Our Rural Roots

May Flowers Bring Warm Reminders

(Tiffany Dowell Lashmet)

Flower power may be a phrase dedicated to the hippie era, but I witnessed the real thing in 2020.

Last year, as we found ourselves in the midst of the COVID lockdown, I scrambled to find ways to entertain two preschoolers while still doing my other full-time job.

Who would have thought that a rangeland plant identification book would turn out to be better than tickets to Disney World for my youngsters?

I quickly realized this book might allow us to learn about science and force us outside for some great exercise, and to help expend pent-up energy -- the all-important mom goal.

We spent hours walking around the pastures with our book in hand, finding all kinds of different forbs and grasses to identify. The kids took samples and collected flowering plants to put in a vase to decorate the house. They learned which plants were most palatable to cattle and deer. By the end of the summer, they could spot an antelope horn milkweed a mile away.

As the calendar turns, and we approach May once more, I find myself so grateful for the friend who gifted us that book and the lessons it offered. No, I don't just mean the different plants I can now identify on command, although I do enjoy my newfound expertise.

I'll forever treasure the joy of spending hours together uninterrupted by trips or meetings. There's nothing quite like seeing a child's face light up when they learn something new. The pride my kids have about our land and the understanding it belongs to them, too, rests easy on my heart.

Yes, we've endured some hard times in 2020, but there were beautiful times, too. May those May flowers serve as lifelong reminders of how simple things bloom when we are together.

**

-- Tiffany Dowell Lashmet balances ranching, children and a career in ag law from the Texas Panhandle. Follow her blog at alwaysafarmkid.com, on Instagram alwaysafarmkid and on Twitter @TiffDowell.

[PF_0521]