Vince and I grew up with such different lifestyles. As you know because I talk about it often and I love my heritage and I’m sure Vince loves his. My grandparents lived on 80 acres two hours north of where we lived. Almost every year they would raise a pig or two for meat. They had chickens for eggs as well as for butchering. I remember my grandma going out, catching one, wringing it’s neck, cleaning it and we were having chicken for dinner. They had a huge garden and she spent her summers canning. I spent as much time in the summers there as my parents would allow. My mom was a teacher and almost every Friday, Dad would get home early and have everything ready so as soon as we got home, we’d head north to Sabine Parish and spend the weekend there. My grandma was expecting us and had a big dinner almost ready. It was like clockwork. We had to cross a ferry to get from our little town to the main highway and on a Friday afternoon, there was sometimes a long wait for that little 6 car ferry ride. The bridge over the west fork of the Calcasieu River was built and replaced the ferry in 1968. I’m so glad I never had to drive across that ferry! We had to go very near an Army base and every now and then we would get stopped by a convoy. My grandma knew if we were a few minutes late arriving, it was either the wait at the ferry or a convoy. There was a back way we could go to get to my grandparents. It was a bit longer and the roads weren’t as good. I can remember several times we’d get to the ferry and the line would we very long . . maybe with a wait over an hour so Dad would turn around and go the back way.
My dad always had a garden in our back yard. He’s 90 and only in the past couple of years did he stop planting a garden. Same with my uncle.
I wonder, if I had not fallen in love with that old homestead, what my life would be like today. Would I be trying to convince Vince that I need more garden space? Would have a stove in the basement for canning? Would I be checking realtor.com every day looking for reasonable priced land so we can maybe move out into the country?
Vince didn’t have anyone in his life who was a gardener. He has zero interest in the garden. He will do the things I can’t do if I ask him (build the raised beds, built a trellis for the climbing plants, etc.) but he has absolutely no interest in planting, pulling weeds, watering. I drag him outside when the tomatoes start blooming, or the first loofah appears or to show him the bazillion jalapeno peppers on one plant. I no longer mention the sweet potatoes! 🙂
It makes me happy to see Chad having raised beds at his house. It seems like the past few springs Chad has been out of town working on storm damage but Nicole has faithfully planted and tended to the garden. She wants to learn to can. That makes me happy. Chad is also on the lookout for land. He wants to live out of the city worse than I do I think.
It’s this time of year, as the garden is ending, the canning is slowing down that I remember my grandma telling me “slower days” were coming. She worked so hard . . her “slower days” were about 10 times busier than any of my days. I do it because I love gardening and canning. She did it because they would have starved if she hadn’t grown the garden and canned all the veggies.
I am thankful that we live in a day where we don’t have to work so hard in order to have food on the table. I’ll always be grateful for the exposure to the gardening and canning. I can’t imagine how life would be if I didn’t look so forward to the garden each spring and if I didn’t love filling those mason jars and canning what I’ve grown.