I’m in the kitchen making lovely things with vegetables. Balsamic onions are simmering, a zucchini & Parmigiano frittata is cooling, and as I slice mushrooms for a dish yet to be decided, my thoughts suddenly veer off and I’m thinking back to life on the farm.
This time of year meant bringing in the harvest and preparing for the onslaught that is Canadian winter. Storing vegetables in the root cellar, Mom making her fabulous pickled beets, and cutting down a tree for firewood are memories as vivid as last week.
If you don’t know anything about farm life, know it’s hard work. From the time you’re old enough to take instruction while being of some use and not hurting yourself, there are things for even small hands to do on a farm with cattle, pigs, chickens & ducks, as well as, let’s face it.. what were fields of vegetables. And berries.
My very first job in customer service was at our farm stand. I’d be at the table, strategically placed in the shade, boxes of strawberries and raspberries piled high, mounds of corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes… and with a tackle box for change. Looking back, it’s kinda hard to believe that Mom would put me out there. As a child I was so very shy, I don’t know how I did it. But I had to. That was farm life.
I can also tell you that growing up knowing what hard work is will serve you well through life – whatever your life turns out to be. It also seems there’s some entertainment value in telling almost anyone, pretty much any story from farm life; it’s where my nickname ‘farm girl’ came from! Having older brothers, as you can imagine, was sometimes a blessing, and sometimes not so much… especially when one of their friends stops by and sees you running around in what can only be described as big ugly farm boots. Ha. The thing was, this same friend of my brothers rode the same school bus. I suppose in all my shyness and let’s face it cuteness back then, I was a perfect target for… “hey farm girl!”… shouted as I boarded the bus!
The best thing about cutting down a tree was cooking potatoes in the embers of the fire made from the gathered small branches & twigs. Once past the seriously blackened outside, what lay beneath was tender and flavourful; most satisfying and welcomed, when doing hard labour in the field. Thank goodness for older brothers!!
As Thanksgiving nears, remember to not take yourself too seriously. Count your blessings. Be grateful for what you are, and what made you~