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Use it Up, Wear it Out....

posted 8/21/2012 10:21:08 PM |
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Make it do or do without. That's the mentality I was raised with. Unless you outgrew something before you wore it out.. you wore it til it wasn't anything but dustrags. Make do was pretty much a way of life. Do it yourself was also one of the things we all did.

I remember the anticipation that started as soon as February hit.. it was almost time for SEED CATALOGS! That was better than the old Sears Christmas Catalog. Mom would spend days making lists and checking prices between one catalog and another. Us kids could pick out something special we wanted to grow. All those brightly colored pictures of amazing fruits, vegetables and flowers. I wanted to grow so many things. Mom did too. I think she had a hard time paring the order down to what we could actually afford to purchase. I'm quite sure we could have bankrupted ourselves if given free reign.

Mom had a huge garden. In fact, for as long as I can remember there was a garden somewhere. First at Grandma Temple's house down by the river. Then later at dad's house by the creek (until uncle Bob covered our yard in sewage!!) Later still when we moved up the hill to the Gulch. There was always a vegetable garden.

There's something so soothing and primal about working in the dirt. Digging, raking, hoeing...making the soil ready to accept our precious seeds.. then watering, weeding and harvesting. The life cycle. The smells and sights of a lush veggie patch. Grazing on food that was, truly, garden fresh. Sweet corn right off the stalk.. no cooking, just munch and let the delicious sweet milk run down your chin. Radishes with a real 'bite' to them. Peas right out of the shell. A sweet onion so sweet you didn't need to cook it..just munch it like an apple. Tiny baby potatoes creamed with baby peas. Sigh. To this day, it's my favorite way to eat. Grazing off the garden. If you've never tasted a tomato that was hot from the sun and still on the vine.. deep rich and red.. you've no idea what a tomato really tastes like. I can tell you it's nothing like what you get at the store.. even the 'vine ripened' ones you pay so much extra for.

We didn't really realize.. as kids that we were raised on organic food. Never thought about it. Fertilizer came from the Chicken Coop. Well water or pond water to make it grow. Never even thought about chemicals like that. We had chickens to get the bugs.. and they did a fine job. But there it is.. Organic local produce.. right at our fingertips.

I absolutely love shelling peas. I never got to string the string beans because I'm allergic to something in the leaves of the plant.. but I shucked a lot of corn and capped a lot of tomatoes and stuff. Radishes and Carrots we didn't pull the tops off of so they'd last longer.. (they didn't last all that long in the dirt as mom's rabbits didn't even need to wash them off.. just rub em on a pair of jeans and eat) and then came the preserving. That was Mom's domain.. I've still not gotten over my fear of canning. Something about the process scares the hell out of me... I'm great with freezer bags though!

There is a point to my ramble into obscurity though.. really there is.

Lately there has been a lot of people who are growing gardens instead of grass in their lawn. My apartment complex included. The sad thing is that there's been a lot of complaint by neighbors to government officials about the whole thing. That's sad. If they were good neighbors, they too would benefit from the bounty grown in their neighbor's yard.

With hard economic times pressuring all of our finances, it just makes sense to grow as much of your own food as you can. Seriously. Try affording organic produce?

I think it would be wonderful if neighbors would, instead of bitching, offer to water if the owners went out of town.. offer to help weed or even harvest. Or even just leave the person growing the garden alone. It's not hurting you in any way.

Gardening isn't really a hobby. It's something hard wired in some of us.. it's not just a want, it's a need. A primal need to till the soil and tend the garden. Leave us alone and we'll feed you. It'll be yummy. I promise.

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Aug 21 @ 10:29PM  
PS: For most of you, I fixed the commenting issue.

Aug 21 @ 11:04PM  
My aunt had a massive garden. It fed about ten people everyday. Everything tasted just the way nature intended it. I used to visit the farm for the full two month summer school break. I always dreaded coming back to the city...the food was bland and people looked weak and half starved. I always felt strong until the city life caught up to me. Ever notice the difference between city folk and country folk? Country folk always look healthy and strong in comparison.

