our garden: putting in the prep work

I know I made the jokes about the fake farm on Friday, but I wouldn’t mind a mini farm. I could never be a true farmer. They are in a class of their own and I have so much respect for true farming. I’ll never be a farmer. Or a farmer’s wife. I wear cowboy boots, but I don’t own a horse…wish I did. I do have 3 boys that think dirt is the world’s greatest toy and two girls that really like strawberries (well one likes them in her smoothies anyway). So, we are getting our garden going again. The past few years our garden has suffered tremendously, but we are trying again. This weekend we started working on getting the beds and dirt ready. We still need to add more boards and extra stuff to the dirt, but it is a start.

Gardening takes time and work. And around here for the garden to actually grow anything it will require kids helping. Thankfully, they are pretty excited to get back into it. It helps having a sister and brother-in-law to call for tips. My sister is running a gardening series on her blog. You should check it out. They are smart garden people over there. We just try to copy and hope something actually grows.

Random Photo Tip: Can you see in the picture below how her pigtails are in focus and her face is blurry? I focused in the wrong spot and the aperture setting (f/2.8) I was using meant it had a very small area of the photo that would be in focus (depth of field). Bummer, that I did not get her face in that focus area. If you are shooting with a small depth of field, but sure to nail your focus area so you have eyes in focus and not pigtails!

Little One has grown to really like Poppy. Currently she only says two words: “Uh oh!” and “No!” I tell Poppy “NO!” a lot…now Little One will walk up even to a sleeping Poppy and say “No!” This girl has a long way to go in regards to speech and talking. She’s made so much progress and continues to surprise us and her therapist. Cute quiet stuff.

“Try to swing and kick me over.” ~ FireCracker to her big brother. Oh that girl.

There was a request on Instagram to see some new pictures of this guy. He is the strong, quiet type. The boy in the middle that in many ways holds the family together.

That last photo totally captures him to me. It is impossible not to smile back at him when he flashes that grin.

Happy Monday!

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  • seriously sassy mama - We are in the midst of starting our garden. My husband is actually pretty good at it. I will be making my own little herb garden. I am very excited. We are getting our backyard ready for some Spring/Summertime fun!

  • Sharon @ Discovering Blog - Oh, you are so lucky to be outside with short sleeves on, and getting your garden started! It was so frigid and bitter in NJ yesterday – I sent the kids out to play but everyone froze up quickly. I’m sure the kids love the promise of the garden.

  • Lori Winger - I’m so jealous of the short sleeves and bare feet! I’m in Ohio and yesterday morning it was 17 degrees. My garden is sleeping under a bed of frost so I’ll have to live vicariously through your wonderful pictures until it thaws out around here.

  • Melinda D. - I read your post and laughed- we do farm 🙂 I grew up on a big farm in one county and married a farmboy from the neighboring county. Anyway, at the very least, it looks like you guys have at least some countryside to look at and play in! We live in southern Kansas and enjoyed the beautiful weekend weather, too!

  • Jill - I don’t have much love for you at the moment! I am sitting at work in a blizzard warning while reading about you starting your garden and looking at your children in shorts. bah humbug.

  • Abby - I too have a raised bed garden, and like yours it has suffered in the last years. Gardens are soooo much work! My energy usually fizzles in July when it gets super hot. We are going to try again too–this is the year! (Hopefully!)

  • Caroline - Thank you Ashley for posting more pics of little brother!
    ps: I was the one who requested. 🙂
    he’s totally adorable, seeing him grow from a small boy to a big boy (from your blog) is just so awesome!
    I love the last picture the most!! 😀

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Love that she is coming so far! Praise God!

    And… thank you, thank you for the focus tip – that is one that I struggle with all the time!

  • kiley - We are so blessed to participate in a garden co-op through our church. Our pastor and his wife have a horse farm and lots of land so our church garden is at their farm. The gentleman that coordinates the garden is so knowledgeable. I’m constantly trying to soak up information from him even though I’ll never use much of it on our suburban shaded 1/3 acre at home. I find there is something so satisfying for myself and for teaching my children about growing our own food, the long term focus and goal setting, and the hard work and persistance it takes. And the reward…mmmm, so delicious!

    Hope your gardens fair well this season!!!

  • sarah k - I am inspired by your garden prep work! Ours has languished for a few years…I’d love to get it going again this year. It’s still much to cold for that here, though.

    Love the swing shots. I have so many blurry shots from attempting to capture them on their swings. 🙂 That last one is beautiful!

  • Ahsamon - Hi Ashley! Love that you guys are working on a garden, keep us posted 🙂
    Quick question…how do you get the kids in focus when taking their pictures on the swings? I recently took some photos of my little siblings on a swingset and only got a handful in focus out of maybe 30 shots. I had my camera set to autofocus and in the sports mode. Any tips? Thank you!

  • Miriam - I am relieved and pleased to see your third son as I was wondering why you did not post or photograph about him (but did not want to ask) as often as the others. He does have an infectious smile! =)

  • Ingrid - Oh my goodness, he is cute isn’t he – my little guy is the same with his grin, gets me every time 🙂

  • Kara - have you ever heard of back to eden gardening? we tried it last year and it works wonders! hardly any weeding or watering needs to be done 🙂 huge plus!
    Here’s the link if you’re interested, http://backtoedenfilm.com/

    love your blog!

  • Maelle - Those pictures are gorgeous! I actually love that the pigtails are in focus – although it means her cute face isn’t 🙂
    I just discovered your blog and I spent the weekend reading loaaaads of your posts, new and old – i just couldn’t help but read another one, and another one,… ha!
    You just have the cutest family ever, and a beautiful soul. 🙂


  • KIMBERLY4472 - LOVE that last photo! What a great angle. He reminds me so much of my second son. 🙂
    Hoping to take your next Snap Shot class so that I can get these kind of shots of my two handsome boys. 🙂

  • tracy a - wow, that boy of yours sure is handsome! that last photo is really great.

  • Andrea - Hi Ashley – love the pics, especially the last one! what camera settings did you use for that shot? thanks! 🙂

  • jules - So jealous of the short-sleeves and piggies hanging out beneath the pants! And… you’re already set to garden! I’ll live vicariously through you for a while longer.

  • Leah - Hi Ashley,have you ever heard of an AgroTower? It’s a product my dad makes for gardening, seems like something your kids would love! You can read more about it here: http://agrotower.com/

  • Seamingly Sarah - A few years back we went to raised boxes for gardening (our native clay soil was killing us) and I found the Square Foot Gardening method very effective. It gave me a general understanding of when to plant things and how to overlap to maximize our space. It’s worth a look at your library if they have it.

  • Karen - Thanks for today’s blog, you make me cry and you make me smile. You have a great way with words and pictures. I enjoy checking the blog in the morning with my first coffee for the day. Your journey over the last 6 months had been memorable. Looking forward to the next 6 months.