Growing up on the farm

TheGardenLady’s House on the Farm

We were poor when I was a child growing up on the farm. But so was everyone else in my community and the surrounding communities, so no child felt the poverty. That was how things were. Yet my parents worked hard. Hard physical labor. Especially my mother, who not only worked in the fields and had a small dairy that she took care of by herself, she had two small children at the time and took care of the house.

TheGardenLady’s Mother

My parents worked hard so that we always had food on the table. All summer we had an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and for the rest of the year Mom canned everything. No one had a freezer. The cellar was a dirt hole so it was cold like a root cellar. Foods like potatoes and onions could last a long time down there. And the shelves around the walls were filled with Mom’s canned food in glass jars. The jars looked as beautiful as any stained glass window any artist created.

In spite of all this labor, Mom loved flowers. I never thought to ask who planted the roses, the spirea bushes, the deutzia bush, the ornamental quince bush, the yucca, the apple tree, the lilacs, rose of sharon bushes, the gooseberries, weeping willows and other shrubs and trees that surrounded the house- they were just there. Yet this was a question I regret not having asked.

You see, my parents were the second family household to ever live on the farm. Before that the land belonged to Native Americans. The Leni Lenape Indians lived in New Jersey. And they must have spent time on the property that eventually became our farm. We bought the farm from a family who must have somehow bought it from the Leni Lenape- I wish I could learn more of that history.

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