Aug 21 @ 11:31PM  
Yes, yes I agree with you. Country people who eat mostly whole foods have a higher constitution and a better immune system too. That's why I survived 2 years of MRSA .. because I had a fab immune system.

Aug 21 @ 11:31PM  
I would love to grow my own garden here, but with the dogs, that isn't possible right now. But, on the subject, the neighbor that got himself bit by one of my beloved pooches....he has this awesome garden, and last week..he gave me some cucumbers from his garden!

Aug 22 @ 9:45AM  
Country folk always look healthy and strong in comparison.

Well... until you happen to live around 7th Day Adventists anyway! I lived near a community of them and I gotta tell ya, they looked very pale and unhealthy to me!

Of course I'm not totally aware of their nutritional habits but, I've read they're " lacto-ovo vegetarians (meaning they do not consume meat but do consume dairy products)." That's their basic beliefs but it isn't a mandatory diet but most do adhere to it!


Aug 22 @ 9:47AM  
he gave me some cucumbers

Cucumbers ehhh??? Hmmm....


Aug 22 @ 12:00PM  
Growing up my dad and I would have a huge vegtable garden on the side of the house. With carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, eggplant, and my favorite watermelon. I loved working in the soil. Now being here in florida we have lemons, bananas, oranges. Starting a veggie garden next fall. I miss working in the soil and getting dirty. Making plants grow and harvest.

Aug 22 @ 6:04PM  
I remember the seed catalogs...I hate not having a garden so much that I have tomatoes in with my indoor growing but next year I will have a garden now that I have the space to put one separate from my dogs.

Aug 22 @ 8:58PM  
Yes, yes I agree with you. Country people who eat mostly whole foods have a higher constitution and a better immune system too. That's why I survived 2 years of MRSA .. because I had a fab immune system.

Normally I don't comment on blogs, but being a full time farmer I had to laugh at this one. We have over 2000 acres of farmland. We grow corn, tomatos, beans, soy and rotate our acreage.

We're just hard working farmers. Yes we're country but my folks are just as susceptible to life's diseases as you city folks.

Aug 23 @ 9:01AM  
This post is right up my alley

I think she had a hard time paring the order down to what we could actually afford to purchase. I'm quite sure we could have bankrupted ourselves if given free reign.

Throughout February on into the first week in March is the time to buy seeds. Many places will deeply discount them as price leaders offering them at five to ten packages for a buck. The best buys are at Ace Hardware. The ones you have to watch out for that give you very little in the packages for the money are the ones from Dollar General.

Surprisingly the packages often have as much, sometimes more, product than the offerings being sold at regular price. Often these seeds are from a company that you never heard of that is a subsiderary of one the big well known seed companies. I have always gotten good performance out of them.

I could go on and on but will refrain. Though I have only worked less than 200 square feet of ground, I am still getting over ten pounds of vegies per day out of it. The large chest freezer is full of gallon bags of them. Underneath my bed are over 100 jars of stuff. There is an average of twelve quarts of something being canned every two days. That will increase as the green beans and lima beans are just now beginning to produce (they went in late because the spinach, lettuce and beets kept rolling on for weeks/months longer than planned for).

Everything has done wonderfully well. But eventually the heat made the ground temperature too hot for cool crops like onions and carrots so all of those have been harvested but the poatoes are still going strong.

We had July and August in April and May. Now it has cooled off and we are getting October in August. So I went and put in radishes, lettuce and broccoli. Except for the radishes the whole plant is edible so if winter comes early we will still get something to harvest from them.

Aug 24 @ 12:56PM  
I grew up in the sticks, eating only whole foods. We rarely bought anything at the grocery store. Only exotic things like olives and citrus fruits.

If I hadn't had that while growing up, I'd never have survived the disease that brought me down 5 years ago.

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Use it Up, Wear it Out....