A garden with Grandpa

One of my early memories is of planting and tending a carrot patch with my mother when I was four.  I loved it.  When I was about eight or so, my dad’s father came to live with us.  Grandpa built a bedroom and bath addition to our house and put up a fence to make a separate space that would be our garden.  Just his and mine.   Grandpa helped me mark out rows for flowers, form hills for squash and sting line for pole beans to climb.  The garden grew well and I even enjoyed weeding it when Grandpa was there.   From this early beginning a dream of living on a farm began.  

When I was thirteen, my family drove from southern California north to Montana to visit Grandpa’s sister on her and my great uncle’s dairy ranch.  My brother and I entreated our parents for some western wear.  We had grown up with the Lone Ranger and High Chaparral after all, so we were sure our cousins dressed in western clothes.  Those cousins must have chuckled when they first saw our dude and dudette outfits.  Even so, they welcomed us and we were soon off with them exploring the ranch. 

Grandpa had told me often of his niece, Jessie Mae’s, large flower garden.  It was even better than I had imagined with flowers of every color and many varieties I had never seen.  Flowers and vegetables, cows and a peacock, along with great horseback rids with a cousin near my age, stirred my heart’s wish for a farm life of my own.  I wanted a large white house like Aunt Mary’s and a vista of rolling hills with cattle grazing.  I wanted to hear the chickens clucking in the front yard and feel the warm soft head of a new calf.  

The desire for a country life stayed with me through life, though I never thought it would actually be possible.  Yet here we are, heading toward my husband’s and my dream.  Then impetus was good old American debt!   Not exactly a plan I’d recommend.  We had amassed a rather large red ink hole from a combination of moving expenses (to Utah in 2001), stupid spending and hospital bills.  Several years ago, our church held its first Financial Peace class (http://www.daveramsey.com/) and we cut up the credit cards and started working with a budget.  It also showed us we would be at it a long time, the way we were going, to pay off all off the debt”.  We decided it was worth selling our home and getting something smaller in order to pay it all off except a mortgage.

We had a great desire to live more sustainably, not always subject to the economics of high energy costs and excessive grocery bills. One day when I was cruising around the web to see what condos were selling for, I wondered how far away we would have to live to be able to afford a bit of acreage.  To my surprise I found out that it wasn’t very far at all.  Yeah, Utah!  So here we are with tables covered with books (most borrowed from the library…saving those dollars.) on small scale agriculture, chickens, goats, sheep, cheese making and straw bale houses.  Dreaming big time.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Hannah said,

    Debra, I spent much of my childhood on farms that belonged to My Fathers friends and some of it with farm pets of our own. We had chickens, rabbits, goats and a lamb named Elsie. My Father always had something he was growing. I remember harvesting potatoes, watermellon, peppers and corn with my step brother. We loaded it on big trucks and took it to town to sell. We had an old truck with granny gear that we tried to learn to drive when we were 9 or 10. Farming has always been in my heart. I really and truely share that hunger for the small farm house with a wrap around porch and the grazing critters. The city has no draw for me and I feel much happier depending on God and his provision rather than the local Walmart and grocery stores. I really pray for a miracle on both our parts. This world is so dependant on the commerce for provision it scares me. New technology is good to the extent that is makes things faster. But it has somehow made American’s lazy and stupid. I long for the life of day to day on a farm. It is hard work yet soooo satisfying. And when this economy comes crashing down upon this country someone is going to have to teach these people how to grow and where the food comes from. What is going to happen if there is no money? Nothing to ship and no way to ship it. What will people do?

    Here’s to DREAMING BIG TIME!!

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