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.