to head and are spending that money on more seeds and the equipment their father really tries to teach them that everything costs money and you know we encourage them along at 1st and let them like harvest things from our garden for them to sell various families was like Ok No they're making too much money too if they need to pay us for the produce before they sell it anyway real life lessons and they have. They really really enjoyed and been motivated to garden in that way my my daughter is not is motivated by money that's like I don't know she's she's very artistic she's very giving not business minded and all money is you take it or leave it like she would much prefer to have $100.00 pennies than to have a $1.00 bill you know still in that stage of life but she loves to give making things and giving things to people is really huge for her so she grew a bunch of pumpkins this past summer and this fall she was she really wanted to make a pumpkin pie for her great grandma and. It was I remember she was talking to me about it for a couple weeks and I just my life is so full that I don't always just have time to drop and make a pumpkin pie plus when you're home study making a pumpkin pie also means getting your would cook stove hot enough that you can bake a pie I mean it's more complicated than just making a pumpkin pie but I remember this particular Friday is like I really want to make a pumpkin pie for a great grandma like Ok Today's the day you go get your pumpkin was put in the oven and you know we'll make a pumpkin pie so she made a pumpkin pie for a great grandma with her very own pumpkin and 3 potatoes and was so proud of it and took it to grandma and grandma ate it and was so pleased and it was actually a really sweet story because Grandma great grandma the very next day she had a stroke and she died the day after and the pumpkin pie was the very last thing ca before she died and I was just host thankful I mean. That we made that pumpkin pie I would have always felt bad if we hadn't but Maria's just so motivated by by that motivation growing to give and so anyway that's just to say to find your child motivation find the thing that makes them happy and them excited and really really capitalize on that in context of the garden another thing that our kids love doing is taking their produce to the county fair I didn't grow up doing this and. It is very exciting I mean it's even exciting for us and they've made a lot of prizes this year we. My parents went to some of the Such as they were like How did they get that many ribbons well like it was a lot of work for the parents the kids when harvested a bunch of stuff but then I went and had to put in all these entries and basically we. We didn't have a ton of competition is the truth. And we entered like a pumpkin for Luke a pumpkin for Lin They are a pumpkin for Maria and we we entered multiple entries in every single category so that they could walk home with some prizes but they just like took home prizes for everything that we took so we took like 35 or 40 entries and so that's why all the ribbons. And what I appreciated about the situation was that it wasn't very competitive like I don't want to encourage competition in my children but the judging is done when people are not there and you just kind of go later and see what you got it's all on display and you can see your ribbons then you can come later and pick them up and my kids are not savvy enough maybe the oldest one is but like Maria love the pink ribbons the most she just really loves her pink ribbons 5th place and just really terrorists the 2 pink ribbons that she made. But it was very exciting for them and made them all the more eager to grow a garden this year so they can take more things to the county fair. Now that's our daughter she she spent some of her money. Actually no that's not right husband bought himself a new b.c. this spring and gave his old one to Maria so she could join the beekeeping operation and they have really really enjoyed that something that she and Hudson and Luke have done together. Had no charm ties the experience of the children haven't yet so my husband has. My. He got a queen a Russian queen bee or something anyway she's made this hive of extremely angry bees and we stay far away from them but he was in a beast too but he forgot to zip part of it so they all climbed right up on to states and it was it was very exciting I wasn't there he ran and jumped in the pond the children came running for me anyway. So one of the things that we have tried to do in the garden is really embrace the life lessons of the gardening life has to offer and you and where you come from in your perspective may have different lessons that you really have a burden to teach your children than we do some of the things that Luke and I really value our. Flexibility hardness resourcefulness fortitude these are things that because of where we've been in life what we've been called to have our characteristics that have really served us well and are things that we really want to pass down to our children and the garden has provided lots of opportunities for this some and there's nothing wrong with a life that's more rigidly structured than our life but like some babies can not nap anywhere but their crib that's the only place they can nap and they nap really well in their crib but for us if I would have trained my children to do that it would have been. Very inconvenient for our life as a United have to be in the house or in the tent every every time one child had to take a nap so we've taught our children to just nap anywhere and everywhere and as you can see this was my I felt like giving myself a blue ribbon for getting all 4 of them and the dog down for a nap at the same time Clinton after Nixon who we could clean out the tomato Donald together but they're very flexible they're very very willing to adapt and to they're able to. You know take their naps anywhere or eat without sitting at a table or whatever these are things that we've been able to teach them through our through the gardens through our lifestyle. Hardiness I was talking about this before how important it is to learn how to endure hardship it's. Something that we've found as. A natural part of our gardening like the weather is not always great outside and you still have to go out there and harvest sometimes we're out there on Rangers Lee days when you'd really rather not be in the garden at all but taking your kids with us and teaching them to have good attitudes out there even under ideal circumstances is the way that they develop that hardness of character that can stand up to greater trials this is a rainy day garden picture please don't notice how badly overgrown the crab grass and weeds are around our lettuce but I I have purchased We live very frugally and like I buy all of our clothes from Goodwill but there's a few items that I have gotten that are high quality like this rain gear here these rain suits my kids will put on and they can stay warm and dry all day long matter how mighty or how cold how inclement the weather gets so there's a few items that I thought were important to invest in to help our children to enjoy their environment under every circumstance much more. Gardening with baby babies is just difficult they just I mean there are certain sections of the garden that we can have the babies in that won't be damaged too much by They're crawling around but many times we just have to put him in a backpack or put him on the shoulders and and go and do what we need to do to keep them my my youngest one really loves to uproot plants it's his favorite thing and of course. Yeah