Friday, July 26, 2013

Just Humor Me

     I'm hoping that in a couple months I'll have a wonderful story of garden redemption for you, where in the midst of a summer that has felt like an inhospitable rain forest a large harvest was gathered and preserved, in a timely manner, too.

     So far this season, our garden is dismal. While it seems like the world is canning billions of quarts of green beans, our beans don't amount to a hill of beans. The peppers we rely on are missing in inaction. We had a decent berry harvest, and there can still be a turn around with the corn and tomatoes, but overall it's been a little frightening. You see, we rely on what we grow to feed us throughout the year, especially during the lean months of late winter. While growing anything is never a guarantee of a bountiful harvest, I still feel like digging a hole with my pitchfork and climbing into it. The main thing stopping me is the heat and exertion it would take to dig a hole at this point. Oh, and the humidity. I should have planted mango trees and bananas.

      I've been thinking a lot about the cost of growing versus buying and preserving. Would it be cheaper in the long run next year to buy boxes of vegetables? I already do this with some things anyway, like peaches and apples. Admittedly, I would miss the free gym membership that gardening provides, and instant access to a perfect ripening tomato. It's a hard call to make right now. I just hate waste, especially wasted efforts.

      For some reason, waste has always been a bigger sin to me than plenty of other equal wrongs. When I was a child, my mother clipped a picture out of the newspaper of a poor, blind little girl and kept it at the table. Whenever I didn't want to finish my meal or eat, she would threatened to send my food to this child in the picture. I kid you not. Had she actually followed through, that would have suited me fine. At least someone would have finished the meal. Maybe the blind girl actually liked pork and cabbage, whereas I was just humoring everybody.

     Thirty years later, a man gave me a tour of an enormous garden he shared with his son. Quite a patch, with a dazzling array of vegetables. It could have fed twenty people all year but it was only meant for five. I asked how he went about preserving all his goods, and who did the canning, etc.? "We don't bother with that," he said.
"What we don't eat just gets plowed under." I still wonder what my face looked like at that moment, and did he notice? He could have at least had the decency to mention a freezer. Just humor me, I thought.

     One day I spilled some bird seed in the backyard, and felt bad about it. Not long after, I noticed a sunflower growing in that same spot, which I carefully dug up moved to my flower garden.  It bloomed and is so far nicer than the decorative sunflowers I am intentionally growing with quality seed.



       Like I said, I don't like to waste anything.

15 comments:

  1. Hey, you posted this today! I usually get an email notification the day after you post so I'm always a day behind. Sunflowers are so pretty and I never see one without thinking of you. Next year, would you plant a banana tree please? Come on, just humor me. ;) And just so you know, it's only in your mind, the rest of the world isn't canning billions of quarts of green beans. You hang with the wrong crowd. LOL

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  2. Ms. imPerfect Housewife is right (again). I haven't canned a single bean. I'm not even growing herbs this year. Love the pictures. I'm so sorry to hear your garden is acting out. You'd think, after the rest it got during the the formative years of the Little Mister's incubation and life (up to this point), your garden spot would be ripe and ready to spring into action, yielding you a bumper crop unheard of in these parts. Instead, it's just gotten lackadaisical (or maybe the daisies are doing well - ? - you didn't say...) about the whole process. How annoying.

    PS: What's up with the blind-girl photo? Couldn't your mom find a picture of any undernourished children? What made her think blind girls weren't getting fed?

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    1. The girl in the picture may have been blind AND poor or something, not sure. The guilt worked well though, and yes, I probably did grow up thinking blind people were hungrier than the rest of us!

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    2. Guilt and shame...such powerful tools in the parental tool belt.

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    3. I wear contacts and reading glasses and I've noticed I'm not quite as svelte as some of my cohorts. I think your mom may have been on to something, Mennobrarian. I'll take some pork chops!

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    4. LOL! I wear glasses too, someone needs to do a study!

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  3. That is a beautiful flower photo! and dont fret over what you do and dont do, I just admitted today on my blog I use other bloggers on my menu planning...LOL.. value your strengths and just work on a bit with the weaknesses.. I like you buy my peaches and apple in big ol boxes (although I do enjoy going to the orchard like last year and getting bushels upon bushels of apples... Canning takes work we just have to find our niche in it to make it work for each and everyone of our families.

    JEANNIE

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  4. I can't even grow weeds :) and as far as canning,I am glad its just me at home...my poor family would starve! Why,I hardly even cook anymore,just open a can of soup. But I guess such is the life of a woman with an empty nest...basically no one to fin for,but myself and the dog. Sometimes I admit,I don't do a very good job of that! I love your beautiful sunflower...beauty from ashes....so to speak! Blessings

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  5. I have been in a sort of limbo, which could drive a person crazy, while we wait for our apartment to be finished. I had hopes of having SOME sort of garden this year, but alas, none. Most of my food prep equipment is in storage, and I don't even want to THINK of getting in there right now! I don't know how to can veggies, but I know how to can apple pie filling. :) Oh, you're doing so much better than me! I really liked your humor regarding the humidity. If you plant mangoes, I'll order from you. :)

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  6. The only thing I've canned this year is made strawberry jam. My tomatoe plants are trying to survive a texas drought season. Watering two days a week is not cutting it. I detest waste too. More like wasted clothes or toys etc.. I'm donating constantly. I would probably be speechless with that man and his garden. There are so many hungry people just in the united states. Dont be so hard on yourself. You're doing the best you can right now. And your sunflower is beautiful. Maybe that was a gift from God saying He didnt waste your bird seeds, so no need for guilt;). We may feel like failures or that we've wasted our efforts, but God never wastes anything.
    Christina

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    1. It appears there are quite a few of us who are struggling in our efforts this summer. We've still got time, and oh...a drought in Texas! It must be a huge challenge to grow anything right now. You must be a special kind of hearty, Christina.

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  7. Aww, we would so gladly share some of our beans with you! Especially this week where I am not going to be able to pick and can! I don't have anyone lined up yet to do that important task for me--praying I find someone! Why oh why can't we live closer to each other?!!

    Hugs, my dear friend!!!

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    1. I was just thinking this today! In a few weeks I'm picking up some peaches and it sure would be nice to split the work with someone. Especially someone with a hungry family! ((Hugs))

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  8. Oh Monica, I need this humor...and I too hate waste so I could resonate with what you wrote.

    Sorry about the garden problems. I planted 2 tomatoes and they are producing a few tomatoes but not nearly as much as I thought they would. I also planted 2 pepper plants that look gorgeous but haven't managed to produce a blessed thing! Perplexes me greatly. And my zucchini that looked so promising earlier and gave me two lovely beautiful fruit now seems to have gotten some blight or something and is looking ill. I don't think I could ever do this gardening thing full scale- I'd be too frustrated and discouraged.

    Btw, I don't know how far you live from Gap, Pa but there is an Amish family there that I get a lot of my produce from and he is so inexpensive that I really don't think it'd even be worth it to have my own garden if I could! If you want to know more, let me know.

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    1. Yes, things in the tomato and pepper departments have not been abundant either, although the plants are lush and healthy. Just an awful year for growing. Our corn did okay, and I've put most of it away now. I'll get in touch with you about the place in Gap, as we pass through there on our way into the county so it would be no trouble at all to shop there. Thank you for the tip!

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