the rituals of digging and weekending

We turned soil, marveled at worms and threw seeds into the earth last weekend.

It took eight hours but our laundry did indeed dry on the line!

The sun's warmth necessitated the removal of coats and hats and then a bruised cloud required reapplication of clothing. At one point we stood in a brilliant spotlight of sun while it hailed.


Nothing connects me more to other people, other animals and the bigness of life more than digging around outside. Everything is easy and simple. Alice flirts with the hens and my kids play for hours, interacting, learning, helping, laughing.

Margot announced that she wanted to wear her gardening tutu. I told her to fetch it as I wasn't sure which one that was. Well. The gardening tutu must be worn with lighter pink polka dot tights, cowgirl boots and a sparkly purse. For the sake of the garden.
"Wow, this is hard work," as she negotiated her satin purse strap while digging a weed.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

I feel so accomplished with the audible rip of a dandelion root. I lose my breath when I turn a shovel-full of soil and count 12 worms. I feel so aligned, like my body was made to do this. I dream about being a farmer.

The biggest worm I have ever seen, when stretched out he was like 10 inches long and he moved fast like a snake. Crazy, hopped-up worm.

I am reading a book right now that stresses about the importance of ritual. I get it. Creating ceremony, set to the rhythm of the seasons, grounds me and makes me feel a part of something bigger.

Late night chicken chores.

Ritual also connects me with my kids as they too feel part of something bigger. Margot keeps shouting It must be spring mama! followed by a qualifier like because I see worms! or because the snow is only way up high on the mountains! or because I don't always have to wear a coat!


In this week's mama digs, I reflect on our wacky, loud weekend mornings. It is a simple post that is perfectly this moment. Click to read mama digs: rise and shine.

:: :: ::

all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com


Adriana Iris said...

good dirt makes your worms fat ;)
At least I would like to think.
I need a gardening tutu.

Sian said...

I totally agree about rituals. The older I get the more I enjoy the changing seasons and the effect it has on my garden. I'm a beginner for sure but the satisfaction I get from digging, sowing and watering is large. Also I really enjoyed your description of your weekend mornings. I sounds so similar to our weekend with our 2 boys. x

Melina said...

Hi Nici!
It must be spring over here because: it's raining! but the tulips are out! It must be spring because the weather is wacky and planning your outfit is impossible. Yesterday: 60 degrees and sunny. Today: 40 degrees and rain. And so it goes.

I too am a firm believer in ritual. I may or may not go a little nuts during Christmas. Ritual brings contentment to my every day as well: coffee as I write in the morning, a beer as I finish the last edits of the day.

I cannot wait till I can have a garden. Until that day, I dry my laundry outside for something pretty to look at.


Michele said...

Every day with my girls reminds me that I need to create more rituals. It's so satisfying to see them remember how to do things a certain way and get excited about doing something together. Whether it be gardening or painting or cooking.

By the way, where did you get that dress/tutu for Margot? My daughter Jocelyn insists on a tutu at all times (over pajamas or jeans...it doesn't matter). She would love love love that!

Marti said...

That first picture is epic.

Hot Hot JJ said...

Did you not get the major snow on Saturday morning? We woke up to ten inches in Salt Lake City! I was so excited to garden that day, even had plans to go buy perennials for my 30th birthday present but couldn't do to the snow. At least Sunday was gardening weather. And today too. I'm actually reading and commenting on your blog in the garden.

Also, I told the mailman on Thursday that hearing a dandelions root snap was better than getting a really good zit. He looked at me like I had gone crazy.

Becky V said...

After living in apartments for three years and being on bedrest with my second baby girl last summer this is the first spring I've been able to really roll my sleeves up and make something of our yard. We've sprouted seeds, made countless trips to our local nursery, dug, turned, and pulled. Our gardens are finally taking shape and I agree, it's the best. Especially with little ones to share it with.

Coffee Mama A-J :) said...