the real plants are a lot easier to uproot than the weeds so he'll be a great leader someday but until then we just have to be creative and find ways to keep him out of out of trouble. Another lesson that we've taught our children to the garden is fortitude through disappointments and. I'll give you an example a couple of years ago we set up a caterpillar tunnel for kids who'd just like a quarter length Caterpillar tunnel and they were so excited and planted a bunch of tomatoes in there and had lots of hopes and dreams for it. But they got them in the ground and they had like gorgeous plants they had seated them themselves Hudson had made all the foil blocks and selves himself and they had watered them they were really looking at they were looking better than our tomatoes actually but they got them in the ground and then they didn't grow they just literally stayed the same size and then they started curling up and dying and all of our tomatoes in our huge greenhouse were doing the same thing so I was pretty frantic for a while because this was like our cash crop our asparagus was going down and. The weather was so inclement I mean we were getting so much rain that year that most of our garden outside of our greenhouse was drowned out we really didn't have that much of a harvest from it so I felt like we were really depending on our greenhouse and what in the world was happening while there was a real journey of learning to trust the Lord in spite of great disappointment we finally figured out that the compost we had used to plant all of those tomato plants was. From a neighboring farm that had a horse operation on it and the horse manure had been contaminated or was contaminated with herbicides of the horses had eaten out in the sprayed fields and that herbicide made it through to our tomatoes which are very sensitive and they all died every single one of them. And then the ground was poisoned so we couldn't even use a greenhouse to to do anything else that year so it was a huge financial loss for us a huge disappointment but what was even harder for me you know I came to terms with the fact that in farming Sometimes this happens you know you just have to be ready for unexpected but there are kids who are so excited. And had worked so hard now Father stuff just going to pot and I was just like why I mean. Lord can't you just like counteract of the poison come both in here and let them go anyway I mean we're trying to train our kids to to love this and here this is a huge blow to them and it was really hard for me to process it in my mind until the Lord reminded me that this was an even deeper opportunity to help them start learning these lessons of fortitude through disappointment and you know as a parent we really try to shelter our children from all the disappointments possible and that's our job I think we should do that but the same time we need to recognize especially in this day and age that we live in we're not able to shelter them from everything and as they're maturing and going into the world they're going to meet a lot of disappointment and a lot of pain and a lot of sorrow and we can use these unexpected circumstances in life to help start training them to be ready to meet that kind of thing I mean in this last year our children have dealt with the same thing that we've dealt with you know my kids were really disappointing for weeks at a time not able to go to Sabbath school which was like the highlight of their week because our church was closed due to coded and these are things that we weren't able to shelter them from and yet as we as we started stepping them through these lessons of you know this is really disappointing but it's Ok God is still on the throne he has a plan we can trust in him he's going to find another way to help us get through this these are things that even a very small children will they can grasp of those lessons at their level and it can really make an impact on the kind of strength that as people they're able to have later on in life. Trusting in God and gratitude are 2 other big things that we've taught sought to teach our children to the garden obviously as a farmer you have to trust God you cannot. Order the rain on time you can't order the rain to stop when there's too much we went through when I married live we went to 2 years of drought and it was like we could not imagine ever having enough rain and then we've gone through several years of way too much rain in the spring. To have a drought again you know leaves we can drip water our plants as long as there are the water in the pond better to have not enough raw water rather than too much but. So trusting in God is something that we have to do as an adult and it's something that we've been seeking to teach our children and then just being grateful I mean those plants don't have to come up God doesn't have to give us those gifts that He gives us every single day we don't even deserve for the sun to come up in the morning that's a miracle every day that it happens and it's a miracle that comes from God and it's a miracle that we can be grateful for. Let me read to you another quote that comes from testimonies for the church it says to live in the country is very beneficial for children and active out of door life will develop health of body and mind they should have a garden to cultivate where they find both amusement and useful employment I really like that they should find amusement in the garden they should love to go there because it's an exciting place to them and they can find useful employment there the training of plants and flowers tends to him the improvement of taste and judgment while an acquaintance with God useful and beautiful creations has a refining and ennobling influence upon the mind referring it to the maker and master of all. And like I said at the beginning that's really the whole point of this we want our children to come into contact with the Creator and to become more like him and we have found that being out in his 2nd book is the best place for children to experience that and to draw closer to God But we as parents as mentors as teachers need to be intentional about connecting those lessons because it's not like they're going to naturally go out there and be able to articulate to themselves all the object lessons around but if we're intentional about articulating that for them then that connection will always be there in the future and being out in nature can really grow them draw them closer to God So life is a journey we are learning and growing together as our children are nearing home school age I'm sure that it will look a little bit different as I step back from more of the business side of gardening and focus more on the. You know full time children's education. But I'm sure that our lives will always include lots and lots of Agriculture lots of time out of doors I just a one thing that's been an advantage of tent living is that. You don't spend a lot of time the tent you sleep in a tent and so basically in the morning once we make our beds and clean up everything washed the dishes then we're outside all day and there's really no particular motivation to go back to the tent I mean like what for in the summer it's hot in there and in the winter it's cold in there unless you kept the fire going so we come back home at night and my children spent all day every day pretty much outside and it's I think. And we've we've seen real advantage. To that in them and their development. That's you know what I have to share but if you have any questions I'm happy. To answer them the best. 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