The goal of the 2013 garden here at Bramblewood Acres is to grow enough produce not only to satisfy our need for fresh veggies (a salad for dinner, freshly plucked from the dirt is our typical spring/summer fare) but also to be able to preserve and freeze enough of what we grow to get us through the year.
Why? Well, first and foremost, homegrown just tastes better and I like knowing what’s in that jar of pasta sauce or green beans and knowing what happened every step of the way. I know what goes into growing each veggie, the effort, the compost (thank you chickens, rabbits and horses!), the time, the sweat, the blisters and sunburn, and I do believe I enjoy it that much more simply due to knowing the history of each jar, each vegetable. In each jar, I’m not just eating something delicious and pure that I grew or raised, I’m rewarding myself, one jar at a time, for hard work and diligent effort.
And that feels darn good.
Secondly, I like knowing that the things I’m feeding my family grew a few steps from the house, not Mexico or Argentina or Taiwan. I don’t use a single chemical in the whole process, which translates to pure, clean, healthy food at the end of it all. Whether I I can it, freeze it, dry it, or eat it right away, it’s all the same pure food it started out as. Except for a little dirt and bug poo, it’s 100 percent as Mother Nature intended. I get extreme satisfaction knowing I can grow, share, and eat varieties of plants that most people have never heard of, much less put into their mouths, and to me, that’s pretty awesome. I love sharing my bounty and enjoy seeing people’s faces when they bite into something homegrown and can truly taste the sunshine, rain, and warm summer days it took to create that food.
The driving desire to grow and raise your own food is hard to describe to those who have never felt the urge it or don’t have the passion for it. There are so many factors that go into it and unless you get it, you won’t understand why I will spend an entire hot, humid, icky summer day sweating in the garden or a long, cold day fixing pasture fencing, snugging up a chicken coop or butchering rabbits when I can just take a trip to the grocery store, and, with next to zero effort, fill my pantry and my refrigerator.
I do it because I get a great amount of satisfaction that we can be mostly self-sufficient and feed ourselves. I like that very much. I like depending on myself and I am fulfilled when I look back on a hard day of work and see a job done and done well. It is hard work, but it’s hard work well worth doing, in my opinion. I like knowing exactly what’s in my food and where it came from, no questions any where along the line from planting to harvesting to preserving.
Here’s to the 2013 season and hoping all goes well enough that by the end of summer, I’ll have shelves full of canned goods, crates of potatoes and onions, a freezer full of homegrown meat and heading into the winter comfortably stocked.