Once upon a time, just the other day, there lived a family of five just down the street. Some days Momma stayed home, and some days Daddy stayed home. Every day Ava Anne, Savannah Lynn, and Hunter Thomas stayed home. Nothing extravagant ever seemed to happen. In fact, every day seemed almost the same as the day before. When Ava Anne, Savannah Lynn and Hunter Thomas awoke, they would tiptoe out of their bedrooms, down the hall, and to the kitchen. Momma or Daddy would be there or on the nearby couch, reading or eating or doing something uninteresting like sorting mail.
On this particular day, Momma and Daddy were both awake first. They tiptoed down the hall so as not to wake Ava Anne, Savannah Lynn, or Hunter Thomas. After full mugs of hot coffee and crunchy toast with butter and strawberry jam Momma slipped on her garden clogs and Daddy pulled on his brown leather cowboy boots.
The spring-time sun was shining just above the trees, birds were singing, and the grass was still wet with dew. Today was the day to plant the gardens. Momma cared for the gardens in the front of the house. They were mostly flower gardens with a few strawberry and rhubarb plants, too.
Daddy mostly cared for the gardens behind the house. Every year he planted a variety of vegetables. He also tended to several fruit trees around the yard. Today he had bags of seeds, fertilizer, and small flower plants.
Inside the house, Ava Anne had heard Momma and Daddy getting ready. She rubbed her eyes and rolled over to see if Savannah Lynn was awake.
“Savannah Lynn, wake up.” Ava Anne waited for Savannah Lynn’s response. “Savannah Lynn, let’s go out to the gardens with Momma and Daddy. They’re planting today.”
Savannah Lynn rubbed her sleepy eyes and yawned. “Ok.”
They quickly dressed in old jeans and shirts they could get dirty. Ava Anne pulled on rain boots and Savannah Lynn pulled on cowgirl boots. After eating toast with butter and jam they, too, went out to the gardens.
Savannah Lynn found Momma in the front. Momma was planting several flats of Zinnias in the soft, tilled soil.
“These will be pink and orange and red and yellow,” Momma told Savannah Lynn. “They will be tall and beautiful. Will you help me plant them?’
Savannah Lynn watched how Momma dug a hole with a small, handheld shovel and placed a single plant in the hole. Then she covered up the hole with dirt. Then she knelt down in the dirt and began planting.
In the vegetable garden, Daddy was showing Ava Anne how to plant seeds for corn. He had already dug five shallow trenches. He showed Ava Anne how far apart to drop each seed. As Ava Anne dropped the seeds Daddy followed behind her with a hoe to cover the seeds with dirt.
When they finished the corn rows Daddy said, “How about some pole beans? First, I need to pound these steaks in the ground. Then, we’ll attach some wire for the beans to grow on.”
Ava Anne always thought of eating juicy steak when Daddy talked about the steaks, or poles, he used in the garden. She giggled.
“What’s so funny?” Daddy asked.
“When you said ‘steaks’ I thought of eating venison steaks,” Ava Anne said.
Daddy grinned. “You sure are a funny one.”
Ava Anne looked at the flats of flower plants and searched for worms while Daddy pounded the steaks into the ground and strung up the wire. In no time, it seemed, the pole beans were in the ground and Daddy and Ava Anne were planting tomatoes. Ava Anne only liked garden-fresh, sun-warmed tomatoes.
By ten o’clock Daddy and Ava Anne had planted half of their huge vegetable garden. Momma and Savannah Lynn had planted all of the Zinnias and were weeding another small flower garden.
“How about a snack?” Momma asked as she and Savannah Lynn walked up to the vegetable garden.
“Yeah!” Ava Anne said. “I’m hungry!”
Daddy stood up with a trickle of sweat on his face. “I could go for something cold to drink.”
Momma looked around. “Looks like you two have gotten a lot done,” she said.
“We have,” Daddy said, “But we still have half the garden to go. Did you get the flowers planted?”
“We planted lots of flowers,” Savannah Lynn replied.
“We planted all the Zinnias and pulled some weeds, but we still have some flowers to plant in the side garden,” Momma said.
“Alright, let’s get a snack so we can get back to work,” Daddy said.
“Let’s go!” Savannah Lynn yelled as she grabbed Ava Anne’s hand and ran toward the house.
Momma and Daddy smiled. They loved spring-time gardening with their girls.