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Front Page » September 7, 2004 » Opinion » Gardening feels good
Published 4,045 days ago

Gardening feels good

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My mother left me with many good traits, one of which is the love of gardening. When I was growing up on the prairies of Saskatchewan in Canada my mother raised incredible vegetable gardens.

In the dry prairie of that barren land she carved out gardens that fed our little family through the entire winter. In the early years, when I was just a young boy, before we had an irrigation system or even vehicles to haul the water, she would carry water up a small hill in five gallon pails to water the garden. As I grew older I remember how hard it was to carry those big buckets and how the garden always seemed dry. I was so glad when my uncle gave us a little Fordson tractor when I was about 12 years old with which I could actually haul 45 gallons of water in barrels. It made life so much easier.

That was many years ago and last night as I rushed home from work to finish the beans, work on the corn and do something with the tomatoes and peppers I shook my head and wondered why am I still doing this. It was so much work 40 years ago and here I am still pulling weeds, picking vegetables, cutting them up, canning and freezing. But once the tomatoes, peppers and onions were stewing on the stove and I had a snipped pail of beans ready to blanch, I felt good with what I was doing.

I am embarrassed to admit that last week when I finished picking the last of the squash and zucchini, I looked around at the two churches in my neighborhood and considered bagging them up and sneaking them over and putting them in any vehicles that may be unlocked. I heard that was done in Utah but I'm not sure by who.

I don't really have time to spend in the garden, at least as much as it requires and I am not sure if it really pays off if one looks at all the water, seeds, fertilizer, extra soil needed all the work. But there is something that only a real gardener can describe about the feelings of satisfaction when it comes to gardening. They see the rows so neatly made in the spring and those first tiny sprouts that pop up. Then as the garden grows and the day after the first major weeding when everything looks so healthy and promising. I love the cool summer evenings when I spend way too much time long hand watering the beans and corn.

One of my favorite vegetables are tomatoes and interesting enough, it was my mother's too. I love everything made with tomatoes, including sandwiches, salsa, or spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes can be whole, sliced, diced or juiced. Over the years I have learned some special recipes with tomatoes. The right amount of garlic, peppers and onions added to the mixture makes for a perfect dish that requires tomatoes. I wonder if the folks at the church potlucks or other potluck gatherings I attend ever get tired of my tomato dishes.

This year everything seems to be ripening earlier and all at the same time. I can't ever remember finishing up my garden before Labor Day, but other than a few late tomatoes and a long row of carrots, my garden is just about all canned or frozen.

Mother would be proud of me and I look forward to a lot of fresh garden vegetables this fall and winter. It's hard to explain but I sure feel better once the gardening is all wrapped up for another year.

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September 7, 2004
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