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Grateful Gardening Glory in a Pandemic

I was raised in the country and both my parents and grandparents had cattle farms. I remember my mom milking our cow before she'd go to work, I remember having chickens and pigs and always cows that I would name. My mom is the hardest working woman around. When I was growing up, summers were spent getting paid to harvest the green beans, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, whatever you can think of. My mom would cut the corn off of the cobb and throw it to the cows and freeze the corn. She would blanch the tomatoes and can them for the best tomatoes you've ever tasted. The potatoes were dug, the lettuce was grown and we barely had to go to the store. My mom plants flowers in the front so that she is surrounded by beauty. Watermelons, cantaloupe and pumpkins grow in the back. Whenever she has extra, she shares with neighbors, friends and family. In the summer, when she's not in the garden, she's inside canning what she got out of the garden. She has the heart of an angel and will give you anything she has. When she's stressed, she's in the garden. When she's happy, she's in the garden. When she's lonely, she's in the garden.


As a child we would sit on the front porch and swing while snapping green beans. Even today, my children sit with my mom and dad and snap green beans together. It's the simplest form of peace and enjoyment I've ever experienced. Talking, being together and tossing the beans into the pan after a hard days work. I can't wait to go back, I can't wait to sit there and laugh and snap for hours....with my mom.


It's amazing how in just a little bit of time, how we are all turning into my mother and grandmother. I remember my husband's grandma, Gigi....she would reuse baggies, take mints from restaurants and keep them in her purse, bring bread home from restaurants and spent her days weeding flowers and gardens. My Granny, who is one of my favorite people on Earth....is 90 years old and is still talking about planting her garden. I remember when I was a child - my Granny snapping the neck of a rattlesnake and chopping off it's tail. I remember her canning her vegetable soup in layers that were just stunning. Fresh, organic, homegrown goodness that she would can for the entire family.


Life was simple, nothing exotic. My grandparents barely left their farm in their time being married, and they were okay with that. That is life on the farm. You work, you harvest you spend time with family. My granny wouldn't waste a drop of pudding that went on the banana pudding. She froze milk, she had chickens to lay fresh eggs and she worked hard from early morning until night. She is tough yet sweet, tiny and cute but yet somehow is still feisty and curses a lot.


Now that we are all stuck....we can't go....we can't do. Our calendars are empty and so are the stores. However, our hearts are full. Being with my family and missing my extended family has given me a feeling of gratitude. I am grateful for my life, my family and each second. Life is so precious and seems short now somehow. I cannot wait to get to my mom's garden and complain about how hot it is. I cannot wait to drive down country roads to see my Granny and listen to her yell about the fly bothering her. I can't wait for about a million things. I miss our old "normal" life - but guarantee things won't be the same.


I've learned a few things during this month at home. Some stem from the way I was raised and have been forced into my past. Here's what I have learned.


* The days are long.....if you feel like taking a nap, take that nap.


* Don't be wasteful, you can always eat those leftovers tomorrow or reuse that baggie.


* Walk. Walk outside if you can to relieve stress and anxiety. Be in nature with nature.


* It. is. okay. to. cry. This sucks some days..and it's okay to be frustrated about it.


* Let your children be themselves. If they need a break, give them a break. Chill. This is so hard for them to understand and take in, even harder than for us probably.


* Solitude. Let your family know when you just need to be alone. I love to pour the largest cup of coffee ever and read a book.


* Check in with your friends, also see who's checking on you! Who are your true friends?


* It's okay to have bad days. Get over it. Don't dwell on it. Go to sleep early & start fresh.


* Teach your children the basics. How to make bread, how to fold laundry, how to deal with their emotions while they miss their sports, their friends, school. Talk to them.


* We are not invincible. This virus can touch any one of us. Enjoy each moment, every second of that hug, every moment of the sun on your face, every smell of a flower.


* Pray. Pray to whatever it is you pray to. God, Angels, Spirits, just say something positive to keep that energy flowing your way.


Sorry for the long post. Writing helps ease my mind and helps me to voice how I'm feeling in these difficult times. I miss you all visiting the animals. I miss our classes and I miss my kid's sports. We will get through this together. Until then, be like my Mom and my Granny, put yourself into something you love. Whether it's your garden, writing, a book or family games. Put your heart into your daily life and don't be afraid to share how you feel. If you love your friends, tell them. If you are worried about your kids, ask them how they are. If you miss your aunt, tell her. If you are grateful for your mother, tell her. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, we must live for today.

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