I have always been terrified to plant things. I have always let myself off the hook with "I am not responsible enough because I inevitably kill every indoor house plant." or "My sister has the green thumb in our family." But this year I put all that aside, with some inspiration from you, and literally dug my heals in. It is so cool to see things sprout from seed and even purchased plants grow bigger and stronger day by day. It is turning a new page in my life and freeing me from fears. I love it. There can be two gardners, growers or the earth, in one family. :)

booksNyarn said...

I was clearing twigs from the back yard only to discover garlic growing! It doesn't even look the same as what was in the garden beds, but I was shocked and amused to find those curling greens standing tall above the grass. Spring is here!

Jennifer said...

via mamalode.com:

Ahhhhh….thanks for taking me down memory lane. I miss those days. savor, mama, savor!

Alie said...

via mamalode.com:

I love this. So real. Thanks, Nici!

Taisa said...

via mamalode.com:

I am now going to require a hat first thing in the morning! (and maybe three breakfasts too!) Love this sweet little story!! =)

Kim said...

via mamalode.com:

I love this little glimpse into your morning life. It reminds me very much of my mornings as a child. The six armed embrace was my favorite part too!

Grace said...

via mamalode.com:

On more than one occasion Josh and I have referred to getting up first and letting the other “grab a few” as “the nicest thing we do for each other.” The morning after a gig, there’s not really any negotiation–Josh just gets up– and it’s still the nicest thing he could possibly do.

Melissa said...

via mamalode.com:

I can so relate to this. But if I can’t get back to sleep when Leeor gets up, I am all defensive about my time in bed, “I mean, I wasn’t asleep or anything,” just in case I have lost points in martyrdom (:

Michele said...

via mamalode.com:

My mom was just visiting and remarked at how loud my girls are. But they can’t help themselves. They scream with excitement when they see each other in the morning, when they get their first snack, when they find the toy they thought they lost the day before, when they see Daddy coming down the hall. There are the other screams sometimes as well, but when it’s combined with laughter, it’s the best way to greet a morning.

Whitney said...

Love the weekend of laundry on the line and digging in the dirt. It is a ritual in the making...
beautiful photos.

Lisa said...

Oh my goodness, you had to be cracking up at what Margot was doing with the purse and shovel! I started laughin out loud when I saw the purse strap in her mouth! So funny!! Great post! Great pics!
Thanks for sharing!

seamusmom said...

Margot's choice of gardening attire is simply fabulous! That is a girl who knows what she wants and is going places in life!

Heidi said...

holy worm! you had me at that worm. amazing as always.
oh, and i will be checking out that book!

Fragment 54 said...

I'm sure you are busy but I have a question for you (love the blog by the way, I've been following it since my first was born last April). Am I correct that your girls share a room? How do you get them to sleep? We are negotiating a new family situation here with a little niece and a lovely sister/aunt coming to live with us. So we have to have the 3 year old and year old bunk together. I'm sure they'll be fine...but would love pointers on this!

Donna said...

oh I hear you! We are building a big tall fence to keep the deer out of our garden and living up in the south hills, there are nothing but rocks. I realized that I love digging big holes and working to get a rock out of it's home under the soil. Such a sense of accomplishment! I might quite my day job and dig fence holes!

kyndale_pease said...

Can I please learn how to write like you? I always get such a warm fuzzy feeling every time. ♥

Kelly Cach said...

I think I take after Margot. I realized, while weeding, that I was wearing silky ruffles and shiny flats; although she dressed with purpose. I was just lazy :) I didn't want to stop my momentum....just one more weed. It's addicting in a very satisfying way!

Finally in my yard in Idaho,

Kelle said...

ha ha. How about that morning when Andy got up with FOUR kids while we prayed he'd never come to wake us up? I love that piece. Mornings is one of those things I would just love to see in everyone's home. They're all different. I'm an early bird--love getting up, but Brett could sleep 'til noon. And I love your earthworm. Ours look different here. Funny.

TRB Holt said...

