This summer our family is raising pumpkins. We got going due to the hard work and the kindness of the Harris boys. They gave us some pumpkin "starts" and we were off to the races. Actually, I'd better back up.
The first thing that we did was prepare the ground. I used my little John Deere 790 and we rototilled the ground and prepared it for planting. (Real farmers laugh at my little John Deere, but it's pretty handy)
Next we made sure that we had our irrigation system working. Check.
Then we planted our pumpkin starts and began caring for them. Taneil, the kids and I water them by hand two or three times per day. After some discussion, we decided to continue watering the plants by hand for as long as we could. The discussion went like this, "would you rather weed or water?" It was quickly decided that minimizing weeding was a top priority.
It's been a few weeks and I've enjoyed hearing Jhett and Reichert talk to their little plants as they water them. "You can do it little guy." "Here's a little drink for you."
It's a beautiful thing.
Watching the plants perk up after you give them water has been interesting. So many little observations that I can learn from. Here are just a few so far.
1) Sometimes it's better to do what it takes to minimize weeds-
Life is hard enough as it is. Our choices determine if we will make it harder than it needs to be. Removing weeds to me represents saying we are sorry or repenting of something that we have done wrong. We've discovered that it is better to just nourish the plant and to not encourage weeds. I'm trying to do this in my personal life as well.
2) All good things come from consistent and thoughtful work-
As good as our pumpkins are doing, if we ignore them or don't notice when they have problems, we will not be pleased with the ultimate outcome. Whether it is our physical, mental, relational or spiritual health, if we don't pay attention or give enough time to those areas we won't be pleased with who we become. I'm working on this as well.
3) We're not raising pumpkins, we're raising kids-
This experience has given me at least 10 minutes each morning and evening to work with my kids, talk to them, laugh with them and just enjoy being outside with them. As insignificant as 10 minutes seems, it's not! It's important to me and someday they will look back and they will probably agree that it was good for them too.
Go grow something!
P.S.- I'm writing a book called, "The Farm Whisperer." In this book I share some common sense approaches that farmers should take to preserve their family relationships and perpetuate their farm operations. It's not out yet, but if you'd like to be notified when it is available just drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and put Farm Whisperer in the subject line.