one of my very favorite things about doing documentary sessions is that i get to witness the way other people live their lives. i get to observe some startling similarities to my own life and all of the universal truths about parenthood and young children and just being a person trying to make it through the day, but i also get to see people doing amazing things that i could only ever dream of accomplishing.
this family, for example, decided a few years ago that they wanted to try growing a fig tree in their backyard, and since then, they have turned their entire yard into this incredible homestead with fruit trees, vegetables, berry bushes, herbs, and more flowers than I could ever learn the names of.
it was amazing to me to see how they gave a purpose to every bit of space available to them, making use of the sunlight and the shade, and cleverly fitting in plants, trees, and bushes in spots that most people would deem unusable.
the best part of it all, though, was seeing how their entire family tends to the garden together. the kids led me around the entire house, showing me the sections they planted on their own, naming their favorite herbs, and teaching me how to harvest the flowers and berries that were ready for picking. They ate foods right off the plant that my own children wouldn’t look twice at even if they were dipped in chocolate, and over and over again i found myself wishing we lived next door so that they could share some of their incredible knowledge (and maybe a little of their harvest!) with us.
as i followed them throughout the evening, i was in awe of the subtle flow of their routine. while mom and dad moved from section to section of the garden harvesting, weeding, pruning, and tending, the kids wove their way in and out of the work. they would pick, eat, explore, play, run, laugh, pick more, eat more, ask a question or two, help out a bit, run off for a little while, and then return. back and forth, from the garden to the swing set to the patio to the flower beds as the light from the setting sun drenched the tops of their heads and their shadows lengthened.
even amid the normal chaos of raising two young children, there was a peace that settled across their garden as they poured their time and love into it. they have worked together to create this space that provides a unique sort of life to their family that goes beyond food and dried herbs made into teas and tinctures- it is time spent together, a way to learn about and connect with the world that sustains us, and an appreciation for the value of hard work and commitment.
this homestead of theirs, this life that they have built, the family they are raising- it is a beautiful thing that was inspiring to witness and a privilege to document. happy homesteading :)