Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vintage Values: Thrift

So I'm going to start a series based on some good old fashioned values! Hopefully some of these will help us give our kids those romantic sensibilities of life that so many people are missing! Allow me to start by saying that today was a great day. Although we had a terrible winter storm last night, and my children and husband spent the entire morning playing in the snow, the first sign of spring arrived this afternoon. SEEDS!!

My seeds are here! There is something so fantastic about that moment when your seed catalogues start coming in during the dead of winter and you begin to plan and plan your beautiful garden, and then one cold afternoon those little pods of potential life arrive! (I buy my seeds mostly from Pinetree Seeds and they have been so far fantastic. They have a whole bunch of heirlooms for not very much at all. I also got some wild digitalis, harebell, and Flander's Poppies from Thompson and Morgan) I won't bore you with the magical qualities of garden growing. I won't tell you how when we till the dirt I bury my face in it to just smell it. I won't tell you how my daughter and I walk around the garden letting the plant tendrils wrap around our fingers like babies wrap their hands around their mothers. I won't tell you how I shout and scream to the point of tears at those squirrels taking off with the peaches I've spent so much time caring for (the worst part is that only take one bite and throw it away). You all should know about how wonderful gardens are. How wonderful nature is. Whenever I start to feel stressed and upset I crave the woods and fairly crawl on my hands and knees to breath in it's air. What I will tell you is how economically sensible home gardens are. Produce can be almost painfully expensive compared to how quickly it can be eaten, and having even just a little bit of it produced at home will make that grocery bill a bit less painful. Not to mention that it is always nice having something growing in your backyard for those nights when you don't know what to cook. I've built up my garden for literally next to nothing. You don't need to build a raised bed, or buy special organic gardening soil, or specialty seeds. The cheapest gardens start with your food and yard wastes. Piling up leaves and grass one summer on the spot where you want your garden and the following year you will have a spot where the grass underneath is death, and that is full of decomposing nutrients, giving you at least a thin layer of good soil. Dig it up with a shovel, and plant your seeds directly in the ground. Now you've just started a garden for only the cost of seeds, and many kinds of plants, like squash and tomatoes, are pretty hard to mess up as long as you water them. Even if you only get two tomatoes per tomato plant, you will probably have payed for your seeds. I can be pretty neglectful of my garden, but it still struggles on, giving me food. There really is no good reason to not grow a garden. They can even be grown inside, as long as you have a warm light on top of the plant. Anyway, so my seeds are here. We will be doubling our garden this year to include potatoes and corn and a couple more kinds of squash. I also have charentais melon seeds which I am absolutely dying to taste! I don't have a huge garden, but for the ninety dollars I spent on seeds I can count on getting at least three times that in returns, and that's assuming we have absolutely horrendous growing weather like we did last year. I try to stick with things that I buy often, or can't find in the grocery store, or that are just too expensive to buy as often as I would like, like heirloom tomatoes. Last year the only tomatoes that grew were the green tomatoes but we still absolutely inhaled them. I'm hoping that I will be able to actually can some of my produce this year but I'm still kind of nervous about it. I bought some cucumbers and veggies to pickle last year because I figured I should try canning before I do it with my own. It was a good thing because I didn't do it correctly and had to throw most of the cans out. I would have been so upset if I had spent all of that time growing things to only ruin them in a water bath. I think I have worked out the kinks though, so to speak, and my mom said she'd help me this fall. Almost all the women in my family know how to can, and do it well. I'm just carrying on a grand tradition of being self-sufficient and thrifty! (At least I hope I will haha)

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