Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Day I Quit Gardening

Miniature Parade Roses at Mrs. White's Vermont Home.



I have always considered myself an amateur gardener.  I struggle with doing the work, and find myself constantly distracted by other things - like butterflies, pretty wild-flowers, and listening to the birds.

Each summer I have tried to do a little bit of gardening.  I take it slow. Often I only attempt to grow cucumbers, which I love for summer salads and tea sandwiches.  But always we have our strawberries and blueberries, which provide us with a small harvest, despite my lack of effort.


The little strawberry garden and blueberry bushes on the back grounds of Mrs. White's property.


This is not because I am lazy. It is not because I lead a pampered life.  It is because I am enjoying the work indoors. I am baking, vacuuming, dusting, making homemade food, visiting with the family, mending in the parlour, and being a gracious hostess to our frequent guests - who are mostly our grown children and our precious grandchildren. I am reading stories to little ones, getting juice and snacks, or I am folding the laundry and taking breaks to read a lovely story that gives me a time of rest and recreation.

I have noticed that my walks outside, on our two acres, are an incredible respite from all I am doing inside.  I love to see the river behind our land.  It is often raging and high in the spring, but low and peaceful in summer.


The gentle, summer river on the back grounds of Mrs. White's property.


I am often drawn to this area of the grounds.  I will stare at the rushing river and watch as there are waterfalls among the rocks.


Another view of the River on the back grounds of Mrs. White's Home.

I was starting to miss these little walks that brought me great happiness.  Our cucumber garden has been flourishing all season. I was gathering the berries and then the many cucumbers that seemed to be more numerous than I could manage. (I was giving away bags of this to some of my grown children.)  Each day, it seemed, there was more work than I could manage.  I am not one who has ever learned to "can" or preserve what we grow. Honestly, I struggle enough to do my regular work and spend time resting with the family. I do not have the strength to do much more.  I do not want to do more.

One morning, I became so stressed about the abundant crop of cucumbers, and realizing I could not keep up with all the labor, that I sat down with my husband and said, "I just cannot do this anymore."  He smiled. He knew I was doing too much, but he thought I had been enjoying the work. I had not been.  I said, with a relieved smile, "so I quit."  And that was settled. I will not let myself feel guilty. Someday I might change my mind. But for now, I do not have to be a gardener.

We will certainly continue with our berries.  Perhaps my husband will do his own gardening next season since he enjoys being busy outdoors.  We have even discussed planting a few more pretty flowers, like the miniature parade roses that are in the photograph above.  I would like to have beautiful things on the grounds, that do not mind neglect, as I walk around the property to rest from all my labor indoors.


Our country driveway at Mrs. White's Home.

I am thankful for the food I can purchase at my local store. I can fill up my pantry with sale items and find the most nutritious options to bring home. I can "gather our food from afar," and not try to do it all on my own. I appreciate the farmers and the gardeners that do all this labor for those of us who are not able. This is a blessing and a relief.  I am grateful to have this option!


Blessings
Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Living Content on a Modest Income - Standard of Living.

Organizing the Work - Days of Housekeeping.

What Many of Us Crave - An Ordinary Life at Home.






Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs.White's book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking.  Paperback, 274 pages.










An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 






20 comments:

Sallie Borrink said...

I agree! I love the idea of having a big garden and shelves full of things I've canned, but it isn't possible for me either.

I, too, am thankful I can carefully shop and provide for my family in that way.

Have a lovely Sunday,
Sallie
SallieBorrink.com

Laura Lane said...

I think your decision is quite sensible. Well done Mrs. White.

Elizabethd said...

God morning Mrs White,
I do understand your feelings about the amount of work a garden creates. This year I have had to reduce so much of my gardening, so no vegetables except tomatoes. Even that has beem a chore sometimes....but I do enjoy freezing them for the Winter.
With your two acres there must be so many lovely areas where you can just sit and enjoy the beauty of natural growth. I think roses in pots are so pretty and they dont need a lot of looking after.

Winkel's Crazy Ideas said...

Every year we pick loads of wild berries. We make jam and drinks, pies etc for winter. This year I havn't picked a single wild berry. Health has been rotten so I just left it. Not going to feel guilty. We all do the best we can, and that, is enough. Blessings, Pam

Rose said...

Thank you for sharing this about yourself. Now I don't feel so bad about starting a vegetable garden. I do want to plant flowers and landscape shrubs, but not vegetables, I rather go buy them. And the same with owning chickens,no thank you! A dozen eggs don't cost that much:) Have a great day and great week Mrs. White!


MIchelle said...

Dear Mrs. White

My husband was terminally ill and I was having my yard landscaped after having to dig around the foundation that spring. I went with Day Lilies, Hostas and Live Forever's or they may be called Never Dies.

I did not want anything I had to take care of and that would come up ever year and stay nice. I don't know if any of these would grow where you live. What a relief not to worry about the plants.

I love them because they all attract bees and butterflies.

SIRVIENDO AL SEÑOR said...

