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Lately Ruthie has been a bit fussy. It wasn’t teeth, we did that a few weeks ago.She’s been eating well, so I ruled that out. IMG_1978 IMG_1983

I thought she was a bit frustrated with her scoot-but-can’t-crawl status. She’s starting to get into everything, but still seemed generally unhappy with her place on the floor, surrounded by various kitchen items to play with. I was puzzled.IMG_1987 IMG_1988

And then, one day Stewart grabbed his baby girl with one arm and carried out the shovel with the other. He had some digging to do and Ruthie was to join him. IMG_1994

When I went out to check on them 45 minutes later, there she was; smiling, kicking, and squealing like her usual self.  IMG_1995

She had dirt in her toes, dirt in her fingernails, dirt in the creases of her little rubber band wrists. She had dirt on her nose, dirt on her legs, and dirt in her diaper. IMG_1997-001

I had found Ruthie in her natural habitat. How had I forgotten , after no less than four children, that they are happiest in the dirt?

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We moved to Central Texas in the fall of 2011, on the heels of one of the worst droughts this state has ever seen. Coming from the Midwest, it was like being transported to another planet. Everything I thought I knew about gardening – like avoiding those spots in our old yard that were too wet – went out the window as we crossed from Kansas to Oklahoma and finally into Texas.

Since then we have scoured the internet and several of our favorite seed magazines for drought and heat tolerant crops. This summer we’ve received more rain and milder temperatures than the two previous summers, but I don’t expect that to be the case every summer. So, in order to create sustainable food production, we’re looking to plant things every year that can tolerate the conditions already existing in our area.

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Which is why we’ve grown blue speckled tepary beans every year now… and I’m impressed.

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