Friday, December 30, 2011

The Power of a Seed

Over the past two weeks I have received about a dozen seed catalogs in the mail. What a joy to see the vibrant colors in the winter!  To dream of warm soil and tasty veggies, of picking bouquets right out of the garden. 

My absolute favorite catalog to order seeds from and pour over is Bakers Creek.  They also have a magazine I devour cover to cover quarterly and a new book that I just received as a gift.  Not to mention they are pretty local!  I visited them at their original Mansfield, MO location this summer although they now have two other locations as well.  The photos and descriptions are delicious!  Not to mention they are an Heirloom Seed Company!!!  Here's the link to their site where you can request your own catalog:  Bakers Creek Seed Company

My tag line for this blog reads:  A Steady Dose of Faith, Farm & Fancy. I don't normally mention too much of the Faith part.  It seems sacred somehow, the sancutary I find in the garden, my petitions to God, my act of loving Him.  Yet I know it is to be shared.  There is a saying that One Is Nearest to God in the Garden Than Anywhere Else on Earth and for me that is so true.  The beauty, the quiet, the miracle of a seed.  One Sunday morning when I just needed time alone with God I sent my husband and boys to church and went out to work in the garden.  Bless the little church on the next road over that rang their church bells that morning! That solemn ringing broke something in me that day and healing was able to begin.

I have been frustrated recently in my prayer life and was telling my father about it.  A farmer himself and the man who alongside my mother introduced me to God and nurtured that relationship from birth and still does.  I'm not sure where he heard this analogy but it spoke volumes to my heart and once again gave me hope.  I'd asked him why God wasn't answering my prayers and he explained it like this:  "Our prayers are like rain.  There must be a seed that has been sown first for the prayers to produce a harvest.  That seed is God's word (John 6:63 says God's word is Life/alive).  Find scripture to back up what you are asking God for and memorize it, repeat it until it's planted so deep in your spirit that it abides (something you cling to and have faith in even when it seems to have failed) and then you can water it." 

If you're still reading I am going to add below an article I wrote on kids and gardening and the power of a seed.  May your garden be planted in love and well watered.  Au Revoir

As a mom who loves to garden my approach to involving my kids revolves around a little bitty beginning that miraculously turns into something much bigger and more beautiful than we could have imagined and might just sustain us for sometime; the power of a seed.

My children are also my seeds who once started out as a dream of mine, then a small fetus planted in love and someday will become grown men more beautiful and powerful than I could have imagined and with the ability to sustain themselves. What better way to teach them this important lesson than with gardening.

Children are so eager to learn and help. Yes, it might take a fight to pull them away from the television or in my case the XBOX, but once they are outside and you give them a task they beg for more. Tools just their size are available at most garden centers and even dollar stores and can make it easier for them to participate and still allow mom & dad to get some work done.

Most of us like to help others but to have a place of our own or any possession creates a feeling of pride and is something children crave. Give them their own section of the garden or even a simple pot to plant something that they are responsible for and are allowed to nurture. All it takes is some dirt, water, sunshine and one tiny seed to produce a beautiful flower or a bearing vegetable.

There are so many fun colors and names for plants that make planning your garden half the fun. If you combine those two elements to entice the five senses you’ve got a garden that is educational for even your youngest child. Huge sunflowers can grow quickly to teach kids all about size,. Try planting it staked to a yard stick and you’ve got a math lesson right there! As if the smell of the outdoors doesn’t provide enough pleasantries let your child tend a fragrant herb such as mint for tea or basil for pizza. The possibilities are endless. My own children love to show guests our five different kinds of mints and name them. As for touch there’s nothing a kid loves more than the mighty worm wiggling in the earth but don’t forget the fuzzy Lamb’s Ears used in previous times for healing wounds and for my boys as bunny ears. But watch out for the prickly pear, a cactus that actually grows in Missouri! Taste is an easy find in the garden if no chemicals are used. You can grow any number of vegetables and herbs for culinary purposes but did you know you can eat dandelion stems? Make sure there haven’t been any pesticides used on them first. Grasses swaying in the breeze actually make a lovely sound in the garden or grow bamboo and harvest it to make your very own wind chime in the fall.

Gardening is art; the colors, the placement, the arrangement of plants in and out of the ground. All of this hands on experience provides powerful memories for your child and opportunities to express themselves. There’s nothing better than setting up an easel in the garden, capturing time with photography or reading amongst the world you’ve created in the garden.

