Friday, March 15, 2013

The Old Garden

When my dad bought this piece of property years ago we were so grateful to God that it had two good garden plots on it.  The smaller one is up next to his house where we have access to a water hose, it is very easy to get to and maintain.  The second garden plot is a very large garden smack in the middle of the property.  It is a homely old garden surrounded by very rusty decaying metal posts with patched up wire fencing surrounding it.  It has a row of old barb wire all around the top of it and a row of  old tin roofing laying around it flat on the ground.  I guess to try to keep the weeds out.  The door going into it was a piece of metal roofing as well.

It was very hard to keep this garden up.  We had to tote huge amounts of water in buckets by hand to it to keep it watered.  As it is in direct Georgia sun for most of the day.  My dad had to walk his large tiller down to it to keep it tilled many times a year.  I don’t know how many tractor loads of manure we have taken out there to work in over the years. Being in the middle of a field it was a weeding nightmare.  I could never keep the fence line looking neat and I fought nutsedge, Bermuda and morning glory’s to eventual defeat every year.  Leaving the old garden an eye sore for much of the year.  The deer and ground hogs loved all we planted too so the old garden was a lot of work and a battle zone to get any amount of food out of it. That garden reminds me of these verses.

Gen 3:17  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Gen 3:18  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
Gen 3:19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.  

Over the last several years I have had some health issues and have lacked the energy and strength to do both gardens with vigor. I have pushed on and the kids and I have done the best we could.   I love having good food from the garden for our large family.  Our grocery bill is so much less all summer long.  I just needed to find a way for me to still garden but not have to work as hard. Every year was getting to be harder and harder on me working in the hard Georgia clay as I was getting where I just could not do it anymore.  There was just no more energy for me to push myself with.

My dad and I have a stash of all the good, unused, leftover wood from projects that we keep on hand.  Just good sized bits and pieces that could be used on other projects at some point.  We jokingly call that pile in his shed “Papa Depot’s”   As we always go to Papa Depots when we have a project to do before actually going to Home Depot and buy something we might have already as far as wood and such.  That pile had gotten quite big thru the years.  My dad suggested that we try to use up as much of it as possible last year.  So I thought about my gardening issues and decided to ask God to help the kids and I put in some raised beds for gardening.  And He did!  They turned out very well praise be to God!  We even had enough soil to fill them from an old rotted down compost/manure heap.

At first I thought about turning the old garden plot into a fruit tree plot or grapes but after much thought I decided I just didn’t need one more thing to keep up with around here.  So dad and I talked about it and decided to retire the old garden plot.   

We had such a wet winter this year we decided to take it down now while the ground was so wet.  It would be easier to get those old rusty T-posts out of the ground now .  We knew if we even went a week or two without rain that soil turns quickly to the consistency of concrete. Then it would be almost impossible to pull the posts out.

I was excited at the thought of not having that garden anymore.  To not have to make my dad work so hard keeping it tilled up for us.  William and I were also relieved as we talked about not having to weed and work in that garden many mornings a week before the sun hit it and made being in it intolerable.  Also now the kids and I would not have so much hard work all summer trying to keep that garden up as well.  So I didn’t think it would bother me to take it down.  But while I was taking it down, I had many moments that brought a kind of sadness to me.   I keep thinking, I wonder who excitedly planed out this garden?  Who pounded in these t-posts and put up the fencing?  It was already well rusted and very old when we moved here 14 years ago.  Who strung the barb wire around the top and why?  To keep out the deer I had been fighting with and feeding for years?   Once upon a time, someone broke this ground for the first time, picking out many rocks and grass clods.  For many years it has been maintained.  So long in fact that the high side of the garden is a whole foot lower in the ground than the original fencing that was put up.  And the other side of the garden was many inches higher.  We had to dig the fencing out in some places on the low side because over time wind and rain, tilling and hoeing, the soil had slowly filled in at the low end.

The kids and I took this week off from home schooling as it was so pretty outside for working on the farm.  The first day, we got all the wire and fencing down. 

The second day I told them I would give them each $2.00 for every t-post they dug out.   So the little’s (Carolyn, Zeke and Elizabeth) worked very hard at it all that morning.  Any T-posts they didn’t get out by lunch time William was going to pull out.  Zeke pulled 11.  Carolyn 7 and Elizabeth worked at one T-post all morning and never got it out.  :(   Its hard being the youngest sometimes.  So big brother William went down and helped her get her one post out before he pulled the rest. 

              Our dog Yellow is such a good guardian over the children.  The big lug.

Looking at that plot now with no boundaries around it at all, it doesn’t look so much like an eye sore anymore but it looks very tired and well used.  (I can relate with that a bit.) Who knows how long that plot of land has been gardened.  I guess it deserves a rest.  Some part of me will miss it.  Even William mentioned taking it down made him sad inside.  I thank God that we had it all those years we needed it.  I know how hard it is to try to turn a piece of ground into a good garden plot from scratch.

Thank you God for that garden plot and all the food it has provided for our family over the years.    We know where it is if we should ever need it again.

Genesis 8:22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,  day and night will never cease.”

May God bless the work of your hands and the fruit of your lips.

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