The days they don’t come any better than this. A day in good company, with a gentle sun and all at peace in your world, where all things go your way – even the little things. That would be today, and for such a day I am very thankful. I rose to a brilliant sun just breaking the horizon and the still calm of a sleepy, peaceful Saturday morning. The fire crackled in the wood stove just enough to take the morning chill away while the dog made his morning rounds of the property. I enjoyed a cup of yogurt (Hormone free of course.) and shared a few words with the Lord, just as I do most mornings.
There is little I enjoy more in life than spending a day in the garden with my wife of nearly 33 years. Though we have traveled to numerous places both in and outside the country, those trips have only served to prove that its the simple things in life that bring the greatest joy. Today I thinned dead canes from the raspberries while the honey bees watched. The berry plants will soon be in bloom and apparently they can’t wait because the bees were all around. I also pruned some fruit trees while my wife prepared a bed for this year’s crop of dry beans.
She has cabbage that is a foot tall already – this in the cold central oregon high desert. We have been eating spinach and lettuce she planted inside our cold frame, for well over a month now. Last years carrots are now gone so a new crop is on the way as are potatoes, beans, onions, garlic, peas and much more.
She made the comment that this work can be hard and as I clipped the next few berry canes it got me to thinking. Someday, if I live long enough, I likely wont be able to do this kind of thing anymore. As I near the age of 61 I have noticed it gets slightly more difficult each year. Who would have thunk it? But you know what? That thought made the day even more enjoyable. I became that much more appreciative of the things I can do now and my enjoyment of these simple pleasures soared.
It’s the return on the work of your own hands that makes this hobby so rewarding. Yesterday I was down at the local organic food store arranging a purchase of our truly magnificent organic rhubarb. In a kind way the woman said that if I was going to be a supplier for her that I also needed to shop there and she would give me a discount for doing so. While I honestly appreciated her offer I think she was a little taken back when I told her we don’t buy much produce because we grow most of what we need, even through the winter. (There are ways to keep carrots fresh in the ground, potatoes and even greens like spinach, not to mention canning.)
So after making a run to the dump to drop off our “yard debris” as they like to call it, I got to thinking how the simple act of gardening is foreign to so many people. Did you know that in Switzerland a number of communities have gardens instead of “yards” and coordinate what they are growing with one another so they can trade instead of each individual trying to grow everything they need for themselves? I like the concept and I bet they each know their neighbors a whole lot better than we do in most American communities.
Americans have taken their food supply for granted for a long time. It’s kind of sad. There is a lot of practical knowledge and understanding of the world we live in when you grow a portion of your own food. Now the government, in concert with Monsanto, is feeding us frankenfood and no one seems to care. The reason for growing GMO corn and soy is so the growers can spray it with tons of chemicals that kill pests but don’t harm the plants. I wonder where the environmental groups are and what the pay off was for them to remain silent.
Recently the U.S. was pressuring the nations of europe to license all seed. Meaning it would be a crime if you used your own seed instead of the government approved seed. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that my own sons might never know the joy of growing some or much of their own food and that the simple joys of gardening will be relegated to the dust bin of history. I hope our nation wakes up before we get there.
It was these thoughts and more that made today so enjoyable. The exercise is good for me, I’m doing it with my best friend in life and I’m doing something that will produce the best food I can eat, the tastiest food I can eat and reward me for my labor like few jobs can. I encourage all of you to take the first steps toward growing some of your own food. Learn about what is being done to our food supply so you can understand why it’s important to get involved.
As much as I would like to be self-sufficient, I’m not going to do it on my one acre. But I certainly can be less dependent while enjoying some of the best food on the planet. It is my hope each of you will take a stand against the government’s GMO frankenfood and begin to grow at least a little bit of what you eat.