Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Summer Ends

Summer while I was growing up always meant a lot of work. To make ends meet, my parents needed to create huge gardens to provide food for all of us. Gardens that size are a tremendous amount of work, and so daily my brothers and sisters and I would be called upon to go out to plant, weed, and pick the fruits and vegetables that we would eat for the rest of the year.

The heat and humidity didn't seem to bother my parents and it was certainly no excuse for us to get out of the fields no matter how much we wearily begged. For some tasks we were able to go out first thing in the cooler mornings and move between the rows, pulling extraneous plants, selecting ripened peas and beans. The newly turned earth would cling to our hems and our shoes, our skin would itch from rubbing against the exasperating weeds and we would jump up every so often as a particularly large insect leaped from its disturbed patch of shade. The buckets of newly picked fruits and vegetables never filled as quickly we would like and when we were through in the garden there was more work back at the house, shelling the peas, cutting the beans, etc.

For all of the work that getting the produce in entailed, there was never any doubting that the quality of the food we had was far above anything that could be bought at the grocery. To this day I long for the crisp new freshness that even the frozen garden vegetables managed to retain. I have never again had such delicious jellies and pickles. And when my mother gave me a jar of her strawberry jam this summer, I was instantly transported back to those earlier times with every mouthful. My husband and I don't have the time, space, inclination or need to create gardens like my parents had, but maybe next summer we'll put in a few plants. He can get a taste of my childhood, my daughter can create flavor memories of her own, and I will have a chance to see what it's like managing a garden of my own.


At 9/07/2005 7:44 PM, Blogger Rude Cactus said...

This summer ending thing? Not good. Where, exactly, did it go?

At 9/07/2005 10:46 PM, Blogger War Eagle said...

I love fresh veggies and fruits. I shop at an organic local grocery and its the next best thing.


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