altThe abundant April showers brought beautiful May flowers to our farm.

Recently my family asked me how I wanted to spend Mother’s Day. It’s a rarity for me to be the one person to decide how we are going to spend a day – especially a Sunday.

Between the time we have spent watching our children play ball and dance, I had not had any time to dedicate to getting spring flower beds and our vegetable garden prepared. There it was, a perfect opportunity to recruit five more sets of hands to prepare for spring planting – Mother’s Day in the garden!

I’m certain my four children were less than thrilled to pick up rocks and spend all day digging in the dirt, but they were rallied by my husband and complied. We started out that morning with everyone’s favorite – biscuits and gravy with bacon. Everyone was fully fueled to tackle the task ahead of us.

I had to make a quick trip to Fayetteville to make sure I had all the seeds, plants and supplies we would need to complete the task. My husband and children prepared our garden beds by tilling and picking up the ever-growing rock piles. The compost pile my husband had been saving was ready to cover each raised bed. I was able to salvage some newspaper mulch I had collected from friends last year to cover each area to prevent weeds.

We divided up sections of our raised bed garden and everyone was responsible for planting something – beans, sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and a few herbs. Everything was carefully tucked into the soil and mulched. It was so satisfying watching all the people I love work together to create our summer vegetable garden.

I was able to get the potting soil changed out around our house planters and plant new annuals to color the landscape of our home. We pulled weeds, picked up rocks and fertilized with lots of tender loving care. The kids really got into digging holes and planting plants and flowers.

Just one week later after some healthy rain and a whole lot of sunshine, many of our seeds have sprouted and the garden is well on its way to being in high production by July. I had to be out of town for a weekend and my oldest child made sure the flowers and garden had plenty of water. So far, the dogs have ignored it and things look like they’ll survive.

I’m not a big fan of expensive gifts or big surprises when it comes to any holiday. What made this year’s Mother’s Day so special was watching our family work together to do something I love – plant and grow things. Whether it’s bottle calves or kids – I love seeing growth. I’ve poured myself into being a mother for more than 13 years now. My family is my joy and watching my children learn and grow into hardworking people was a Mother’s Day blessing, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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