I think worms are so cool...I went to a 119, (YES 1-1-9!) town-wide garage sale last weekend, it was a rainy mess of a time and I only made it to about 12 before I gave up...BUT at one of them there was this little boy picking up HUGE earth worms from his rain drenched driveway. I stopped to chat with him and asked him what is was going to do with the 50+ he had trapped in a small cooler? He just shrugged, I cringed & proceeded to tell them how great they are for our earth & told him after a rainy day when I find them on my driveway; I wait until it stops raining, pick them up and put them back in my yard or garden, (I really do do this too!). He looked at me with a big smile, I smiled back so happy I planted this thought in his head! Then he said, “I think I’ll go fishing”. I cringed again.

EVERYONE needs a gardening tutu!

Judybusy said...

I just love reading about how excited everyone is for spring. It has been craptastic here in MN--no ten inches of snow, but stubbornly in the 40s, often rainy. Still, the garden grows, and this week it will now be sunny and 60. Seedlings and dahlia tubers are growing inside. I better get carrots, radishes and spinach planted in the next couple days!

Melinda said...

When it hasn't been raining/snowing we too have been out digging in the garden. I love churning up a huge spot of dirt for the kids to explore while I sneak in a row of carrot seeds :) Then we collect the flowers off dandelions, throw stones in the storm drain and drink smoothies only running inside to use the potty (even then my son would prefer to go outside). Loving the start of spring here in Missoula (finally)!

Colleen said...

Amazing how a little bit of garden dirt is good for the soul.

Just starting to get my first baby tomatoes. Every day about 3 times a day my little girl asks to go "check" on them. Love that.

Peeper said...

I love it that Ruby has multiple breakfasts! Ada has milk when she wakes and then later she issues a "toast tax" to her father. There is usually a little more grazing before her "real" breakfast! So thankful to have a good eater :-)

The earthworm reminds me of growing up in Ohio...

Kelly said...

I feel the same way about gardening. I think I need a tutu. :)

Baby By The Sea said...

Wow hot mama in the twirly dress. You look awesome. And it only took ten years to go from crowded bar/crowed concert to open space on a hill, married to the man of your dreams with two insanely awesome kids.
Is Sam putting on the pounds? Cutie kitty. Slinky just turned eleven.
Love the entry way make over. We'll let you know when you need to make room for five more coats.

Catherine Forest said...

via mamalode.com:

Oh, how I love to listen to my family from my warm covers! You said it so beautifully, Nici, as always!

Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen said...

via mamalode.com:

That sounds fantastic.

Joanna said...

via mamalode.com:

Man, I love mornings too! Even if I’m oh-so-tired. Kids look all wild haired and bright eyed, and are usually in such an exuberant mood! It cracks me up. It’s definitely my favorite time of day. Unless coffee isn’t available, then I feel really lost.

trbholt said...

via mamalode.com:

You painted the perfect picture.

When I am at your house I lay snuggled in your comfy downstairs bed room, listening to 5 pound Olive’s forty pound stomp and waiting…..for either Margot to come get me, (if she is not already sleeping with me!), Alice to nudge the door open and jump up on the bed or Andy making coffee…which ever comes first I am ready!

ps….sorry I did not post first….I hit the floor running at 6am…and out the door at eight

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

via mamalode.com:

This is MY life!

Morgan said...

via mamalode.com:

This reminds me that I should be much more grateful for the majority of mornings when my husband lets me sleep in. My favorite moment is when I call to my son and he runs into the bedroom and asks, “Mommy, do you want to snuggle?” Of course I do!

Aysha said...

via mamalode.com:

You are a brilliant writer. Love reading your weekly column and your blog. This sounds very much like our weekend mornings

Jenn Furber said...

via mamalode.com:

I’m so with you, peeling back the covers to reveal such love, such pre-afternoon activity. You’ve painted it so well, so similar. Except, around here it’s honey, not peanut butter.

Katie said...

via mamalode.com:

Love it! This is exactly my life on the weekends, too.

Yuliya said...

via mamalode.com:

Just so lovely. We’re not at this stage quite yet but I can’t wait until we are!

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