Moving into the city a few years ago, I never thought I would have the opportunity to plant a vegetable garden with more than a few vegetables. But to my surprise, right smack in the middle of a residential area (just a few blocks from my home) I found a community garden just waiting to be worked and planted. So along with my two and a half year old grandson, we weeded several plots, planted seeds and plants. He shoveled a lot of dirt with his little sand shovel, making piles everywhere, but having a great time. His little fingers were just the right size to push seeds into holes. Once the seeds and plants were planted it was time to water. As the official waterer, my grandson got most of the garden wet-- along with most of himself. He really enjoyed squirting the water everywhere.
Then we sat back to watch the seeds grow. It wasn’t long before we could see small seedlings. We had lettuce and sweet peas early on. Later we planted the other vegetables. The tomato plants now have many little green tomatoes on them. We have bell peppers, chili peppers and onions forming, but not yet big enough to pick. Ready to pick now are the zucchini and green beans. My grandson will eat the green beans right off the plants. Maybe this is one way to get kids to eat vegetables!
How fun it has been not only to produce the vegetables, but to watch the excitement of my grandson when we go to the garden and see what is happening each day. He has become an expert waterer, getting enough water on the plants but mostly on himself. Yet the fun we have exploring the various vegetable plants to see what we can pick is wonderful. My grandson is developing into a young gardener, not only learning to appreciate where vegetables come from and the need to care for them, but also learning to appreciate our time together and the wonderful taste of fresh food.
Last summer I pushed him to the garden in a stroller; this year he will either walk or ride his little trike with a small compartment on the back to bring home those vegetable that he hasn’t eaten yet.
This gardening experience is making memories, not only for me but for my grandson as well. Planting the seeds, seeing something emerge from the soil, then get bigger and turn into something delicious are memories that will last a lifetime. I am sure glad I have the opportunity to experience this with him and I know he is enjoying the experience with me.
You often hear today that money doesn’t go as far as it used to. This may be true, but let me share a grandmother’s story. On a sunny Saturday morning in early spring, a grandmother takes her two-year-old grandson for a walk across the park to the neighborhood coffee house where they purchase the usual medium decaf coffee and one blueberry muffin costing three dollars. Coffee is for Grammy and the blueberry muffin is for the grandson who quickly picks out all the visible blueberries and stuffs down a big bite of the muffin. Now that’s a pretty good value for the three dollars, yet if we backtrack to the beginning of our journey, those three dollars add up to so much more.
Consider the chubby cheeks of the two-year-old waking early in the morning and running to Grammy with a smile on his face. In his impish way, he says, “Coffee house, coffee house Grammy." Grammy knowingly says "Yes, we can go to the coffee house. Get dressed." As they get the red wagon out and everyone is set, off they go down the street and into the park. At this time of the year the park is exploding with color. The magnolia trees of pink and white are in full bloom, the yellow forsythias are spilling over with abundant flowers, and the jonquils and daffodils of various colors are spread throughout the lush green areas to brighten the day. Neighbors and strangers are walking, running or biking on the paths. Dogs, birds, and squirrels are everywhere. The park is full of life and the short 15 minutes it takes to walk across to the coffee house has instilled memories that will last a life time.
In today's society, where the value of the dollar has decreased, there are some things that have not been affected. Regardless of the buying power of the dollar, grandparents, parents and families can often get the most for their dollar by giving time. How precious time is, and to think that the only time that can be given is the present--not the past which is gone, nor the future which is to come. Give your time wisely and enjoy the little things. And yes, that three dollars can purchase a lot.
Try it sometime...