Ever since I was a little girl gardening has been a big part of my life. The feel of the soil between my bare feet, and the smell of earth left on my body after a pleasing day spent working the garden with my grandparents; are some of the fondest memories my mind holds. I spent the majority of my youth with my Grandparents who would not have survived without their garden. It was their life’s work, the glue that held the family together. Their garden meant everything to me. It was more than an acre and supplied half the county with fresh vegetables all summer long. Not to mention the masses of canning my grandmother did that kept us with plenty of green beans and canned tomatoes all winter.
There was never a shortage of work to be done on the homestead; we grand kids were always with employment. If ever left unattended for more than a day or two the weeds could take over in a hurry! There was always something that needed picked, pulled or plucked. It’s no wonder I had callouses on my hands at a young age.
The work was never thrust upon us though, it was a joy to help them out and see how they in turn helped others. My grandparents always seemed to make the work magical and fun. I remember digging up potatoes and my Grandfather placing buckets at both ends of the rows, we would race to see who could fill their bucket up first. During the afternoons we would sit on the porch and listen to Grandma tell stories while snapping beans, before we knew it we would have half a bushel of beans snapped and ready to can.
The garden was a retreat a way to escape all life’s problems that could plague any youth. It taught me a great deal about life, many of those lessons I try to instill in my own children. The world was a lot simpler when looked through the eyes of that garden. It was routine and some days mundane, but the benefits from all the hard work and the reward you got when biting into something you helped grow, is simply unexplained.As much as the garden means to me, I think what appeals most about it is the time that was spent with my Grandparents. I find myself thinking more and more about them and coveting that time I spent with them in their garden. As they age I look at my own children who are growing up without grandparents like that and feel sad that I’m unable to give them the kind of childhood that I had. Even if they spend time with their grandparents they or their grandparents supply them with some sort of gadget to keep them occupied. I am forever grateful that my grandparents choose to teach me a skill that will stay with me forever. Don’t get me wrong I do try to teach my children the art of gardening; however, it just isn’t the same.