A Dying Breed

 

 

Today I went outside and looked at my garden. EVERYTHING but the eggplant is growing. I had read that eggplant was hard to grow in anything less than “perfect” conditions,,, so I wasn’t all too upset about that. I can still transplant my squash in the eggplant box and Happy Day.

While I am out there marveling at the wonder that is “Growing” something from seed, I am thinking about how sad it is that our generation is the last of so many character shaping traditions. Our memories will be the last of stories like Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan for anyone that is not seeking them out in vintage collections.

These stories are not told to our children the way they were told to us.

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I already miss Little House on The Prairie and The Waltons. Playing outside from daylight until dark with nothing but dirt and cardboard boxes. (My brother and sisters have made some mean summer sleds with cardboard boxes back in the day.) Acting out movies like Lion King and Pocahontas. (if no one else ever did this, disregard that last sentence)Getting grounded from things like going outside (because that was what we waited for every school day. Get home and get outside for as long as possible before you had to go in) or Television. T.V. used to be a privilege, and it had to be off by 8. Now they are on everyday, all day, everywhere. With internet, texting, tablets, etc no one cares if they’re grounded from the T.V.

 Parents and grandparents that spend hours everyday making home cooked meals,

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and when it was time to eat, everyone ate, together, at the table.

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If you couldn’t say anything nice, you didn’t say anything (or you got to choose between a Penny Loafer or a Willow Limb). Board Game Nights with the family. Landline phones and having to have an actual conversation with people instead of 3 line back and forth texts. Smokey and the Bandit. Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Reading Rainbow. Boom-boxes. Cassette Tapes. VHS. Shining Time Station. Muppets.

Back porch Pickin’.

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This one really disturbs me. It brings back some of my best memories of childhood. Most of our grandparents seem to have been born with skills to aid in every aspect of living. They can grow and raise their own food. They can cure most any ailment with at home remedies that seem to have been passed down from the Gods they are so ridiculous, but more often than not achieve the desired relief. They can take apart and rebuild anything with just scraps of whatever’s in the shed. Make their own clothes. Have an Endless supply of old down home recipes that we remember from childhood but rarely see anymore. Finally, they could entertain themselves. So many of our grandparents play an instrument or sing. I love when my mamaw calls over her brothers and cousins. 5 guitars and banjos.

Everything is Happy.

So few of us have taken interest at all in any of these skills our grandparents were given by their grandparents, and maybe even generations before. How many of our kids will know how to sew? Make bread? Plant a Garden and live from it? Can fruits and vegetables. I don’t even know how to can anything, but rest assured, I’ve already asked my mamaw to teach me, and my boys will learn. Our kids will know nothing of hard work and labor.

All of these things that made our generation and our previous generations what we are, will have died with us.

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Its crazy to think that something as simple as growing a tomato plant can turn your whole world upside down. You’ve created life. That is an amazing feeling. Our grandparents knew what it was all about. They knew the rewarding  feeling of being self sufficient and living as one with the Earth. We do not need all of this technology. I do not need this blog. Its actually kind of ironic that I am submitting into the wireless universe a blog on why we are better off without said “wireless universe”. Ironic or not, if this helps one person to use less energy. If one person decides they don’t need to watch television tonight. If only one person attempts to trace their roots, learn about their ancestors and learn about themselves, I will still consider this a non technological triumph in this super technological world.

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It all began with this. When we moved into my fiancés old house back in December he knew what was coming. Planting, digging, more planting, and more digging. There used to be a medium size dog lot in this area a few years ago so the grass wasn’t too overgrown and as soon as I saw it, I had a vision. Time to Dig. We started the first week of April with the digging, and when I had extended it to what I thought was a decent size (roughly 10×15 ft) we started on building the frame. I will get into all the things that I have now decided to do better next year in a bit. Haha.

So we got the frame built and turned over all the soil. When you are digging this much ground with a shovel and a garden hoe, you realize very quickly why the mechanical tiller was invented. My back and hands were in a whole new level of sore for a while (and I’m only 24). Without a tiller the whole process took around 3 days to dig it all out and make the frame. This is mainly one person working, and every once in a while I would get the male counterpart to take over for a few minutes. So, then it rained, and a few days after that we turned over the soil again. I’m not really sure why we did this, or if you are supposed to or not, it just felt like the right thing to do at the time.

The first thing I noticed was wrong was “How am I supposed to get to the things in the middle without walking on the bed?”. Mistake number one. If you are doing a mixed box garden, they should be no larger than 4 feet wide to ensure you will not be walking in your garden and compacting your soil. This is especially true for gardeners that have limited space and want to utilize every inch they can. So with our frame already made and planting week right around the corner, we had no option but to lay down 2×4’s to divide up the garden and create little paths. This is a common method, but while it does not press the soil as much as walking right on the dirt, it still compacts the ground underneath a little at a time and should not be done for extended periods. Next year we will take apart our frame and create numerous smaller raised beds that we can reach fully across without stepping inside the frame at all.

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I realize I need to get the tarps and scrap wood out of the photo, but oh well. Another day perhaps. So we just used old wood that we had lying around out behind our shed and sectioned off each individual area. You can see a diagram of what we planted an where in the “Garden Layout” post. We started planting in this particular bed around April 22, 2013. We are in Kentucky so most of your spring planting is done in Early April to be available for Harvest by Summer and Fall.

I also have a few things planted in the front yard or along our walkway. I had to stand my ground on that one. As we were digging out around our concrete walkway to create the beds on either side I mentioned planting herbs and veggies. This put my fiancé in a state of disbelief. “Normal people plant flowers along their sidewalk, not food.” Well I won, naturally, and we now have Bell Peppers, Parsley, Basil, Brussel Sprouts, Artichokes, and Swiss Chard planted right in the front yard within reach from the concrete walk. 😀  It is glorious and I know I am not the only one that would think so.

Since planting in the backyard garden on the 22nd, we have seen major growth in the cabbage and tomato “seedlings” that we transplanted and, though I haven’t checked today, our lettuce seeds had sprouted. Hopefully in a few days we will see much more tiny green leaves popping out of the ground and bask in the visual rewards of all our hard work. It will be many months before we can eat from the garden out there, but it will be worth the wait. If only one thing grows out there, I will be one happy planter.

 

 

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Fresh Basil and the Mini Italian Garden it came from.

 

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Beautiful 45 Day and Red Cabbage. These were transplanted seedlings but have grown almost an in upwards and are so perky just after a few weeks. 😀 Heres hoping they get HUGE.

 

 

HAPPY PLANTING TO ALL, AND TO ALL, A GOOD DAY.