Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Year of Living Frugally-If Only I Had a Garden

I come from a large family. My parents raised five children. My mother had the ability to stretch a dollar until it begged for mercy. I think I inherited some of that, although in my eyes, she will always be the master of frugality. We were lucky enough to have a large garden when I was growing up. A good solid acre devoted to raising vegetables. We also had choke cherry trees, and elderberry bushes. Late summer saw us spending many hot days in my mothers kitchen, canning tomatoes and green beans and pickles, jams and jellies. My dad had built a wall of shelves in our basement, that held hundreds of jars of our home canned goods. It wasn't until I moved away from home, that I ever bought a can of tomatoes, or a bag of frozen vegetables. I don't think anything on a store shelf can can compare to the vegetables we grew in our own garden and canned and froze ourselves. I am a little sad that I have not followed my parents example of living off the land, as much as possible. Green beans, plucked straight from the vine, and snapped with your own fingers have a taste that you can't duplicate.

I know that the main reason they gardened was to feed their family cheaply. For the cost of a few packets of seeds, they kept us fed all year long. But they taught us more than frugality, by growing things themselves. I learned a lot in that garden. That food planted and tended and harvested with your own hands tastes better. That weeding a vegetable patch can be meditative. That you can take pride in a pumpkin, or a squash, or a gigantic tomato. I learned that hard work, and patience pays off in bountiful ways.

 At the moment, we are living in an apartment-as part of our year of living frugally. I can not wait until we have a house and a garden of our own. I doubt that I will ever grow a garden as big as my parents, but I hope that the people I feed, with anything grown from my future garden know, the way that I knew, that the food was grown infused with love, and I hope it nourishes their souls, the way that my parents garden food nourished mine.

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