(Steve Young is a fantastic friend of our movement. If you click on our ActBlue page (left column of the site) you will see him listed on there as someone we oughta support! - promoted by OrangeClouds115)
The passage of time enlarges perspective. I grew up green and did not know it. I'm not talking about conservation and recycling (though my parents did and still do) nor do I mean opposing the war (we did vigorously). Instead, I am talking about green from the stand point that we grew our own food.
I grew up in Utah. My family did not have a farm. We lived in town. The quarter acre lots were big by today's suburban standards, but that was not enough land for my father, he "rented" the next door neighbor's back yard every summer and "farmed" the property. On our property, we had a cherry tree, an apricot tree, an apple tree and a plum tree. We also had a raspberry patch. On the neighboring property we grew corn, squash, beans, watermelons, beets (I still don't like beets), pumpkins, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and cucumbers.
|The summers in Utah were hot, usually over 100 degrees during the heart of summer, and every day as my parents went to work, I had an assignment. It might be weeding the two rows of corn, or picking the raspberries (my favorite job - though the yield was always less than my dad expected - hehehe). But in looking back on it, I learned great lessons. I learned about work, the law of the harvest, and the reward of touching the earth.
Each summer my father would buy a load of manure and have it delivered to the property line. As a child I thought is fun to run and jump into the pile. I did not know at the time what it began as. My father and mother would just laugh. My father would use his one wheeled, hand cultivator to harrow the winter hardened ground. We would then spread the manure and he would use the cultivator to plow the manure into the soil. Next he plowed rows for the row crops, and mounded areas for our plot plantings.
We then walked the rows planting. We would not think of casting seeds as many people think of planting - oh no, that would waste the seed, and the birds would devour them. We walked the rows, poking the new rows with our fingers to make seed holes, six inches deep, then placed two seeds (or one potato eye) in each hole, and covered the hole. I preferred the mound plantings because they were spaced more than the row plantings.
I liked planting tomatoes best. We used small starts from the nursery, placed them in rows, and put white paper domes over them and buried the edges of the domes with soil. I thought of the tomato domes looked like rows of Indian tee pees.
I watched all summer for our trees, and vines and plants to sprout, then bloom, then produce. From August on, I was picking fruit, or harvesting vegetables.
We did not eat everything - we canned or packed most of it. I spent many autumn hours in the kitchen preparing food for the future. We boiled corn on the cob, then packed it in freezer bags and kept it in our freezer. I learned to bottle and can fruits and vegetables, and make jams of all kinds. We did not can or preserve zucchini, we gave that to all our neighbors - let them suffer with it as much as we did.
All winter we would enjoy the fruits of our summer labors like frozen fruit on ice cream, and our jam on toast in the morning. It is indescribable to enjoy the flavor of fresh picked corn on the cob in February when snow lay heavy on the ground.
It has been many, many years since those days, but they resonate in my memory and my mouth waters remembering the taste of home grown, pure food from our own labors.