Monday, September 20, 2010

Of canning, and gardens, and feeding oneself

Many of you know that we have a big garden every year. This year is no different. The seeds got started a bit late due to the move, but it happened, and we had very abundant crops. Apparently, despite it's desert biome, in Utah, if you water it, it will grow. The only real garden pests that are here are the snails, and while EXTREMELY prevalent, you can tend to beat them off of most crops enough to still get a good yield. Basically, if you can get your seedlings through the screwy weather and the unbelievably unrelenting weeds, then they will thrive. And ours did. We have eaten lettuce, spinach, peas, beans, carrots, cantaloupe, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, broccoli, and herbs in bulk this summer.

And we have had plenty of leftovers to put things up.

As well, as being gifted many bushels of apples from a local friend's apple tree.

Our pantry and freezer are filling up, and the kids have had a blast helping. It's funny, they like different parts of it. Angus loved starting the seeds, watching them sprout, and planting the garden itself. Winnie loves picking veggies (especially tomatoes), and well, all the kids had a blast picking apples. Zhara and Winnie have enjoyed putting up some of the fruits and vegetables of our labor. Even Angus got in on making apple cider. And they have all generally liked eating them.

All in all, I think gardening and growing at least some of our own food has been wonderful for the kids. In the past few years, they have learned about eating local foods, composting the leftovers, what comes in at what times, the labor that goes into caring for a garden and feeding a family. They get their hands dirty, and have fun at the same time. We never ask them or force them to help, but without fail, someone will wander in while we're working, ask a question, and start poking about until they are handed a trowel, or a bucket, or an apple to juice, and it goes from there. The learning just comes without anyone teaching, or writing, or having a study guide.

Helping dad with the apples.

Apparently, juicing apples for cider makes a person "the man!"

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