Hello Garden Gals and Guys! Are you ready for spring? I know I am. As cold as it is outside, I can’t believe spring is literally only a few days away. I’m really excited to back into my garden this year.
You know, I’ve been thinking about why I grow food. So, let me share a little story with you that my dad has shared with me. When I got into gardening 11 years ago, it was intended to be just a little summer project to teach my then toddler children where food came from. I had no idea it would grow into a passion.
When I would plant things, I made a lot of mistakes, but there were also some things that I just inherently knew. Both of my grandmothers loved to garden. My paternal grandmother had a farm in Crosby, Minnesota. My maternal grandmother and grandfather always had a garden as well, and they used to can a lot of what they grew.
When I think of farming, my mind wanders to cherished memories of being on my grandma’s farm. I just would sit sometimes and stare out at the cows in the field, or at the corn she had growing. I just loved being there. I really think that the seed was planted then, pun intended, and it really took root (sorry, I can’t resist those puns) when I began my first garden.
Apparently, gardening is a significant part of my family history. Here is a picture my dad sent to me. In the middle is my great-great-Grannie Lou. She, according to family history, is full-blood Cherokee. To the right of her is my paternal grandmother, Mattie, she’s the one that had the farm I loved so much.
When I look at this picture, I can see that Grannie Lou grew things. But in those times, growing things was just a part of life, a necessity (and I think they were the better off for it). Back then, everyone had gardens….that is, if you wanted to eat. I think we should get back to that, don’t you think? Gardens should be just as commonplace in our yards as cell phones have become in our lives.
Now, Grandma Mattie (the woman on the right), she was just amazing. Gosh I miss her so! She fished, had her own chickens, raised her own cows for butchering, and had her own antique business. She also had a cabin on a lake where we spent many a summer. She grew up in tough times, but she never let that stop her from being a very accomplished woman. She was a force to be reckoned with. When she wanted to do something, she just did it and Heaven help anyone that got in her way! The woman could also make a mean fixin’ of catfish and collard greens…my mouth is watering now.
As you might be able to guess, Grandma Mattie was a very self-sufficient woman, and she is my inspiration for wanting to have my own farm.
Now, this lovely woman to the right is Grannie Gussie, my great-grandmother. I never had the honor of meeting her, but my dad says she could grow flowers out of a rock. 😀 Grannie Gussie was half Cherokee and half Caucasian. She lived in the back woods in Jeffersonville, Georgia, which is where my Grandma Mattie was born.
Dad says Grannie Gussie knew about all kinds of plants and natural cures for things (and that he and my Aunt Judy often fell victim of those natural cures when they caught colds LOL).
My Grannie Gussie and my Grandma Mattie would cook the wild game that my dad and my Uncle John would catch when they went hunting. Grannie Gussie loved the land and knew how to live well off of it. Later, my Grandma Mattie bought her mother a farm in Cambridge, Minnesota so that she could live how she wanted to live, but Grannie Gussie eventually went to Michigan to live with one of my aunts. After that, Grandma Mattie sold that farm and bought the one in Crosby that I have memories of (I told you Mattie was no joke!).
Why did I share this with you? Maybe to remind you of a time when growing your own food was not a hobby or a choice. It’s what was done to survive and, if you ask me, folks were a lot healthier then.
I also shared it because I think my dad is right….I do have their spirit…and it’s what makes me want to continue to grow food. I think that’s why all last year I just felt lost when I didn’t have a garden. I believe that restlessness was all my grandmas wondering why I wasn’t out there communing with the land. So this blog post is just a little shout-out to them letting them know that I hear them loud and clear, and I’m getting my hind parts back out there this year!
So, you see, growing food isn’t just something I do to be healthy, I guess you could say it’s in my roots.
Do you have any memories you’d like to share about your gardening relatives? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear about it!
But in the mean time, get out there and grow something already!
Until next time….