DEAR SHARON: NO SE SIENTA MAL POR ESO, UNO DEBE CONOCER SUS PROPIAS LIMITACIONES, HASTA DONDE PODEMOS LLEGAR EN NUESTRAS TAREAS, LO IMPORTANTE ES SENTIRSE BIEN, DE A POCO HACER LO QUE UNO PUEDA, NO EXIGIRSE DEMASIADO YA QUE DESPUES VIENEN LOS PROBLEMAS Y DOLORES. YO TAMBIEN HAGO LO QUE PUEDO, MI JARDIN ESTA BASTANTE DESCUIDADO, NO TENGO DEMASIADO TIEMPO, TENGO 6 HIJOS Y 4 SON MENORES DE EDAD Y 3 DE ELLOS SON DISCAPACITADOS, ME LLEVAN TIEMPO Y ESFUERZO Y MUCHAS VECES ME SIENTO CANSADA, LE PIDO A DIOS FUERZAS PARA SEGUIR ATENDIENDO LA FAMILILIA Y HACER LAS TAREAS DEL HOGAR, YA NO SOY TAN JOVEN TENGO 59 AÑOS, ASI QUE LO QUE HOY NO PUEDO HACER, MAÑANA LO HARE, LLEGA UN MOMENTO EN LA VIDA QUE HAY QUE TOMAR CONCIENCIA DE QUE YA NO SOMOS JOVENES Y NUESTRO CUERPO SE VA DESGASTANDO., YA A ESTA ALTURA DE NUESTRAS VIDAS, NO TENEMOS QUE DEMOSTRARLE A LA GENTE LO QUE SOMOS, COMO SOMOS. BENDICIONES HERMANA, SIEMPRE LEO TUS COMENTARIOS..

Dianne said...

Thank you for sharing this because I often feel as if I have failed in this area, even though I so admire those who garden and can. I've never learned but I, too, am busy indoors mostly. It was nice to read that you, and other sincere homemakers, are not able to 'do it all, either. Thank you. I love your blog. :)

ladypinktulip said...

I too have quit gardening. And canning. And sewing. I enjoyed all that when I was well. I am not well at all now. We love our local farm stand for fresh produce a couple of times a week. I feel better indoors and I keep busy with the homemaking I can do and also embroidery and coloring. Kelly

janelle said...

Learning to say "no" is a gift and for everything in life, there is a season. Enjoy your peaceful respite <3 Blessings!

Jennifer Williams said...

Mrs. White, I have always wanted to be a gardener. However, I have struggled with having the time and energy. So many people I know garden and can/preserve, so I think I should be able to also. I feel guilty at times, but I focus on what I consider more important priorities, keeping a home, raising my children, and helping with my grandchildren. I try to support our local growers by buying fresh vegetables from the farmers nearby. Thank you for your wise perspective on this topic. :-)

Amelia said...

Hi Mrs. White, Oh I so understand how you feel *sigh* (smile).

I have been having some of the same thoughts even on flower gardening. I'm looking into the toughies, the ones who really flourished this year without a lot of babying. I'm also looking out for things that grow wild and make pretty flowers that I can plant artfully without much care.

Your vegetable garden must be a lot of work indeed! We have two fig trees and a peach tree. Just the fig trees kept me quite busy and I finally started freezing bags of them, maybe I will make something with them! I love figs and peaches so no complaining but I can't imagine having anything else to process in any way. I'm like you, I have many things to do inside the home. It seems by the time 2pm rolls around I'm tuckered out! : )

Enjoyed hearing your thoughts, so nice.

Blessings! ~Amelia

jlynn said...

Thank you for the post. I appreciated reading it. Janet

Amanda Jones said...

I also like gardening a lot. I have little kitchen garden at the left side of my home which I maintain myself regularly. this small garden needs so much care, I can really understand how much time you have to invest to take care of your garden. But wise decision to take a break or yourself!

Dianna said...

Thank you for saying this! Over the years I've been feeling that I don't have enough energy to keep up with the indoors and the outdoors as well! It's nice to know one's limitations and not try to run faster than one has strength!

Linda said...

I do like to garden, but can't physically do it like I used to. We have 25 different sorts of fruit trees on our land and also grow a small vegetable garden. I like to always have herbs, Not all the trees produce abundantly. silverbeet, carrots, lettuce, zucchini and tomatoes. These are my staples :) I've possibly pruned half of the fruit trees wrong because I didn't really know what I was doing, but they still produce a little and the plums a huge amount each year. We mostly give them away. I used to do a lot of canning, we just call it preserving in New Zealand, but now I only do a few things that we enjoy, like relish, salsa and a little bottled fruit. It only costs $2.50 for a bag of frozen green beans here and while they may not be organic at that price, its still less work than me sweating all summer in a hot kitchen. I hear your heart. Blessings to you ~ linda

Mother of 3 said...

I always love the idea of a garden but they are a lot of work and I do not enjoy that hot, sweaty, dirty work. I know some people do but like you I'd rather be out walking in nature than wrangling with it. Most years 99% of anything I tried to grow died or caught some sort of fungus anyway so I too quit and just enjoy the crops of others or those foods I can buy through the store and farm stands. Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

happyathome said...

I have always loved my gardening and i also do lots of canning but of the last 2 years when i see the cheap in season prices of fruit and vegetables ( even to preserve) compared to the cost of keeping a garden going with not only getting manures etc but the time it takes to do that i have lost the desire to be doing all the work as i have gotten older and especially since the passing of our son and the terminal illness of my husband. I will still can but in smaller amounts just for husband and i and a "little" to give away. My dearest friend and i thought we would never get to the stage of being too tired to garden but here we are. You have made the decision for yourself Mrs White and it is the best choice for you at this time. God bless and i pray you will find foods at prices that are good for your budget. Karen - New Zealand

Stacy said...

Visiting from A Wise Woman builds linkup, and I really enjoyed your post. It's hard for me to say no to things a lot! It's hard for me to be content with whats in front of me and what I'm capable of doing. Thank you for sharing this today, it makes me feel good to be encouraged to breathe and think- this homemaker job is a huge job, and its enough!!! :) Thank you!

Mrs. White said...

I am so encouraged by all the comments here! I can see I am not alone with being overwhelmed with gardening, along with everything else. Sometimes I have to say to myself, "I am only one person." (smiles) We can only do so much.

I also loved learning from those of you who continue to keep a garden. Perhaps someday I will be able to do it again. It is a blessing to have one's own garden. Maybe someday.