by Cindy Hester
This past weekend my family and I got together for our annual visit to the New Braunfels/Canyon Lake area. I have always enjoyed going places with my family. Everyone seems to relax and have fun away from the day to day duties and schedules. There are so many of us that there are always numerous activities to choose from, depending on age group and interest. However, one is not always exclusive of the other. My Mom still loves to pay putt putt golf, and my younger nephews have been known to enjoy educational trips to museums and rock gardens.
We can always be assured of two things during these trips - there is never a shortage of time spent reminiscing, or a shortage of time spent doubled over with laughter. I saw a sign at the old general store in Gruene that pretty much summed up much of the girls' experience. It said, "I laughed so hard that tears ran down my legs!" Okay, okay...too much information!
Somewhere along the way the subject of gardening came up. My brother-in-law, Frank, has been planting and harvesting a garden for several years now. My sister, Melody, is an outstanding cook and can whip those naturally delicious vegetables into the finest cuisine around. New potatoes, fresh green beans, squash, peas, tomatoes...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. My little brother, Andy, also grew a beautiful, plentiful garden in his back yard this past summer that provided many good, healthful meals for his family.
My brother-in-law, Frank, discing up his garden.
Gardening was always a big part of our lives growing up. Many summer mornings were spent picking peas, beans, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, digging potatoes, and harvesting corn. After all of the picking, digging, and harvesting, afternoons were spent under a big shade tree or on the front porch shelling peas, shucking corn, and snapping green beans. Evening chores turned to the blanching and canning process to preserve the fresh vegetables for freezing and storing.
Melody taking a break from pea shelling to give Mary a ride on her bike.
Momma's still shelling peas, and guess who's taking the picture?!
A pan full of Melody's good, fresh garden quash!
It was a lot of hard work, but my goodness how wonderful were the rewards of your labor. Nothing topped off a week at Gary Baptist Encampment like the anticipation of coming home to Momma's purple hull peas, cream style corn, hot, fresh cornbread, and garden fresh tomatoes. That was a little slice of heaven, especially after a week of camp food!
I can remember when I was a kid thinking that everyone grew gardens. It was just a natural part of our lives. Both sets of grandparents always had big gardens, and Momma and Daddy followed suit. I always loved the day Dad brought out the plow and hitched the horse up to it to begin tilling up the ground. It was a chore that often tested his resolve, mostly because every horse he owned seemed to test his patience when it came to plowing garden rows.
A picture I found online depicting the way Daddy plowed
a garden most of my younger years. He only used a single
horse to pull the plow.
To this day I love the smell of freshly tilled dirt. As a child I loved to run barefoot in the it as Momma followed along behind Daddy pulling roots and removing rocks preparing the soil for planting. I think we were supposed to be helping, but I seemed to get a little distracted back then...not much has changed! As much as I complained about what little work I was asked to do to help with the gardening, those were some of the best times ever as a family. The sense of accomplishment after harvesting, and cooking something you are responsible for planting and caring for is hard to match.
My little great-neice, Addison, playing in the garden dirt much
like her Mimi and I did when we were little girls.
Charlie and I have decided it is time for us to try our hand at gardening now that we have grandbabies to pass this balanced sense of self-reliance with ultimate Godly dependence down to. So a couple of Saturdays ago, we planted our first garden together. We must be pretty good at this gardening thing too, because it only took us about 20 minutes! Okay, so we decided to start with only two vegetables - tomatoes and green onions. The main reason is that both can be eaten raw, and I am still working on my cooking skills (and I don't yet own a cast iron skillet...)
So our methods may be a little different, and we may be moving slowly in the direction of a true garden, but hey, baby steps! Someday we will have a huge garden full of turnip greens, squash, potatoes, beans, and peas but until then, it's gardening yuppie style for us!
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." II Corinthians 9: 6