Digging For Fun And Information


13190145-illustration-of-gardening-gnomesYesterday was a beautiful day here in South Western Ontario. The sun was shining,a slight breeze was blowing, and the humidity was at a comfortable level. It was a great day to go outside and stretch out on a chaise lounge.But before that I had the opportunity to have a little visit with my nephew, Jacob. He wanted to see all the animals and so we went for a short walk to see the chickens, and feed them left over spaghetti noodles—just a few, because even though they may seem like worms to the hens, who run around hysterically with them hanging from their mouths, trying to evade their greedy sisters, white flour pasta isn’t any healthier for them to consume in quantity than it is for us. Then it was off to check out the rabbit hutch, which Jacob now calls “the bunny’s home”. The rate at which children expand their vocabulary astounds me. He pointed to the tree as he told us that a birdie lives there, and then he looked up at the clouds in the sky and proceeded to tell us that that’s where the bird was going to fly to— “up at da sky!”. Off to see the ducks, and then a flood of questions as he asked what each and every item was that he spotted hanging from hooks on the walls or lining the shelves in the garden shed. That’s  where the ducks have their temporary home in a plywood nursery box. This is their second box in ten days and it is a much larger one because they are growing at such a fast rate. Jacob enjoyed the ducks for a moment or two but he had seen them the week before and today he was on a mission to expand his vocabulary as fast as we could answer him. “What’s dat?”

“A grass seeder.Uncle Rolly uses it to plant grass. The seed goes in—”

“Whats dat?”

“A weed eater. It’s for—”

”What’s dat?”

“A hoe. It’s—”


“And that’s a croquet set, and a box of screws, and a bag of feed, and a bag of top soil, and a tomato cage, and a watering can, and a—”

”What’s dat?”


“Oh! dare’s Uncle Rolly’s shubble! Daddy has a shubble! Can I dada daddum dadadum (undecipherable as yet) Uncle Rolly’s shubble?” Jacob is definitely his father’s son. He loves to dig, which is something that his dad, Joe, told us was one of his own favourite activities as a child. Apparently his family’s back yard got to looking like a whole family of gophers lived there, because digging was what he played at most of the time. It makes me wonder if the tendency to love doing certain things gets passed on. Joe is a hard-working electrician, not a farmer or a professional landscaper, or someone who would have done a lot of digging since Jacob began observing. Yet, somehow he is emulating the actions of the boy his daddy once was.

A few months ago, in the early spring, Jacob discovered while out on a walk with us, the big wide heavy grain shovel that his Great Uncle Rolly had been using for something or other earlier that day. He had left it leaning against the fence, and when Jacob found it he tried with all of his might to manhandle it into a position that would allow him to dig into the sod with it, even though he had just turned two years old a few days earlier.Then he dragged it toward the last remaining pile of snow and tried to shovel some of it up. He wailed when he had to leave the shovel behind when it was time to leave. He was so heart-broken that his mother just had to stop on the way home at a Dollar store and buy him a small pretend snow shovel of his own.

Three weeks ago Jacob wandered into the enclosed picket fence garden space not far from our back deck. When I called for him to come out he answered “No, dadadadadum.” and couldn’t be persuaded to exit. I decided it wasn’t anything I needed to be concerned about so I sat on the deck looking in the direction of the garden gate.”He’ll come out when he’s good and ready.” I thought. “Who knows why he wants to be in there?” All at once I saw a shovel handle rise up over the top of the picket fence and go down again, then  up and down, and up and down some more. Apparently he had found his Holy Grail—a shorter handled spade that he could actually lift up and make an attempt at digging with. It just made me laugh out loud and hurry over to see just what he was up to on the other side of the fence. He had actually made the beginnings of a small hole. And in short order too!

Well, Daddy and Mummy, you better be thinking of putting some money aside now for the initial set up costs for your boy to begin his own small landscaping business while he’s still in school. If he loves it this much he may be able to build up a nice little nest egg in time for whatever university or college he chooses to attend one day. He certainly has what it takes to succeed in life already if you ask me. He is a little boy who already thinks work is fun!

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