Everyone has different views about Earth Day. Growing up in the 60′s and 70′s, Earth day used to mean “hippies”. Now that I am older and wiser, I know it means having a great respect for Mother nature. I am very fortunate, as I grew up in a farming community very close to a big city. So I really have had the best of both worlds. Growing up with farmers taught me not to take food for granted — it does not just magically appear on your store shelf. Growing up with lots of opportunity to go to the City taught me there are a lot of other people in the world with different food tastes other than just meat and potatoes.
When I was growing up, my grandparents lived in the City so there wasn’t much of a garden. However, I do remember we did only get fruits and vegetables that were local to our area and they were always very fresh. When I was in my early 20′s I had the opportunity to learn from a wonderful woman how to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables. I learned how to can tomatoes and green beans. I learned how to preserve strawberries (which grow very nicely in our area and are delicious fresh off the plant). I learned how to make homemade jelly (you can’t buy anything at the store like homemade). From my grandmother, I also can make a killer pie – nothing is better than a cherry pie made with the tart cherries grown around here. By the way, the Midwest grows pretty good apples too.
Now that I am in the second chapter of my life with my new husband, I plan to get back to my early adulthood a bit. This year, my dear husband and I plan to expand our garden a bit more and can all those wonderful vegetables we are growing (some from seed). We are also planting more heirloom vegetables than we have in the past. We are going to expand our herb garden and I am going to really try to dry more of those wonderful herbs this year. We are also going to create a real compost pile this year. It won’t be anything fancy, it will not be expensive — but it will get the job done.
We are going to expand the beautiful flowers in our yard. This I am doing all by seed. Yesterday, we dug all his old bird feeders out and filled them to treat our feather friends.
Our plans for the summer and fall include canning tomatoes, salsa and pasta sauce with vegetables grown from our garden. This year I AM going to figure out how to keep cilantro and basil through the winter….
We also love to take Saturday morning and visit our local farmers market. If we are really ambitious, we will drive up towards Michigan and stop at the great local places along the way (particularly during blueberry season). Both of us have done many of these things in the past, but with the two of us working towards the same goal we will be so much more successful.
So to bring this all back to my original topic — Earth Day probably means something different to everyone. For me it is to respect the land, respect our food.