Sprawling over a sizable part of our yard, the garden took a lot of collective effort from the whole family. Planting, hoeing, pruning, weeding, and harvesting were on everyone’s chore list. As I was the youngest in the family, weeding (my least favorite garden activity) always seemed to be on my to-do list! I spent hours upon hours bent over in the hot sun, fingers caked with dirt, as I rooted out thousands of leafy invaders from the long garden rows. But nothing was worse than, having finally finished garden chores, being greeted in the dairy barn by my dad’s indignant “What the Sam Hill have you been doing all day?!?”
My sister Marge was especially helpful with harvest and preservation, working with my mother to make sure the garden churned out its very best. To her credit, Marge always tried to make it fun for us, creating incentives to make even the drudgery of weeding rewarding. She promised everyone who picked two grocery sacks full of green beans an exciting trip to the drive-in movie theater in the evening. When my siblings and I got to the movie, we realized the catch: the green beans had to come with us! While at the movie we had to stem the green beans, dropping the stems out the car window. You could tell where our family’s car had been at the drive-in. There were four sizeable piles of green bean stems where it had sat! I remember stemming beans during the John Wayne classic True Grit. It was so mesmerizing I didn’t get my two bags done during the film! Fortunately for me, my kind older sister recognized I was distracted and completed my bags as well as her own.
Even though caring for the garden was exhausting and at times seemed endless, the true reward of scooping out fresh green beans onto your plate made it all worthwhile.
Today you can get that same farm-fresh goodness (without the back-breaking work!) by shopping at our Country Cupboard, located on our farm north of Donahue. Or purchase our products at North Scott Foods or the Freight House Farmers Market. Visit us on the web at www.tourmyfarm.com