Help in the Garden

I made it through math lessons with four children. The oldest received a stern lecture from me about the fact that it is really not okay to take out his geometry frustrations on me.  I’m not sure it helped.

I felt completely wiped out by 2 p.m. and really wanted to go to bed.  Instead, I forced myself out the door and on a walk with the whole family.  We saw our first toad this spring, and Beatrix happily spent a few minutes of her afternoon with it.

Energized by the walk, as I had hoped would happen, I planted 25 strawberry plants, my first real gardening of the season.  50 to go, not to mention the 50 lbs of seed potatoes I bought last week.  The girls gathered around me in the garden and we discussed the proper way to plant a strawberry plant.  They noticed the “cord” hanging from each little plant and I explained that we were planting baby strawberries that used to be connected to their mommies by those cords.  Beatrix proudly showed one to Keats and told him that it was the strawberry plant’s umbilical cord.  He responded with a, “Nuh-uh.”

Jonny has almost finished fencing the garden to keep the chickens out, but today we threw together a makeshift way to contain a few of the girls in one bed at a time  so they can help clean things up for us.  Jonny is going to build something better soon, but in the meantime, this will do.  There’s a lot of work to do out there and we need all the help we can get.


  1. Your blog is always such an inspiration to me whether it’s knitting, gardening, reading, parenting! I have to tell myself “WAIT, slow down, her kids are a little older than yours, there is a season for everything!” whenever I read here (I have a 3 yo, 2 yo, and am due in 4 weeks). I have been letting our chickens out in our garden plot too but have nothing put in yet! Your flock of hens is beautiful; I will be poking into your archives to see if you say anywhere what breeds you have!

    • Yes, don’t forget that! My older kids are a big help, and life looks much different for me now than it did five years ago. There are new challenges as they get older, but I am definitely able to do a bit more now than I could when everyone needed ME for everything.
      Our current flock of chickens include rhode island reds, columbian rock crosses, ameraucanas, and silver laced wyandottes. We are wishing we had rotated them through the garden beds all winter!

  2. We want to use our chickens to prepare our garden, too. Just haven’t gotten around to it quite yet!

  3. I love using the chickens in the garden. They make it so much easier, make the soil so much healthier and save us a lot of time! Plus they love, and making them happy makes them lay more!

    Happy weekend,
    Sarah x

  4. I wish I could be there to help.

  5. The packaging for the strawberry plants looks so interesting, Ginny…and thoughtful. Are they from a local nursery?

  6. Heh. My Calli completely lost her marbles over geometry today. We powered through and then sacrificed the History of India in favor of the kids going outside, away from me. They got some sun, I read. Much better 🙂

  7. Sometimes the best thing to do, when things aren’t going the way we hoped and tempers are fraying, is to get outside. I really need to remind myself of this sometimes! I’m hoping the snow is now (finally) gone here so I can do similar (although we did plant a few potatoes in a container a little while ago).

  8. Sounds like a very busy time for you keep strong x

  9. Gahhh I want chickens so bad! I love when you post pictures of them. But then, I love when you post pictures of everything!

    I hated geometry. You are brave for teaching it!

    Strawberry umbilical cords!! How dare Keats disagree with that awesome statement 🙂

  10. geometry frustrates me too, but promise not to take it out on you. 😉

    your photos are so lovely. it’s such a break from (my) reality in Chicago. Looks like the sun in shining your way! here’s hoping that it comes our way! 🙂

  11. I love the idea of using the chickens to help with the gardening!! I might have to suggest this idea to my mum.

  12. I’ve totally stolen your afternoon walk idea. It’s such a bright spot in my day – thank you for the inspiration.

    Your photos are always so good and interesting. I love the one of your cat and shoes. And of course, I’m always fond of chickens and children. 🙂

    Happy gardening!

  13. whew! so glad you all were able to get outside! that is such a blessing! Hang in there – spring and gardens and children do mean lots of work – but we never work alone! God is with us! will light a candle for you today! 🙂 🙂

  14. Yep, sometimes just math and I’m on overload . . . one subject can be a full day . . . and more. Loving the gardening plans!

  15. We are sharing our bedroom (the room with the best window, and the easiest room to close off so the cat won’t eat the plants) with a growing collection of newly started seeds.

    And today…we’re going outside to plant peas. As soon as I find something in the attic that can reasonably be used as a trellis. That will be our first outdoor gardening for the year. I’m super excited! xo

  16. This reminds me of the years I raised chickens. I still miss them and get such a happy feeling when I happen to see someone’s personal flock of backyard chickens.

  17. Lark is so cute. As is that story about Bea!

  18. Still waiting for it to stop snowing here, but I love the pictures with sun on everyone’s blogs lately. Do strawberries produce berries in their first year?

I love to hear from you!