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The best kindof childhood involves LOTS of dirt…

It really does.
“Dirt don’t hurt.”  Actually, children need dirt to grow.
That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

As I have talked about before, we love volunteering out at Shalom Farmsa local farm that grows/donates all the food they grow to the hungry here in Richmond -healthy, real food.
That is some kind of God’s work right there.

The Monday after Daryl was laid off we decided to spend the next Monday giving back to the community, being thankful and reminded that we are still very lucky.
We happen to be very good friends with the Miles family.  Steve is the farm manager and has been our friend since…well if I told you how long then you would know I am kind of getting old.  His wife, Mandy, and I have a long standing tradition of meeting out there with the kids every chance we get.
She is one of my favorite friends and the kids all enjoy each other so much.
I have loved watching them all growing up out there running free.
Seems like just the other day I was out there taking pics of little Asher…

who is no longer so little….

and adorable!

And then there is Eden.  Eden is hilarious.  He is this little piece of the farm that just keeps it all real.
Over the Summer, the Nuns on the bus came for a visit.  Afterwards one of the nun’s actually wrote a little bit about him.
She summed up Eden perfectly…
“It is a remarkable program (Shalom Farms) and it was a great ‘last stop’ for our tour. Steven Miles is the farm manager and his 3 and 1-year old boys, Eden and Asher, welcomed us warmly and played happily in the fruit rows of the organic farm. 

I walked with the 3-year-old into the blackberry row. At one point, Eden looked at the plant and cautiously surveyed the branch to find a ripe berry. He picked a berry and without hesitation, he turned to me, held out his open hand and offered the berry to me. It was sweet.

Amazingly, the youngster did not take the first taste of the fruit of his labor. Nor did he try to fill his own belly or pockets in order to save some for a later date. No, Eden was generous and he trusted that there would be enough for all of us. 

Growing up here had taught the 3-year-old to respect the gift of earth, to recognize the fruits of life, and to generously own his responsibility to share his resources with his neighbor. And Jesus said,”Be like the little child.” Amen.”

Turns out I have had that same walk many a day with little Mr. Eden…I know exactly the gifts he shares with all who come to visit.

and now he is even bigger…and still helping “manage” the farm right beside his daddy.

Driving tractors is hard work, you know.

So we get there on that lovely Monday and of course Lucas falls asleep in the car 5 mintues down the road.
We decided to leave him in the van and just open the door and listen for him….

It wasn’t long before he had a very sweet farm friend….

When he woke up though he saw Eden’s abandoned tractor (the battery was dying and therefore going far to slow for Eden)

He is secretly pondering how to talk his Grandpa into getting one of these things for him one day…look at that face!

He was all like…”Look ma! This is one sweet ride!”

But he promptly went on enjoying the dirt with his buds…
I always wonder what they are talking about to each other.

Asher was a pro at carrot picking…

Lucas…not so much;-)

and he kind of decided he doesn’t like dirt on his hands…

I was all like “You know son, if you would walk you wouldn’t have such problems.”
To which he gave it a shot…

And yeah, that didn’t work for him either.
He couldn’t keep up with Asher so he went to his next “go to”-
Adam.

Did I mention Steve’s very own Pièce de résistance…
The new hoop house.  It is magnificent.

Before we split, I told Mandy she had to get in a picture with the boys….because she is like me and always the one taking them.

 I am afraid Asher was worn out at this point…oh the joy of motherhood and babes who need their nap.
A dilema as old as time.

It was a wonderful day….full of very happy veggies…

and lots of good healthy food to keep the masses fed…

If you would like to learn more about Shalom Farms and how you can help them continue to do amazing things be sure to check out the video that Daryl, Doug and I put together a few months ago for them.

They are always looking for help on the farm…don’t want to get dirty?
They are always in need of donations to keep them up and running!

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