Down the garden path…

5 Mar

Early garden

I grew up in my grandparents’ house on 10 acres of land.  My mother was no longer in the picture and my dad was often gone for months at a time in the Navy.  My siblings and I would take vacations to our various aunts’ and uncles’ homes or go on their vacations with them.  I shared a room with my sister when I was home from boarding school.  There were always at least 10 of us and sometimes more at the dinner table.  To this day I have trouble making small meals for just the 2 of us, especially mashed potatoes!
Now I don’t know if it was because we grew up without our own family house or if it’s the Irish in me but I’ve always longed for a place of my own.  I finally realized in my 30’s it wasn’t going to happen unless I went back to school.  So at 37 I went back and graduated as a PTA at 40.  Two years later I was able to buy my house on 1/3rd of an acre.  It required a lot of work both inside and out as well as the yard.  Elizabeth and I are still plugging away at it 14 years later.  But that’s ok because it’s ours!

Early summer potato patch

There was always a vegetable garden when I was a kid.  We actually had a basset hound who would eat tomatoes off the window sill if we didn’t put them high enough.  My grandfather was very proud of his strawberry patch.  Our family has a picture somewhere of one strawberry the size of a golf ball.  There was a rhubarb patch just out the back door, blueberry bushes, a seckel pear tree and apple trees down by the pony house.
I was usually away at school til June so I didn’t have much to do with the garden.  Except to get roped into weeding once in a while, help harvest and of course eat the fresh produce.  I still can’t get enough of sun warmed, fresh off the vine tomato and mayo sandwiches.

Not quite ripe

I tried to garden one summer in my late 20’s.  I was keeping up with the weeding and watering until I went away for my 2 week National Guards commitment.  I came home to find the weeds had taken over and I wasn’t quite sure what to pull and what to leave.  I got a few things from that garden but decided to leave the hard work of growing food to the plentiful farms and farm stands around me.
And then 2 years ago Elizabeth decided to try her hand at container gardening out in the driveway.  That didn’t go so well.  So last winter my intrepid wife spent hours and hours doing research online and in books.  She planned that garden within an inch of its life.  I told her it was her baby and I wasn’t very interested in the hard work it would entail.  HA!  Before I knew it I was lugging bags of soil around the yard and visiting nurseries and garden centers.

Morning Glories

And then I found myself buying pear trees, an elderberry and blueberry bushes and strawberry plants from local businesses. From there I was perusing online garden supply and plant sites and soon more blueberry and cherry bushes were on there way to Garden St.  There’s even a rhubarb patch at the side of the house.  And I’ve never felt more in touch with my Irish roots than when we harvested the potatoes.  You see where this is going don’t you?

Potato Harvest

Canning I’ve always left to my wife because it involves exact rules and timing.  Botulism isn’t something to play around with!  She had started making homemade jams a few years ago.  Last summer a couple of dehydrators joined the family.  I was a regular chopping, pitting, blanching and corn kernel stripping machine.  Somehow I had become involved with canning and dehydrating.  Let me just say–Chocolate covered dried fruit–are you drooling yet?  What we put up last summer became Christmas baskets for family and friends.

Homemade Jam

I’ve been helping Elizabeth pick out the fruits and vegetables to be grown this summer.  I’m eyeing an area over by the shed for a raspberry patch.  And in a month we’ll be attending a workshop about chickens (scroll down to Breakfast in the Backyard on the link).  We’ll be bringing home 3 chicks each to provide us with eggs later this year.  I’m even thinking bee hives and possibly… well who knows what the future will bring here at CoyoteCrow Farm.  I guess I’m all in now.  My wife has succeeded in leading me down the Garden Path!

5 Responses to “Down the garden path…”

  1. termehmph March 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    what a beautiful account of getting back into growing!

  2. Elizabeth March 6, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Reblogged this on Reaching for Nonsense and commented:
    Check out my wife’s story of our garden.

  3. Cold Antler March 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    You guys are great!

    • weezmccarty March 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

      Thanks Jenna,
      You’re an inspiration and instigator at the Garden St. CoyoteCrow farm. Here come the chickens!! See you in a few weeks. Love to you, Merlin, Jasper, Gibson, Jazz, Annie, Sal and the rest of the crew at CAF.

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