One of my favorite ways to use gardening to benefit my children is to create memories and establish our relationship by time spent together and accomplishments made. These teachable moments are abundant in the garden when mentioning the lifecycle of the bee or butterfly that you’ve persuaded to come with beautiful plants. Or how bread can be made from the wheat seed. Maybe mention the native plants used by our first American settlers or wonder at the beauty of the sunflower seed that at the end of the season will produce a harvest for the birds.

There are many sources on gardening with children at the library or local nature centers like the Remington Nature Center in St. Joseph, Missouri. Perhaps you’ll take them to the Arbor Day Celebration at the Conservation Department and plant a tree to mark their age by taking a picture of them next to the tree each year and that one day that they will be able to climb.

The possibilities are endless in connecting you and your child to each other through gardening and it all starts with a single seed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It All Starts With A Pair of Boots

I've always loved old things; vintage finds, "junk" as some would call it.  My bedroom growing up was full of family treasures, scraps of old lace, anything with a history.  I found these pale pink boots (in my size!) at an antique store.  I'd never given into the living on a farm in a fashion sense.  I actually used to follow all the models (you know...Christy Turlington, Niki Taylor, Linda Evangelista) and would try to copy their outifts.  The closest I got to farm related was when I wore twine from a haybale around my neck as a choker (Thanking God I don't have pictures!). But the boots were a KICKstart to my inner farmgirl.

Wanting to feed my family fresh produce without pesticides and blessed with lots of space, I started with a simple strawberry patch and small potager of 4 raised beds.  Once the kids were a little older we finally decided to build a chicken coop (something we'd wanted to do for a few years).  We had so much fun picking out funky chickens to order.

After that the whole farm lifestyle has gotten really addictive.  I began reading inspiring books and blogs and realized I wanted a lot more than just eggs and veggies.  I wanted it all!

We know have (in addition to chickens) turkeys, ducks, milking goats, honeybees, a HUGE garden and my wishlist is even longer!  I hope Santa brings me warm pink carhart bibs and cheese making equipment.  I never dreamt I would embrace the Great Outdoors, my Inner Farmgirl, and bloom where I was planted (when I used to think I was stuck where I was at).  And it all started with a Pair of Boots!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Metallics in the Landscape

Every day when I look out my kitchen window at my herb garden I am amazed at the resiliencecy of plants.  My sage is a rockstar this time of year.  In fact the only star of the season.  The mint is still a bit green but the chives have disappeared and all of the annuals; basil, parsely & oregneo.  Lemon Balm and Thyme are holding on but the sage....oh the sage.  I have always loved the silver leaves.
We just had a winter thunderstorm so the wet leaves around the plant look like a rich bronze....just gorgeous.  Even my Tri Color Sage is looking good.
At the end of the season I had placed straw on top of the beds but the chickens spread it around for me.  In places I didn't put it.  Or want it.  But they looked cute doing it.  They do bring me joy.  Their feathers shimmering in the rain like twinkling lights on the Christmas tree.  Taking it a bit too far????  Yea.  Maybe that is stretching it a bit. 

On another note if you love to decorate like I do, especially with metallics and natural elements, you'll enjoy Silve Sage Designs.  Check them out on Facebook or online here....

May your Holidays Be Merry & Bright!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Footprints in the Frost

Good Morning from Northwest Missouri where it's a chilly 15 degrees!  This is the time of year when having animals on the farm can be more of a challenge.  Although I've winterized as much as I can it is still a challenge to keep farmgirl and animals cozy. 
This automatic waterer for the sheep and goats is not supposed to freeze but the past two days the top 1/2" has been frozen.  I chop it up and retrieve the mini glaciers with my hands.  Brrrrr!

A heating lamp is burned out in the chicken coop so a trip to the farm store is planned for later today to buy all the critters extra goodies like dried meal worms, cracked corn, peanuts for the goats and fancy minerals for the sheep.
So glad hubby got me these warm Muck Boots that will keep my feet toasty when we're trudging through snow drifts soon.  Hopefully Santa will bring me my own Carhart & Bibs!  Oh how my list has changed!
Now that chores are done I can snuggle with my babies who are recovering from being sick.  Stay warm!