A Small Bit of Good Earth….

Garden July 1

Messy but productive small garden.

Garden July 2.JPG

Not sure if this is a winter squash or a pumpkin.  Planted both in this small surround and can’t figure out what is what yet, but it’s productive.

 

It is terrifying what is happening in the world.  Islamic terrorism, police shootings, police being ambushed, this morning four Baton Rouge officers killed.  The list grows heavier.

It gets to a point where you don’t know which way to turn: everyone has their own axes to grind, and you get caught up in the tragedies.  It’s unavoidable.

I’m not young anymore, and neither is my husband of 32 years.  We have weathered many things, some that have impacted our lives directly, and more that haven’t. Being a writer gives me a purpose, or at least occupies much of my time.  However, it is hard not to be drawn back into the chaos that seems to be a ‘normal’ part of the world today.

This current frenzy about national politics leaves me….cold.  I can’t support either side.  I believe  both candidates are fraught with serious issues:  one a pathological narcissist and the other fundamentally untrustworthy.  Both occupy that category.  I can’t get on the wagon for either side, but then again, I have never trusted politics or politicians. My experience, just in Atlanta, tells me each time, those people who I gave money and time to have proven to be craven opportunists. This never fails.

I was watching Ken Burns “Dust Bowl” series, about the devastating  destruction of farm land in Oklahoma, Texas and other states in the 1930’s.  Millions of tons of topsoil was swept away,  accompanied by a ten year drought.  Hundreds of thousands of farmers were wiped out clean, their farms made unproductive by both natural sources (drought) and bad agricultural methods that helped with the erosion. Government paid farmers not to plant crops, but to plant cover crops to help with the erosion.  Millions of trees were also planted as a wind break in the devastating erosion.

Before he died, I remember Uncle Zullie, a brother of my father’s, in a long call, relating his own CCC experience.  He and his brothers and sisters were the first generation Americans from a Hungarian mother and father.  There were 13 children originally, and that takes a lot of food and cooking.  The depression hit hard and Uncle Zullie and other brothers left for Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps.  My grandmother was a widow by then, and only the girls stayed.  The boys cleared out for whatever jobs they could find. Uncle Zullie waxed proud about the dam he helped build in Tennessee.  Back then they were paid $30.00 a month, and had to send back home $25.00.  It was open to men 18-28. It was a life saver for these unmarried men, and that was one of the stipulations.

My father joined the Army Air Corps early on, before it was even called Air Force.  But one thing that impacted upon this family of first generation  Americans was the value and necessity of land. My grandmother had chickens and a garden  and that could be the difference from starvation.  No one became farmers, but we lived in a  very rural area in New Jersey. My father insisted on a good garden of tomatoes, melons, cukes, and corn amongst other vegetables.  We only had a couple of acres but the garden was something he did automatically each spring.  He also planted over 100 fruit trees, apples, pears, peaches, that were cut down by the yuppie jackasses who bought our property after my father died.

So faced with the onslaught of terror and mayhem that has become ‘usual’ in our country, it is hard to know where to hang your hat and apply your  fading energies.  My father had a pile of horse manure behind a shed by the garden, and he worked decades making the Jersey red shale fertile.  If nothing else, your gardens, your fruit trees can feed yourself and your family. And you can share with neighbors. You won’t get rich, but you won’t starve.  It amazes me today that my neighbors don’t plant a garden (except flowers) and cultivate no fruit trees or berry bushes. I’ve heard a lot of excuses over the years why not, but I also believe that our current programs of constant feeding people make them dependent on government.  Not everyone, but so damn many. There are people who deserve the government help and there are  people who don’t.  I have a few chickens and a rooster, and this a good deal.  Fresh eggs every morning.  Just wish I could find a sausage bush.

I do have a neighbor who is a hunter and come fall, we have fresh deer meat.  He also is generous with his fish he catches.  A few more in this large community are growing veggies and a few have chickens (for eggs) so perhaps this is some progress.

To hell with the politics that we are supposed to hang our lives on in this country.  It’s a self-serving mess and a distraction for the real work that families need to do:  Plant a garden, plant fruit trees, plant berry bushes.  Can and conserve foods.  You can barter with others who are doing the same and expand your larder this way.

