Yesterday was one of those days that make Mary and I realize just how lucky we are to get to do what we do.
We had the pleasure and honor of presenting the key note speech at the Licking County Master Gardeners Spring Conference.
The theme of the day was brilliantly titled “Backyards Matter” – and as we walked out of the conference at the end of the day, we both felt so fortunate to have been part of such an important topic – and felt compelled to write about it for our Sunday Farm Update.
All of our backyards really do matter – and in reality – so do all of the front yards, patios, community gardens and outdoor spaces across the globe.
Unfortunately – in today’s hectic, time-consuming, “plugged-in” world of constant texts, emails, phone calls, busy schedules and more – many lose sight that there is an amazing life to live and experience right outside their back door.
And one that if you give yourself and your family time to experience, can not only energize and renew your spirit – but feed your body and soul as well.
I am so very thankful that growing up, we were fortunate to have both sets of our parents expose us to the wonders of our own backyards. Whether it was time spent in the garden planting, harvesting, or yes, even the dreaded chore of weeding – we learned valuable life skills from our parents while breathing in the fresh air of the great outdoors.
The list can go on and on – mowing, raking leaves, planting trees or helping in the flowerbeds – our parents taught us both the beauty of nature and the value of a little hard work and sweat. They taught us how to grow our own food – and more importantly – that it was okay to get our hands dirty.
Yes – like all kids with those memories, I think we can both be honest and admit that at the time we might not have appreciated our mandatory participation in the chores assigned – but I can tell you that they laid the groundwork for what we love today.
We both laugh thinking back how our parents would “throw us” out of the house if we ever stayed inside too long – not wanting us to become lazy – or maybe it was that we were simply annoying them. 🙂
In today’s sanitized and super clean world – sometimes people forget how healthy it is to get dirty and put your hands into the soft, sweet smelling earth. To dig up a little soil and experience the incredible miracle of placing a seed into the ground – only to watch it grow to provide food for the family a few weeks or months later.
So that brings me back to yesterday. We are so fortunate to get the opportunity to speak more and more about our little farm and garden – and as so often is the case – we always leave the events feeling like we learn way more from those attending than we could ever give back.
It was amazing to spend time with so many of the attendees after speaking – and then hearing and learning their stories. There was also an incredible list of great speakers at the conference – and all of them left us with something to remember as well.
But I have to say, I was most moved when Nature Photographer and Speaker Daniel Caron uttered one simple sentence during his presentation – “When you are outside, you are never alone.”
That really stuck with us – because it is so simple and yet so powerful. When you step outside, you are around thousands of creatures no matter where you live. Whether it be birds, bees, spiders, ants, bats, deer or thousands of other insects and species – you are never alone. Something as simple as a walk among all of those creatures can make even the bluest of days feel bright again.
So we leave you with this thought today : Make this the year you get outside to plant something! Maybe it’s just a few seeds here or there, perhaps it is a tree, a few hanging baskets or maybe a potted plant or two. But whatever you do, make it point to get your hands a little dirty.
And while you are at it – let your kids and their friends experience it too!
Because if we as a generation don’t pass on the skills, memories and passions that our parents passed on to us –who will?
A big THANK YOU again to all of the wonderful volunteers and organizers from the Licking County Master Gardeners. We so enjoyed speaking and are so thankful for folks like you who inspire us and others – and keep the passion alive for gardening!
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary