When first being invited to such an old family ranch you often feel the chills of old relics and the memories of past loved ones still lingering in the air. This place is different. This place is magical. This place is very much alive!
To swing the gate open on to the garden plot it’s like swinging the gate open to the living past. The garden’s central location has not changed since great grandfather first forked it over in the 1960’s.
Though the size of the garden may have shrunk by 10 feet, to make room for more fruit trees, it still produces what the family needs to eat and keep the grocery bills low.
This is my first time in the fenced area of the garden and Aunt Shelly is more than accomodating. She starts the tour with the grapevines and explains how she aquired each start and the process they went through to get growing along the now trellis that will be a privacy screen from the road and a trap to keep the heat from escaping the garden. The vines were loaded, the grapes dripping in perfect clumps! Other family members took home their share of the grape starts but the brightest moment in the garden came when she said we could take home as many elephant garlic cloves that we could stick in our pockets. You see, she would rather send great grandfathers prized elephant garlic home with us then toss the “too manies” in the compost bin. Our pockets were loaded! We brought enough home to share!
As the tour continued we passed the winter squashes where we came across the Hubbards and butternuts, we passed along the rows of onions that were planted underneath the perfectly pruned tomatoes, and discussed in depth the importance of companion planting. Planted here and there throughout the garden flowers burst into view, mostly marigolds and nasturtiums. She had them tucked into the cucumbers and of course the bright beautiful tomatoes.
We talked mostly about the garden and the books she has read that has helped her get started in “doing things right”. she recommended “The Vegetable Gardeners Bible”, by Edward C. Smith, which is pictured here, so you can get your own copy. I did! this book is loaded with tips, tricks, and every bit of information you could possibly imagine on each of the most common fruits and veggies to get you started. I give this book a thumbs up for sure.
We talked a little about her adventure and how she made her way back to the farm in the magical town of VerNarnia, but the hopes and plans out waged anything she had to say about her life travels. The barn needs fixing the land needs clearin’ but she can only get to so many of the projects each year with her continued duties at work and helping with the herd of cows and moving horses. She will get there, with her determination and will power that ranch will be whipped into shape in no time.
The one noticeable difference from her life before and her life now is the place that she finds her peace. Before she could find silence and solitude in her barn that her grandfather helped her build, now she says with a smile … it’s becoming the garden.
Until next year, I will be studing up with my book and remembering our pass through the garden. After a good hour and a half in the fenced garden I felt like I was transported home. Home, where food was fresh from the garden and momma canned it all up. Home where the smells of a good Sunday dinner was always a guarantee.