JOY --- Jesus On the JourneY

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is A Garden Worth It?

I have decided in my "older" years to get back to the basics and create a more simple life -- you know, like growing our own food -- putting it away for winter -- like our parents, grandparents and greats did for centuries before us.

I wondered how hard could it be to put out a few plants and tend them from time to time? I decided this year's produce will come from two tomato plants and three different pepper plants. I already have seeds for a fall garden and I am getting the spot cleared and have visions of the wonderful snow peas and green beans we're going to have from September until the first frost. (I have pumpkins and gourds coming up in my flower beds where I tossed out last year's fall table decorations-- does that count for produce?)

I have spent this morning trying to catch up with my garden --weeding, rearranging the watering system - fertilizing and trying to get it ready to leave for another week. (Kansas City is calling ~~~~ gotta go rock that baby)

Thus far -- this is what I have to show for the spading, planting, 14+ hours of watering and weeding like crazy.

Why is it that the grass and weeds are so much more prolific in my garden than in my front yard where I want the grass to grow?

So, back to my "simple life" mission -- I got an e-mail this week from a family I have bought sweet corn from before. She said they had it for the same price as the last two years -- I couldn't remember how much I bought so I ordered two bushels of the stuff since I recently discovered that we only have one bag of my frozen corn left.

I found out there were 50-60 ears in a bushel so I did the math and thought - I ought to be able to work up those 100-120 ears in an afternoon. Immediately my mind went back to hot summer mornings in Illinois shucking wheelbarrow loads of corn for my mother. (Being an Illinois girl - sweet corn is a BIG DEAL.) People plant just the right seeds, they pick it at just the right time and then put it up in just the right way. My mother's sweet corn was so wonderful you could eat it for dessert.

I FORGOT WHAT A HUGE ORDEAL FREEZING CORN IS! For my four hours of work on those 80+ ears of corn, cutting it off the cob with this gizzmo that I bought with my corn -- then cooking quickly and cooling it even faster,

--I ended up with 12 pints of cut corn and three gallon bags of corn on the cob. If I'm figuring it right that should make my corn worth about $5 per pint (just kidding) -- hmmmm -- so if I offer you my super corn when you come to my house -- you'll know you're pretty special company. At this rate I should have enough to serve for the six major holidays--

I was worn out and decided to freeze the last of it on the ear -- enough of this cutting, cooking and cooling! It made me wonder --just how good was that corn my mom used to make, anyway?

Here's some things I learned while wrestling with the corn cutter:
1. Corn past it's prime doesn't cut well with that handy dandy cutter-- I was literally on top of that contraption forcing it down the cob -- to trim off the kernals -- a lot harder work than pulling weeds from my dried out garden this morning.

2. Corn that has dimples on the kernel is too old -- if it doesn't pop back in your eye when you insert your thumb -- it won't work with the corn gizzmo- put the cob on a nail and use a knife, instead.

3. Keep your air conditioner set on about 55. You work up a sweat! People used to do this all summer in hot kitchens with no air conditioning. Mom would put up 30 - 40 pints a summer not to mention all the other vegetables and fruits. (No wonder she was such a tiny little thing -- she NEVER sat down. She was always doing something related to the garden!)

4. Gardens are lots of work -- when the fruits and vegetables come on -- then you get the even bigger job of figuring out what to do with them. The simple life of is hard work!!!

I don't know many people who put forth this kind of effort today. We rush into the grocery, fill our carts with fresh, frozen or canned --scan them at the check out and hurry them through the microwave for our evening meal --We take so much for granted. What would we do without the farmers who grow our food? My special thanks to them!


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