Saturday, March 7, 2009

The country is making a big mistake not teaching kids
to cook and raise a garden and build fires.
-Loretta Lynn

A butter bean hatching and stretching in the Freeman House garden

My Dad told me Wednesday, the night before he had to go into surgery, that garden seed sales are up 30% this year in America. We smiled at each other, probably because we'd rather be in a garden than anywhere, and are thrilled others are joining us. We got the gardening gene from our fathers, both of us.

I heard it on the news last night, too - that home gardening is becoming all the rage again. That and sewing. I think it's wonderful. Not only because I love to garden and sew, but because it helps us become a tad more independent, I think. And we... well, we are a very dependent people. Growing and making our own gives us more say in what we eat and what we wear. Sure, it's more effort to sew your own dress and grow your own potatoes. But you'll never love a dress or a baked potato more than the one you helped create. At least I don't.

My Great-Grandma (not the one henrybella's is named after, but another one), was a gardener. I remember her tomatoes were so big I had to carry them with both hands. I can also remember her tying on an apron and cooking big lunches every day. Fried meat, usually - pork chops, chicken or steak - was served up alongside potatoes, cornbread and butter beans. Gosh was it good. I planted speckled butter beans two weeks ago from seed, thinking of her. The beans are doing nicely, and should be running up my stick poles any day now.

It may be the first week of March, but my garden's kept me busy. So far I have 200 onions, 100 scallions, 20 pounds of potatoes, 20 heads of lettuce, 15 leeks, 35 bulbs of garlic, 10 broccoli/broccoli raab, 50 green bean, 15 butter bean and 10 tomato plants growing. And I've only started; squash, okra, peas, pumpkins, corn, strawberries, more tomatoes, herbs and flowers have yet to be planted. Whew. From now on, when people ask me what I do all day, I'm going to throw my thumb over my shoulder pointed in the direction of the garden. (Or in the direction of my sewing machine. Or the bakery. Or Freeman House. Or....)

Almost a year ago I began putting one of those how-to posts together with hints, tricks, tips and resources for starting a home garden. I need to find it and publish it before My Messy, Thrilling Life goes away, don't I? The last post'll be a month from today. One more month and I'm home (garden?) free....

23 comments:

Vee said...

Hmmm, but some of us don't like to think about that far ahead...

Cecelia said...

First, I was wondering were Henrybella came from last night. Thanks for answering that for me. :) And second, we don't want to think about next month, feel free to forget all about that decision.

Amy said...

Wow, that's a lot of garden for one gal!

Donna said...

That sounds like a very nice garden. My DH has one just for me!

betty r said...

Oh I love to hear about simplifying lifestyles and we can do so by doing more for ourselves..great post Brin!
Your garden is producing well..enjoy!

Lynne said...

okay, call me confused but I thought you had moved to Dallas/Ft. Worth to find a job and had basically shut down Freeman House ... sold off everything ... even your Jeep ...

Sorry, Brin, I don't quite get it.

A glance at my world said...

Why are you going to stop blogging?

upnorth said...

Did you just say that you are going to stop writing 'My Messy, Thrilling Life? Please tell more.

Shanda said...

I don't quite get it either, if you really want to quit writing your blog, why wait, way not just close it down and be done with it and be free. Then you can garden to your hearts content.

glorybee828 said...

Have loved your blog for a long time now and will surely miss it, but understand moving on. Miss Loretta is right about cooking, gardening and fire building. Lucky you getting to start your garden so early in the season. In Kentucky here and don't start til Derby Weekend. Please add me to your newsletter list. Just have to keep up with how Freeman House is pressing on and now your Henrybella blessing in your little town. May God continue to shower you abundantly with His love.
glorybee828@aol.com

Amy said...

Sounds heavenly!

One Woman's Journey said...

That is a might big garden. This One Woman who is building her country home hopes to be able to have a small garden. To early to plant in my area. But you gave me some ideas. Good Luck
You make me smile.

Elenka said...

Butter beans are the same as lima beans, I take it?
How do you know when they are ready to unpod? I'd like to try them this year.
It's wonderful to have a garden...nothing like it.

Tammy said...

Hey Brin,
I was hoping that now that you are opening Henrybella's that you might reconsider ending your blog. It would be a blessing to follow along on this new journey!
And yes please post the tips you have for starting a garden...I keep saying that I am going to turn that dirt pile out back into a garden.

