This is one of my favorite times of the year. Days last a little longer and we appreciate every extra little bit of sunlight we can soak up. We patiently wait out the cold, anticipating the time when we start preparing to plant the garden.

Our family has been working on a small homestead for the past several years and we are continuously learning new things. Honestly, I doubt we will ever stop learning because things constantly change, and there is so much to learn in hopes of being better prepared for the next year.

This year, I’m especially enjoying seeing my grandson, Parker, run across the field to meet his papa and I, seeking to lend a hand. It’s one of the best feelings ever, but it’s an even better one knowing that we are not only making wonderful memories with our family, but that we are teaching them things that will benefit them for lifetimes to come. 

This year little Parker has gotten his own little tractor with a wagon. His little booted feet hop on after he puts his egg basket in the back, and then he takes off shouting “Bak, Bak.”

And as much as he loves digging in the dirt and plowing on the tractor with papa, he loves his chickens even more. Even though he’s only two, he has already figured out exactly where his farm fresh eggs come from and how important hens are to our homestead. He loves making sure they get a daily treat along with lots of love – and some chasing too, of course.

He is also learning to be patient, discovering that first you prepare, then you plant, and next you watch your garden grow. Only after long and patient waiting does the harvest come.

I am pretty sure Parker is just as excited as I am to begin harvesting. We have already had a taste of it by picking fresh strawberries and lettuce for our salads. Watching his little face light up when he sees new growth is so sweet.

In this modern world, we see children stuck in front of a TV with their heads getting filled with useless knowledge. I challenge parents to be different. While it may seem so much easier to occupy their time and keep them quiet with technology, I challenge you to take them outside. Let them learn, plant, and watch something grow. Find a mud puddle and let them jump in it and laugh until their belly hurts.

Life is short, and making the very best out of each day is so important, as is teaching your children things that will help them as they grow older and have families of their own. So give them a shovel and a wagon and watch them grow!

Ashley Carter is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Elmore County, where she and her husband run Farm to Table Living and Carter Farms. She is the author of "Unexplainable: Inspirational Stories of God's Love in the Most Unique Ways." Ashley serves as Controller and Executive Assistant at 1819 News. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

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