Our garden was massive, with rows that were 75 feet long. The sheer volume of produce we grew was our insurance that the raccoons, groundhogs, rabbits, deer, mice and bears would not eat it all. We also grew enough vegetables to barter with neighbouring farmers, sold some on the road side or simply gave our surplus to our generous family and friends.
I usually recruited the older children to pull vegetables for dinner every afternoon.
Of course the toddlers and preschoolers always jumped at the opportunity to tag along. It was an adventure to walk through our jungle of a vegetable garden because a tiny person could lose themselves among the tall plants and weeds . This transformed the daily ritual of picking vegetables into an exciting adventure.
Rain had poured down for days, soaking our heavy clay soil, so this particular day, everyone trooped out into the garden wearing rain or barn boots which were soon coated with sticky clumps of clay. As David struggled to pull out a huge carrot, his boots sank so deeply into the mud that he couldn’t lift his feet.
Everyone began giggling as Matthew struggled to extricate his younger brother. David was finally set free but left a boot behind.
Of course, as he stood on one foot, attempting to to free his boot, he fell, landing in the mud. Matt was laughing too hard to help again.
Of course, the next rescuer slipped and landed on their bottom with their feet straight out and their bodies coated in sticky clumps of clay.
It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what happened next. The result was a bunch of laughing kids, covered from head to toe with mud.
They startled me when they came to the door and even I had to laugh while I shook my head and tried to figure out what to do with all of them. Since it was hot enough, we started the clean-up outside. Ruined outer clothing was peeled off, feet and legs washed in a bucket of warm water and then kids ran inside one by one, to shower or bathe.
I did add, ” Remember, only one mud bath per year!”