In terms of the excitement generated among the tiny people, there is exactly one day of the year that can rival birthdays, Easter, and Christmas — the first day of the CSA pickup season. For those who don’t know what a CSA is, it’s an acronym for “community-supported agriculture,” and the link goes to the CSA in which we are shareholders.
“Farm box” season means that we make a weekly trip out to a local family farm to pick up our share of the farm’s produce for that week. As it happens, the family that owns said farm is absolutely huge, warm, and welcoming. While Mr. Snead’s children are all grown, he makes it a point to maintain a play area for children visiting the farm. As he puts it, he wants the kids to fel happy when they think about where their food comes from. There are swings, a playhouse, a sandbox — oh, just look at the gallery. I can’t describe it all. You can also check out the videos from last fall on our family YouTube channel. As I mentioned to the friend with whom we share our share, one of the absolute best perks of homeschooling is that, during CSA season, all of our lessons can be done en route to, at, or on the way home from Snead’s Farm.
What I can tell you is that the kids started cheering as soon as they saw the Christmas trees that mark the start of the farm, and kept cheering and chattering excitedly all the way down the long, winding drive, past the house, and while I fished the little stroller out of the back of the van. Yesterday was a rite of passage for Mr. Man, of sorts; it was the first time he was permitted to walk around, holding one of his sisters’ hands, instead of traveling to the playhouse in the big double stroller.
It was a beautiful, glorious, sunny day; there were birds and butterflies of all sorts flitting about, and the occasional lazy bumblebee investigating the riotous little patches of flowers with which the farm’s grounds are adorned. I found myself wishing I had brought the diaper bag so we could have prolonged our stay, but in the absence of beverages and sunscreen, it seemed advisable to pick up our box and head for home after about forty-five minutes, when the tiny people were medium-rare in appearance. There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, which abated only when I advised them of the insane quantity of strawberries tucked into our farm box. Only Baby Guy remained unimpressed. He was quite vocally distraught that he would not be allowed to consume any additional sand or sticks.
Dinner tonight was delicious.
The tribe was still excited when Daddy arrived home from work. You’ll be able to tell that from the gallery, too. We had a mellow storytime after they had burned off the last of their energy using him as a trampoline and a pony.
Days like yesterday, when I’m able to spend time with the tribe enjoying the vastness and bounty of the Lord’s Creation, recharge my soul. I was exhausted last night, but was nearly singing the parable of the sower and the seed in my head. When I can show the tribe what stewardship looks like, when we can celebrate the day the Lord has made, we are sowing wheat in our souls. On the days when the weeds threaten to take over, we have those moments, those memories, to recall and reflect upon the joy we felt when we bit into those first spring strawberries, the gratitude we had for the kindness of a family who made room for children to play, the awe in our eyes as we looked up at the boundless May sky from the sand and dirt.
I was also reminded of the book of Ruth, which calls us to industry and charity, and reminds us that even when it appears we have nothing, the Lord provides, often through the hands of His faithful. We’ll be reading the story tomorrow, and, perhaps, painting pictures of the beautiful farm fields we saw yesterday.
If you’re curious about the title of the post, this may help. I mentioned to another blogger that many of my post titles are pop culture references of some sort, mostly from the 1980s and earlier. We can find Jesus wherever we find joy!
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the day of clear weather for our first visit to the farm this year, and for the joyful noise Your blessings made in their excitement at being able to see how You made the earth to bring forth life. It is fitting that we celebrate the beginning of the spring harvest in the same month we celebrate Your mother, Mary, who bore the greatest fruit man or woman has ever known. Please fill me with the wisdom I will need to teach Your blessings to see Your hand in all of Your creation, and help me recall, while we are standing in the farmer’s fields, Your love letters that refer to agriculture, so I may share them joyfully. We would teach Your blessings to be good stewards of the land and all its bounty, Lord, so that the lands may be fruitful for as long as we are here, and that whatever blessings Your land yields should be shared with those who You have blessed differently.
Lord, please bless the farmers and the farms, and all those who labor to bring forth good fruit. Please enrich the soil of our hearts, minds, and souls with Your wisdom and grace, that what we produce may multiply Your harvest.