The Gift of Family and Garden

Put a family and garden together, and you can create a lifetime of wondrous memories–and some pretty good meals!

I’m fortunate to have a wonderful family and garden that I love. I especially appreciate how much my daughter loves spending time in the garden. She’s (almost) always willing to help with weeding or planting seeds. And she absolutely loves to harvest peas still cool from the overnight Spring air, and later, tomatoes warm from the mid-Summer sun. I can’t blame her. I enjoy it, too!

My hope is that one day these family and garden moments will be some of our shared memories of happy times together. They already hold a special place in my heart. And as I read more and more of the stories in GreenPrints (30 years of the magazine equals a LOT of stories!), I find that so many people do look back to those days in the garden with family members.

Such is the case in today’s story, Nest Robbers. Although for Gene Stark, the memories aren’t about peas or tomatoes, but about gathering provisions from “nests” in the garden. “I remember how I learned it from my dad. The grass was dripping with dew, and the quiet bubble of mid-Summer rested heavily upon the blooming alfalfa.”

Could you ask for a more beautiful opening than that? This might be one of the most beautiful stories about family and garden memories I’ve read. And there’s even a little plot twist at the end!

Thank You For Enjoying the Many Family and Garden Stories With Us

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn stories of healing gardens into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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The Nest Robbers

By Gene Stark

I remember how I learned it from my dad. The grass was dripping with dew, and the quiet bubble of mid-Summer rested heavily upon the blooming alfalfa.

My dad had found a white ceramic bowl with chipped edges in the cupboard. He said if we could fill the bowl, we’d have a meal for our family.

We walked to the edge of our garden and beneath green, moist foliage found the morning’s bounty. We worked from the outside edges of the nests, taking out some, careful not to disturb the others.

When the bowl was full, we took them to the outside spigot to wash them before giving them to Mom for cooking.

“These will be the best you’ve ever tasted,” Dad smiled.

“These are nice,” Mom commented as she took the bowl that my dad let me proudly carry inside, “and you have them so clean.”

They were boiled and served with butter, salt, and pepper. The taste reminded me of the very land I walked upon every day. They were white and the red skins so sweet. I was forever hooked on the sport of robbing new potatoes from their “nests” and enjoying them for dinner.

By Gene Stark of Glenwood, MN, published originally in 2023, in GreenPrints Issue #134. Illustrated by Russell Thornton

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What is your favorite gardening memory? I’d love to read about it in the comments!


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