Be Fruitful and Multiply

Lainey manages her strawberry harvest.

My daughter Lainey is 5 years old, and I love her. She considers herself quite the gardener and keeps a close eye on her strawberry patch.

Many berries have recently turned red, and Lainey capitalized. “Strawberries for sale! Who wants strawberries?” she yelled.

“How much?” I asked.

“Two pennies each. Pretty good price, huh?” she grinned.

until a saboteur arrived.

“What is this, Lainey?” I asked, inspecting the patch and finding a half-eaten strawberry. “Did you do this?”

“No,” Lainey said, and thought for a second. “!”

Lately rabbits have infested the neighborhood. We saw three of them chase each other across the neighbor’s driveway. One bunny likes to hang out under Lainey’s swingset — and he’s not shy. The cute little varmints hop around like they own the place.

“What are we going to do?” I asked. “You have to protect your strawberries!”

“A fence!” Lainey suggested.

We drove to and considered the options. Chicken wire was bundled in huge expensive rolls — overkill for a 3-foot-square garden. Another fence had lattice holes that a bunny would easily slip through. So we decided to buy the anti-bird netting; I drove back home and nearly opened its package.

“But what if the bunny gets his little feet caught in the net!” Lainey worried.

“No way,” I argued.

“Daddy, please don’t!” Lainey begged.

I sighed. “Then what do we do, Lainey?”

Lainey examined her patch again and counted the many strawberries.

“I could share my strawberries with the bunnies.” Lainey smiled.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

Lainey nodded. Then she picked three green berries off a stem and set them in the dirt.

“There,” she said. “Those three are for the bunnies.”

I suppose animals are better behaved in Lainey’s mind. Like when she set a carrot out for the , he had no problem accepting the offering. Or when she supplied dog food to or fish food to old , they feasted. I explained that wild rabbits played by their own rules, and .

“But there’s still , right?” Lainey nodded.

“Yes,” I agreed. “Plenty.”

What Lainey sometimes lacks in reason she makes up for in compassion. That’s one sweet crop of character that I just eat up.

niuxxs June 19, 2012 at 08:59 PM
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