Saturday, July 10, 2010

What Makes It All Worthwhile

Growing up,we never had a garden. I was never taught how to sew,can food,knit,or cook. I would help mix the cake batter out of the box,but that was it. My mom grew up on a farm-she had chickens,rabbits,a big garden. I believe they had a cow,and some pigs. My Memere would can food,make their clothes,and sell eggs and veggies,though I don't believe that she ever taught my Mom how to make clothes.My mom grew up during the Depression,and later,during World War II,lived through rationing and they had a victory garden. My Dad's family was very poor,and he had to quit school at 14 to help support the family by going to work. I am not sure if they had an area for a garden or not. They had a large family,and the Depression was very hard on them.

I mentioned this,because we were discussing this very topic at the Gardeners' Roundtable that I am a part of. Basic survival skills have fallen to the wayside,they have not been handed down. Modern conveniences have taken over. Why can when you can buy canned goods at the store? Why grow a garden when you can buy produce? Why sew your own clothes when you can go to the mall? Why have chickens when you can buy eggs at the market?

Depression People like my Mom saw modern conveniences and were ecstatic. Life was now easier!!! Time was saved!!! One didn't have to work so hard anymore,especially when one had to work in a shoe shop for 8 hours a day. They saw how hard their families had to work in the past,and if they didn't have to do it,well,that was a good thing. Their children wouldn't have to live as they did. Their lives would be better and not so hard. We all want a better life for our children,don't we? We want their lives to be easier. That is a noble goal. However,people have gone overboard and buy everything for their children.Now children feel entitled and don't appreciate anything. When Zach was in fourth grade,some of his classmates had cell phones! I couldn't believe it! He asked me when he could get a cell phone. "You can have a pay as go cell phone when you are 16,have a job,and are driving a car.Right now,if you are sick in school,they have phones to contact me. If you are at a Scouting event that I am not at,the leaders all have phones. If you are at a friends house and need to get a hold of me,they have phones.Children do not need cell phones." He thought about this for a minute,and said," You're right,Mama. It doesn't make sense for me to have one."

The problem is,once modern technology took over, basic human survival skills seem to have been lost somewhere. People have become fully dependent on the oil companies,supermarket chains,and Walmarts of this country to provide. The movement towards being more self reliant has taken hold,however,and more and more people are realizing that some of these conveniences are not all they are cracked up to be. My fresh lettuce takes 100 x better than that in the supermarket,because I go out and pick it when I need it. It isn't picked,then shipped hundreds perhaps thousands of miles to the supermarket,where it sits until it finally goes bad. For a while,the cukes I was buying at Market Basket were coming from Mexico. They never lasted very long. The last batch was from the USA,but still,they didn't last very long. I am now finally getting my own cukes from my garden. What a difference!!! I also don't use pesticides,etc,and my veggies don't have that lovely wax film over them,either.

Our whole reason for dipping our toes into the self reliance pool is because...well...we WANT to,not because we HAVE to. It's not because we think it's the End of Days,or some major catastrophe is heading our way. (Though it is good to be prepared,of course!) It's because we want to do for ourselves as much as we can,with what we have.

We are now starting to reap the benefit of all our hard work in the garden. Building the boxes,sifting the compost,starting the seeds,planting,watering....we are enjoying fresh veggies that WE GREW. There is a sense of accomplishment and pride when I go and see what we have done,though it is small,it's a start. We will be expanding our garden next year.

This in it's self makes it worthwhile,but the biggest sense of pride and happiness I have felt so far was yesterday.Zach asked for a tuna fish sandwich,and while I was making it with fresh onion from the garden,he came up to me and asked if he could have fresh lettuce on his sandwich! My child has never asked for lettuce on his sandwich,ever. Now he wanted it because it "tastes good." That is what really makes it all worthwhile!