Susan said...

A blog is certainly a fantastic place to tell the world about your Freeman House etsy shop updates, your bakery, and your dreams of publishing a book. It's absolutely FREE marketing & advertising and I think you'd be crazy to give that up.

I'm just saying.

Need I recount (again) the list of bloggers who have become financially secure and are living their creative small business dreams because of their blog ... and their blog followers.

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

I love Loretta and her way of thinking! Have you noticed all the interest in Depression cooking now along with gardening and sewing? One good thing about the state of the country, it's bringing back the simple ways, and I'm all for that! Your garden will bless you with a winter full of food, as you have blessed us with your blog. Hugs!

Grace =) said...

We are going to miss you so much. Why does it feel so sad to know you won't be able to visit one of your very favorite blogs anymore? It's like losing a loved book and a friend all at once.
I would love to have a chance to visit you and pick your brain about gardens and baking and cooking and fixing up your own home.
I think I'm going to print off all your recipes and put them in a folder and call it My Messy Thrilling Life's Recipe Book and use it until you publish your much awaited cookbook. (you are still going to publish one aren't you?)
May I just say that while I understand your desire to trade your messy thrilling life in for a calmer quieter one, you have inspired me (through your blog) to view each day as an adventure and a blessing, despite all the struggles and obstacles and to remember that God is right there with me watching and holding my hand leading me toward the future he has always had planned for me.

Thank you for the part of yourself you have shared with us. And if you ever decide to start another blog know that we will be so excited to follow your Calm and Quiet life just as much as we enjoyed following your Messy and Thrilling one.

Have fun in your garden!

Jeannie said...

I so want to grow something that I can eat this summer...would love to see your how-to post. Thank you & God Bless all your endeavors!

TLEB said...

I would love to see a picture of your garden. It must be huge! I live in the DFW area and have always wanted to start a garden, I can't wait to read your how-to post on gardening. Thanks!

Tee of Dragonfly Cottage said...

what a wonderful post!!! I agree with everything you say :) Luckily I grew up in the country side, with a father who loved the country life... we always had (and still have) our home grown veggies and fruits. And from time to time we would have livestock as well... we learned early on where meat came from! Ha ha... and I would rather eat my own chicken than one that is store bought. Raised in horrible conditions and slaughtered in horrible slaughter houses... at least I know my wild game and livestock had a great life, and died fast and painless!!! Ma still keeps chickens for eggs... and a few roosters for meat... and it all tastes a million times better!
Now that I have my own house and garden in the countryside... I cannot wait to start planting... but my yard is still covered in 4 feet of snow! :)

Have a great day!
-Trine

Jenn said...

How I miss having a garden. I still remember sitting on my Pop-pop's lap as 'we' picked out seeds (he already knew mostly what he was getting, I just got to choose a couple things). And the huge garden he would plant up at Nana's house every year. Container gardening and I aren't working out (I have tried 2 years already). Though we are going to plant some pansies by the front porch steps by next weekend and I will plant some more mint. I am going to miss your blog and definitely want the newsletter in my inbox. I will be savoring every post this last month (and copying the recipes I haven't yet).

Evelyn in Canada said...

That is one very large garden. And more food than one person can eat, I imagine. Knowing you, you will find friends and others who need help and share. I cannot wait until we can garden again. Like Trine said, we've got too much snow to do more than just plan for spring.

Laurie said...

I actually was going to post the exact same thing that Susan did, only since she said it already, I'll just agree... and tell you respectfully, from a business standpoint, you'd be a lunatic to shut it down. Especially since it's free to operate.

You don't have to post every day, or even every week. You're only obligated for what YOU decide. It's incredible advertising. Think Pioneer Woman, who started off just 2-3 years ago writing for herself, but with such a unique style that she has literally thousands of readers, sometimes over 10,000, reading a single post AND RESPONDING. That doesn't include all the ones who read and never post.

From a business standpoint, please rethink shutting this down. You have a unique "voice" and people want personality in their businesses these days. When they are spending their money on a luxury item (which a baked good is), they will spend more and come back more often if they feel they have a personal investment. There is a way to ship baked goods, so you can reach a lot more people than in just your small town.

Ok, lecture over. I just used to help failing restaurants turn around and I would hate to see you throw away something golden.