Posts Tagged ‘backyard’

Camping in the Backyard

Monday, August 13th, 2012

camping-in-the-backyard

My husband and third son went camping in the backyard last weekend. It was my husband’s idea. He wanted to spend time one-on-one with each of our kids this summer. He is planning to go fishing with my second son, and he will be taking my oldest son to a robotics class for youth. He also plans to take my daughter to the local children’s museum. I love that my husband wants to spend time with our kids, and that he enjoys them.

It must have been fun for my son Nathaniel to lie down in a sleeping bag next to his dad’s sleeping bag, chatting as they fell asleep in the tent. There’s something about one-on-one time that makes a kid feel important, like he matters. It doesn’t even have to cost any money.

Old Deck/New Deck

Friday, August 13th, 2010

rotten-deckI am so amazed by God. Earlier this year my husband and I looked out onto our rotten deck and realized that it had to go. Ten years ago when we moved into our house, the inspector told us that we needed to replace the deck. For ten years we haven’t had the money. My husband kept wanting to smash it to pieces, but I knew that it would be a worse eyesore to have nothing. I was using that deck. I’m ashamed to say that I told him, “Just wait ’til someone falls through. Then we’ll replace it.” I was stalling for time. I didn’t want to go into debt for something that was optional.

old-deckWhen this spring came, I saw how awful it was. I had planned to teach a poetry class and film it outside, but alas! The deck looked so putrid that I had to cancel the class before I even announced it. It was dangerous. My husband started chopping the deck to pieces, and we burned it all in our fireplace little by little during the spring. It was nice to have firewood. The wood burned so quickly, I had to keep throwing on more wood just to keep the fire burning.

I had no idea how we were going to pay for the deck, but I thought that at least the hideous thing would be gone. At the worst, there would be a sheer drop off, and no one would be able to go out into the back yard to play.

new-deckA check suddenly arrived in the mail from a relative who had no idea we were replacing our deck. She just decided to give us what she called “early inheritance money.” I had prayed that God would somehow send us the money we needed for the deck, and God certainly answered that prayer. I felt all choked up and ready to cry from gratitude.

My husband designed the deck with benches and planters, in a style that I had never seen before. We hired a Christian handyman to go ahead and begin the work. The entire deck was built while my husband was on a missions trip to the Czech Republic. On the day my husband came back, before going to the airport to pick him up, I planted flowers that were on sale, since it was so late in the summer. It looked beautiful.

I sometimes go out there with a cup of coffee to read my Bible and pray in the morning. God gave me that deck. My husband worked hard to remove tnew-deck-2he old deck, and he was creative to design a deck that I absolutely love. My husband never ceases to amaze me, when I see more good qualities that I haven’t seen before. He would have built the deck himself, but for the lack of time and energy. Even though my husband is a computer programmer, he has done nearly all the renovations in our house himself. I just wish our house would stop falling apart so that my husband could get some rest!

Insect Trap

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

insect-trapMy children are starting insect collections of their own, and they’ve been running around with jars and butterfly nets, trying to catch insects. One of my sons decided to dig a hole and put an open plastic jar in it. He packed dirt around it, placing four rocks, and then a bridge of wood across it. He said he read about the insect trap in a book and wanted to try it out.

So far we haven’t caught any insects with it. But I don’t think he left it out long enough. After a few days, he wanted the jar for something else, since plastic jars are insect-trap-2in short supply. We have glass jars, but the children aren’t allowed to carry them around, since we’ve broken several glass jars over the years. The children can make insect habitats in the glass jars, making the jars into mini-terrariums for the insects they catch. When the insects eventually die, they are taken out and put into an insect collection.

My First Garden (at Boarding School)

Friday, May 21st, 2010

my-first-garden-at-boarding-school

My science teacher at boarding school was super cool. Besides having a live snake in his classroom, he gave each of us a plot of garden for our own, sectioned off by rope. During the first semester, we planted wheat. After it was ripe for harvest, we removed all the grains by hand, and we ground it and made flour. We baked bread out of it, and it was delicious, hot from the oven.

The second semester, we could plant whatever vegetables we wanted. That was when I grew to love the smell of the soil. (That is, before we were required to put old cow manure into it. It never smelled the same after that.) I made furrows the correct spacing apart, and I planted the seeds and covered them with soil. I ended up growing carrots, radishes, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, and peas.

Every day, I would run out to my garden, look at the progress of each tiny plant, and pull any weeds that were growing. When it was time to harvest the fastest-growing plants, we had a huge, absolutely enormous basket of radishes and carrots. The carrots were so sweet and huge, with beautiful green tops still attached. I felt like Bugs Bunny as I chomped away. I eventually got sick of burping radishes, and the rest of the radishes spoiled, even though we let everyone in our dorm eat as much as they wanted.

The harvest from the other vegetables was eaten by us little by little as it grew, so we never had any leftovers of those. I enjoyed opening the small gate and swinging it shut behind me. I would walk down the rows of plants, because I had left enough space to walk around each row. As I saw the vegetables growing, I would pluck them off like Peter Rabbit. What a clever way to get children to eat more vegetables!

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