Tinker Ben

OK. Let me clarify. I am in no way comparing my dear husband to a tiny, little Disney fairy who wears a tiny, little green dress. Not at all. Who I am  comparing my dear husband to, however, is a tinkering old man who is absolutely caught up with his little backyard garden. Literally. The garden. Ben is all about it these days.

When we moved in last year, we knew there was a nice little spot for a garden in our backyard but between teaching and track and grad programs and small children who didn’t sleep, we didn’t exactly have the time or the energy to map out or attend to any sort of planting of said garden. We did have about a million little volunteer tomatoes (don’t ask me what kind – small is all I can tell you) come up. We ate none of them. We also had six or seven potatoes appear as well. We ate almost all of what they produced! But that was it. That was the extent of our garden. If anything, because we let the tomatoes just do their thing, probably the most of anything we grew last year was a habitat for snakes. Ewwwwwww. 

With this summer marking Harrison’s fourth birthday and all, we thought he might get a kick out of planting some seeds in our own backyard. Thanks to MOPS, I even had some bright red gardening gloves for him to use and some carrot seeds to plant in order to put this all in motion. It became quite clear, quite quickly, however, that the one who was going to get the greatest kick out of this little project was my husband.

I asked Ben to clear some space in the garden for said carrot seeds. He went out and bought lettuce and peas and beans and corn and sunflowers and zinnas to plant, too. That is, after he bought little green fence posts and rolls of green wire so he could fence off the whole garden to protect it from little critters (not to mention little Welschies). And a pitch fork or potato fork or whatever you call the pointy thing he’s been using to turn up soil in the garden, which is apparently his new most favoritist activity. Our neighbors kindly offered to let us borrow their tiller any time we pleased but oh, no. My farm boy, nicknamed Big Country in college, is taking the old fashioned approach. He’s out there all the time turning over the next spot he wants to plant (or, in the case of our attempted seed potatoes, spot that didn’t grow) or picking at the edges of the fence under which the grass is trying to sneak back to him. And if he’s not actually digging out there, he’s asking me about where or what he should dig or plant or water next. As if I know! I may be a farm girl and my mom may be an excellent gardner, but you can bet your life that I know nothin’ ’bout nothin’ when it comes to being a backyard farmer (or any kind of farmer, for that matter!).

Even though I tease and throw out the teeniest, occasional eye roll about the role of our garden these days (let’s face it – I’m focused on growing a baby, not lettuce), I too am getting a little kick out of it because I know Ben loves it. Since we’ve had kids, it has been next to impossible for him to find time to get back to his parents’ farm and drive the tractor or tinker around the way many farmers do. I know he misses all that and I appreciate the sacrifices he’s made to focus on us during the summers instead. So if playing in the dirt in our own backyard while the kids run around in the grass or wiggle the garden fence or “help” with their  own pint-sized tools gives Ben a taste of the farm, then OK. I’m happy to oblige. And, if anything else happens to fare better than the potatoes, well, then we’ll all be happy to enjoy the magic (ahem! being punny – still not calling him Tinker Bell) of some homegrown goodness.


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