We  can’t all be farmers and today that is a very iffy proposition in the best of cases.  I read somewhere that 30 farms a day go out of business…unable to afford the fertilizer/seeds/irrigation.  But we can garden on a small scale and at least show some independence and initiative.  And don’t raise the issue of “I rent, don’t own the property.”  That’s a stupid argument and a lazy one at that.  Some of the best produce I have tasted comes from container gardening….on patios and balconies.

Anywhere the sun do shine.  Sometimes you become richer by being poorer.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

 

 

 

 

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7 Responses to “A Small Bit of Good Earth….”

  1. Harald Semeliker Says:

    Hi dear Jane,
    first of all thank you very much for having opened the door to your roots and your origin.
    It was very interesting to follow your experiences.
    Sure there are some terrifying occurrences. Some of them we can change – some of them not.
    But I think in summary we’re living in a world where it’s worth living.
    I wish you much sunshine in your life 🌟
    With all my best wishes and many greetings from Austria 💞💐🌷🍀
    Harald

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Harald. I agree. there is much in this world to enjoy and to make the most of it. But it also is a reason to give back to the world….in my case I tend the soil and grow as much produce as I can. I love to can and make jams and jellies, and the jewel tones of these fruits rival the brightest of gems.

    Sometimes one becomes richer by being poorer.

    My best to you.

    Jane

    Like

  3. phoartetry Says:

    So true.

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    You have to take a stand as to what is important in your life. Politics and politicians are self-serving energy suckers. I remember one in particular here in Atlanta that DEMANDED I do research for him (for State Rep) EVEN THOUGH the jackass missed the point that I wouldn’t vote for him because he was another entitled young turk. I had no association with him at all, and just recently he projected some foul and violent remarks my way. A total misogynist. This man was seriously deranged. ( He shot bug spray at his neighbors from his window, proving he was also a coward, besides deranged.) I have learned over many years that this is the state of most politicians. I have yet to meet more than a handful of honest people around this field. Generally they are liars.

    Vegetables and fruits give no false promises. They just grow or they don’t. Much more reliable than much else in life. Especially politics.

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  5. Cassandra LaChase Says:

    Aunt Jane, you’re so right! If the shit hits the fan, like it has before in our great nation, you are well prepared in the Wonderland of yours. Your way of living is so organic. It’s simple and fulfilling. I admire you and Uncle Fred both for enjoying the simple things…

    Clint bought me a raised garden bed today (he doesn’t have time to make it between working).
    I plan on planting a few mystery vegetables myself… I just pray I can keep up with it. You guys will see it in January.

    As for politics, the hell with them both. I’m going to continue to play the lottery with hopes that one day Clint, our family, and I can reside in a simplistic, non-materialistic oasis.

    All of our love💜

    Like

  6. Cassandra LaChase Says:

    Aunt Jane, you’re so right! If the shit hits the fan, like it has before in our great nation, you are well prepared in the Wonderland of yours. Your way of living is so organic. It’s simple and fulfilling. I admire you and Uncle Fred both for enjoying the simple things…

    Clint bought me a raised garden bed (he doesn’t have time to make it between working).
    I plan on planting a few mystery vegetables myself… I just pray I can keep up with it. You guys will see it in January.

    As for politics, the hell with them both. I’m going to continue to play the lottery with hopes that one day Clint, our family, and I can reside in a simplistic, non-materialistic oasis.

    All of our love💜

    Like

  7. ladynyo Says:

    Just lost my entire comment back! Just remember, that it’s all trial and error, and you have to look at your property with a ‘long haul’ eye. The raised garden bed is a great start! And I am so glad you have the energy and the SENSE to do this work. Where you are, you can have at least 3 crops of veggies and herbs a year. That is a blessing. Start slowly and with love and devotion to the soil, and you will expand your ideas. Put in a few fruit trees….Plums and peaches are good, thoughwhere you are, you have around the year fruit. Will see you in January? That is the date of the wedding? In any case we will be there with bells on. All of our love back! Aunt Jane and Uncle Fred.

    Like

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