The Grandkids arrived several days ago from Dublin, with laptop, toys, and parents in tow. The kids are thoroughly immersed in the modern technological world. They know downloads, streaming video, Minecraft, Scratch, and Poisson Rouge. They keep me up to date as to what’s going on with the younger set.

On their second day with us the kids wanted to help me put in some pole-type shell beans that I’d ordered from Seed Savers Exchange.

Before we started the planting we carried plastic watering cans from one of the rain barrels to wet the soil. Although the kids couldn’t carry a full watering can (Mira is almost five, Max is almost seven) they each managed with a half-full one. When Mira couldn’t carry her’s all the way she grabbed it by the spout and dragged it to the garden. They’re both pretty strong, and bright, too (we’re talking Grandkids here).

Mira plants Hidatsa beans this side up.

I strung a line where the trellis’ will go and we set out with one kid on one side of the string and one on the other. I loosened the soil and dug two parallel trenches on each side of the string. The kids dropped the beans in the trenches. Each kid used a stick with a two-inch mark on it to determine spacing between the beans. The planting would have gone faster except Mira insisted that the Hidatsa beans be positioned with their decorative side facing up.

I was quite surprised that they persevered as long as they did. It occurred to me that the same instinct that draws me to the earth must also draw them. After a couple of hours, I asked Mira if she was getting tired of it. She said she was, but when I suggested she could quit she refused because we still had more beans to plant.

Without too much fighting between them we got quite a few beans planted before they became interested in something on the other side of the garage.

What was it that had distracted them? I went around the garage to find the kids, barefoot and shouting and laughing, climbing up and down and running around on a 5-foot mountain of garden soil piled on the driveway. They reminded me of my own grubby childhood.

For the kid in you, a mountain of dirt trumps the evenness of the garden every time.