Between the months of April and October, at least one of my four children (usually all of them) has dirt under their nails. I'm sure it drives their piano teacher absolutely crazy, but I've learned to embrace the grubbiness.
They love digging in the dirt and they come by it honestly.
My husband and his siblings spent their childhood helping in their mom's infamous garden and vegetable patch. From the time they were able to pull a weed, they were doing just that. Bike riding and video games didn't happen until their daily work in the garden was done.
Sure, there were complaints and dramatic sighs, but a respect for the fruits of the earth was firmly planted.
Luckily, my children are now well on their way to inheriting the same gift.
Each spring, we begin the process of planting our backyard vegetable garden. We might live in the suburbs, but we still have everything we need: dirt, sunshine, water, and little green thumbs.
We then spend the summer months watering, weeding, and eating whatever we're able to grow.
Our first stop is the garden centre to choose dirt, manure, seeds, and plants. You can make organic selections and some herbs and vegetables are easier to start as plants (versus seeds).
Next, we draw out the design (which veggies will grow next to which herbs) and make little signs to stick in the dirt. Kids can really put their creativity to use. Mine like to create a map of our garden and have a lot of fun designing the signs.
Finally, we start digging and planting. Individual, kid-sized trowels and watering cans make this part a lot of fun.
During that time, we make memories and learn important lessons: hard work pays off, a little dirt is good for you, and time spent together is worth its weight in weeds.