My grandfather was once amused to hear how much I loved gardening and how I wanted a farm. I’m (pathetically) not very knowledgeable about my grandparents and their history/childhoods, as many young’uns are. I knew, though, that every year my grandparents had a large garden they tended. When I discussed how I wanted to grow all these different veggies, he laughed and joked about how he never understood why anyone would grow potatoes when you could go to the store and buy them so cheaply. Ever the logical man, Grandpa felt that the amount of work involved in growing them and, subsequently, digging them out of the ground wasn’t worth the effort when you could buy a big bag for a few bucks.
At the funeral last month I heard something I didn’t know before. My grandfather wrote a bit of a biography (which I really can’t wait to read if it ever makes its way to me), and in it he talked about how he worked as a farm hand during the Great Depression. His parents were farmers, and he used that experience to get a job elsewhere when there was work available. He made a whopping $7/week and was given room and board and, in exchange, worked a lot of the hard labor that comes with running a farm. When he came back from the Air Force and married my grandmother, the two of them bought a 25 acre farm because, as he quoted, “you can take the boy off the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.”
I often feel like I don’t really have anything in common with my own family, but this story resonated with me significantly. Farming is, clearly, in my blood. What I originally thought was just a Great Depression hangover – just something my grandparents did because it was what you did to make sure you survived – was far more than I realized. It was like I had this sudden connection with my family that I didn’t understand before.
These last two years my garden has been an afterthought. I feel as though I’ve somewhat lost my passion since becoming a mom and I’ve just been floating in survival mode these last 2 seasons. I have a lot on my plate right now, no doubt (much of which I don’t even talk about here), but it’s time to stop making excuses and start getting this garden thing back together. If you’ve been hanging around these last two years, thanks for sticking around with me and putting up with me. :) I can’t promise it’ll be like the old days – people change and all of that – but let’s aim for more gardening from this wannabe homesteader, yes?