This is an entry in this month’s contest “What Inspired You To Start Growing Your Own Food?”. Be sure to rate this article!
I think it started at the age of 11 and my grandmother’s “never ending bowl of beans”. I was raised mainly near my Italian city grandmother in Chicago, but at the age of 11, I spent a summer with my father’s parents in the mountains of Kentucky. My grandparents were just “poor folk” from the Appalachia and didn’t even have running water.
The house sat at the base of a mountain that had a beautiful babbling brook running in the front. That summer of “74” I learned to “break beans”. I sat on the porch swing in the heat of summer when my grandmother handed me a great big bowl of green beans and instructions on stringing and breaking them. I hour later I called to my grandmother excited because I was done!
Hurrying outside to see she exclaimed “that is great” and 2 minutes later refilled my bowl. I was aghast and this went on all day. That summer I learned all about the reality of living off the land. We grew our veggies, ate some and then canned the rest. We raised the chickens and pigs for eggs and meat. We hung laundry on the line after washing with her wringer washing machine (washing was an all-day chore). Grandpa would heat water over an open fire and I took a bath in a metal wash tub in the smoke house.
That summer we gathered black walnuts, wild blackberries and raspberries, which grew all over the mountain, making pies and jams. We canned sauerkraut, green beans, and tomatoes among other things. That summer of “74” never left my memory and it seemed to be what I wanted, what was buried in my soul, but was just out of reach. Growing up in the city of Chicago I always knew I didn’t really fit with the city life. I never enjoyed all the crowds, nightlife and noise. I went to college, became a RN, got married and started a family, bought our first home and worked a lot to maintain a lifestyle.
All the while I desired something different. I ended up after 11 years of marriage divorced and a single parent. I began moving south slowly. My first stop was Northern Indiana. After 8 years of being a single parent I remarried, 4 years later I became a widow at the age of 44. Started a business and got my kids through college while I continued moving further south.
I now live in central Indiana. I built my “green” eco-friendly home and found myself owning the acreage to have my little farm. I live near my parents on 4 acres and quit the rat race after selling my business. I have dedicated one acre to just my garden. I have an enclosed indoor green house and I am the mother of 24 Plymouth rock chickens for meat and eggs. I have a black walnut tree, and tons of black raspberry bushes and 3 apple trees.
I barter my food for my neighbor’s peaches. I can food, dehydrate and freeze food. I quilt, crotchet, and sew. I do all these things and with the help of my parents and my sister maintain our garden.
Our children are not interested in this lifestyle (yet) but as I keep my grandchildren on weekends I know I am feeding them good food, I watch them play and feed the chickens, knowing I am planting a seed of a lifestyle from the past. My grandchildren will learn from me how to grow their own food and I will show them a different way of life they can choose just like my grandparents showed me. Life for me has come full circle and I am loving every moment of growing a lot of my own food while I live a simpler life.
The prize for the winner of this months contest is valued at $100 and includes a copy of the “Grow Your Own Groceries” video set, “Alternatives To Dentists” video set, and 3 months of free membership in the Core Community. If you want to enter this month’s contest, write an essay on “How You Got Started Growing Food” and submit it here at this link: http://growyourowngroceries.org/contribute-here/