Dirt Under Our Fingernails

A post hole digger isn’t a tool that’s used every day by most folks, and, as such, it is typically used with one of the appropriate adverbs: strenuously, arduously, and laboriously are all commonly associated with that particular implement of excavation. With my wife and me, though, “spontaneously” can be added to the list.  

It almost always starts with a book, in this case Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy.  Books lead to ideas, ideas lead to pondering, pondering leads to discussion, discussion leads to a decision, a decision leads to a trip to the home improvement store, and that trip leads to a post hole digger.  Now, my wife isn’t one to shirk away from work (on the contrary), but my greater size usually means I get to do the digging.  And I love it.

We’ve always gardened, with varying degrees of success.  Houseplants really aren’t our thing, but we consider our yard space to be an extension of our living space. Our style is “eclectic,” which means a little of this, a little of that, and someday we hope to tie it all together.  We’ve got our chickens and their coop, we’ve got a few blueberry bushes and pecan trees, and we’ve got a lot of shade because of the trees we’ve planted over the years.  We’ve got a nice side porch and a growing number of places to sit in the yard.  And, as of a few years ago, we’ve got grandchildren. Grandchildren in whom we hope to foster a love of the outdoors and all things natural.  Thus, the post hole digger.  

Gardening with chickens requires a fence, either to keep them in or out, depending on the situation and one’s perspective.  So yesterday, racing against the oncoming rain, we started the fence that will soon surround a garden of dreams (My wife, Lisa, walked around yesterday singing the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”).  Dreams of ours, and, we hope, dreams of those little kidlets, as my daughter calls them.  A garden with sunflowers to sit amongst, a garden with pumpkins to watch and measure as they swell, a garden with flowers turning their faces toward the Alabama sun.  A place in which we can plant hopes for the future.  A place where, with a nod to Wendell Berry, we can know the peace of both the wild and the cultivated.

All that said, my coffee cup is empty, so it’s time to get back out there.  I give thanks for the opportunity.

8 thoughts on “Dirt Under Our Fingernails”

  1. Post hole digging is an art that I’ve not tried, but my husband did long ago. Your spring/summer plans sound wonderful, and I assume you’re fencing out the chicks? I love hearing all about your outdoor space. There is a pecan grove in my past, one that held many adventures growing up. It seems you’re planning for future adventures with those grand ‘kidlets’! That’s a best thing!


    1. Linda, you need to find a way to dig at least one post hole in your life, just so you can say you did! We are, indeed, planning for future adventures with the kidlets. We would garden anyway, but this direction makes it so much more fun. Fencing out the chickens, yes, but we’re also trying to succeed where Mr. McGregor failed!


  2. Great post! Your gardening adventures remind me of my husband’s. Yes, I like to help, but I don’t like the 15-mile drive to get to our pottery studio (we’re gonna fix that problem next year) where all this is: laying chickens, meat chickens, his fabulous garden, pottery studio, wood shop, wood-kiln. Today, he is finishing an unnecessarily fancy chicken coop commissioned by a town-dwelling, farmer-woman we know. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Marilyn, the drive sounds like it could take part of the fun out of the trip, but the pottery studio sounds wonderful. I have to laugh, because it sounds like his interests mirror mine almost exactly. I’ve got a wood shop and am learning pottery (my wife and I have always wanted to); I’m even hoping to provide labor for a friend’s wood-fired kiln. Thanks for reading, and for your comments. I’m going to dig into your new blog this evening!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your post. My husband and I too spent time together doing yard chores this weekend. He always gets the heavy duty jobs, and remains open to suggestions and ideas I have for ways we can improve the small space we have. On another note, I see we follow similar blogs! I was especially interested in how you came to follow Natalie B Miller’s blog – she is my principal. Rather she is my principal for now…she accepted a position in Dallas, Texas and will be saying goodbye to us in a short few weeks. I also see you like Emily Arrow – she is so fun! I discovered her through the All The Wonders podcast.


  4. Love the story…especially this:
    A garden with sunflowers to sit amongst, a garden with pumpkins to watch and measure as they swell, a garden with flowers turning their faces toward the Alabama sun. A place in which we can plant hopes for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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