And so, hating and yet strangely enjoying the work, the garden became an obsession, a passion, and a constant pain in my back. It was surely driving me mad, but more was in store for me.We had a “farm”. A very small holding, grant you, but a farm, a hobby farm, some would call it,
But I have yet to conclude exactly whose hobby it was, mine or Sir’s. It was a farm because the children, when asked what line of work their father was in, would reply, “He’s a farmer, and he flies airplanes”, thus making their father’s occupation of secondary importance, even though his flying paid the bills and also helped to induce the madness that was creeping into my head. I will show as this goes on, just how this occurs.
For amateurs, our garden was fairly successful. We had grown enough produce to supply ourselves, our relatives, and half the south mountain with vegetables, especially beans! Boss’s rule of thumb was, “If it’s there, can it or freeze it,” no matter that you can’t use it all. I became bogged down in the canning quicksand, with pickles and tomatoes, and the freezing mire with mountains of peas, beans and corn, not to mention all the berries that grew wild on our land, and because they were ‘there’, you canned them!
Now, all this seems, on the outside, to be very ‘back to the landish’, and it is, except for one small item. I had never canned anything, or made pickles, or cut corn from the cob to freeze the kernels, or blanched peas and beans. But, you do what you must do, and so I did, but talk about frustration! The vegetables were seasoned with the salt from the tears I shed, tears of utter hopelessness and futility. I didn’t have a clue, and I detested every minute of the harvest. It sure seemed to me that it was a lot easier to pick up frozen peas at the grocery store, than to sit for hours, shelling thousands of pods to get a few bags to set in your home freezer. The jolly green giant does it much better, and faster, and he doesn’t have to pick up dropped peas for weeks after.
The fact that four years later I am writing this attests to the realization that one can do what they must do, and survive, at least physically if not mentally. Each year I do the same, and I must admit I can do it faster now. I can not say better, or that I enjoy it, but I do it because it’s there to do.
And so we shall leave the garden, and the canning, and though I should mention that I still do both and it has become a part of my life, that the transition is over, the harvest is a natural event that comes in its turn each year, and is accepted, if not greeted with anticipation.