Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why Bother?

It is the end of the season, just about.  Our garden was interrupted by  the partial removal of a large locust tree, and as a result of a busy spring and summer, and other projects around the house, I didn't plant the garden that we have had for the last few years.  We did get the raised beds planted, and I got some late chard, beets, and arugula planted in the main garden.  But that is OK.  Now we are contemplating a move to a house with a small farm, or a really, really large and overgrown yard.  We are contemplating raising chickens, milking goats, raising and even more of our own food, and I have to ask myself why I bother.  It is better that I ask that question first, and have some kind of an answer ready, because a lot of people ask me why, and sometimes I flounder with my answers.
When I started this blog several years ago,  there were multiple, immediate crisis' going on in the financial world and I felt that this might be a way to help make family members more aware of how dependent we all are to institutions and infrastructure that might fail, or that we might not be able to access, for any reason.

Time has moved on.  The crisis of Lehman Brothers has morphed into the Eurozone crisis..... and that will probably move on to something else.  More immediately,  we have had children out of work for extended periods of time, others that struggle to make ends meet as they raise families and try to complete their schooling.   So our family wasn't at the economic center of the hurricane, but they got plenty of wind and rain and 'power outages'.  

So in the here and now I find myself contemplating the future, contemplating a move, retirement, and a completely different life.  And so the question:  'Why bother?  Why do you want to tie yourself down.  Don't you know that you can drive to Costco (at probably any given distance) and get more food cheaper than you can raise it, and much easier?  Why do you want to bother?'

Part of my love for the rural and pastoral is a love for peace and quiet.  Part of raising a garden or raising stock is about a connection with my past, with Grandparents, and Great-Grandparents, patient, hardworking, full of faith and hope.  When I am digging, hoeing, planting, gathering, weeding, building....I remember stories of lives and times gone by, and I hope that I can live up to their standards of conduct and faith.  

Part of it is the good things that you raise. And you know how clean the lettuce is.  You know how much (if any) sprays were used.  What you pick is fresh and at it's peak of flavor and nutrition.   It is good not to have to run to the store every time you need an apple or an onion- you always end up buying other things too.  

Economy, nutrition, nostalgia, contemplation, and peace of mind.  Your mileage may vary, and gardens and stock care might be just a big pain in your backside, but I guess these are some of the reasons why I bother to raise a garden, and why I'll probably go to the bother of gathering eggs, and milking until I'm too old to raise a shovel.

(P.S. Here is a Prairie Home Companion audio clip on small town life and gardens supplied by Mike - {Thanks Mike} )


Mike said...

I can't wait to have a garden. Jenny and I love the good produce. I was listening to Prarie Home Companion the other day and Garrison mentioned that gourmet chefs need to be so skilled because they have a bad supply. Nothing beats food that was minutes before on the vine. Looking forward to hearing about your big garden and having my own.

Annie of Blue Gables said...

can't wait!

Andrew Hahn said...

So excited for you guys to move! And I'm excited to get my own garden in. Also...eyeing rabbits for meat...