Here is a bit of a thank you letter to all those who have given me my start in this urban homesteading adventure. I am so indebted to your wisdom. I am inspired by parents, friends, grandparents, and great grandparents.
I know I have always liked plants and nature in a vague and general way, but now that this passion has blossomed - so to speak - I am so grateful to have the knowledge of the people around me when I need it.
I am reminded of stories of great grandparents making up big chicken dinners on Sundays since they never knew how many people would be coming over after church. There wasn't a worry that there wouldn't be enough because the homestead was so well provisioned. Everything was right there on the farm.
I think that most of the people I come from have had a connection to the earth. That may be because historically it was necessary for their survival, but even in recent generations many traditions have not been lost.
I remember savouring my mother's crabapple jelly. She did not have a vegetable garden, but there was a crabapple tree that kept us in our favourite jelly every year. I remember one amazing harvest of 39lbs of fruit; apples with red so deep they were almost purple. There were so many that only the best were chosen. The blemished ones were left carpeting the ground below the tree attracting the only four point buck I have ever seen visiting that house.
I have fond memories of shelling peas at 'the farm'. There were so many that in the end my thumbs were sore from the repetitive motion but it didn't matter. The communal family time of us all gathered in the kitchen over a shared task outweighed any fatigue. The little peas seemed like green pearls to me at the time, and the few that missed the bucket for my mouth seemed sweeter than any I'd eaten before.
When I first forayed into gardening efforts on my own I commiserated with my grandfather about visiting deer. I asked for help from neighbours and friends who had been gardening for years in this climate. I am still learning about what works and what doesn't (mostly from experience). I love sitting in someone's kitchen talking about local wild plants or the new things and the old tried and true things they are growing.
I went on my first asparagus foraging trip with a neighbour. She bequeathed her knowledge as we walked and gradually I didn't need her help to identify where I might find the delicious spears poking out through the grass. Now I can go on my own and even pass on the knowledge to others. I want to be a solid link in this chain of wisdom. I want to be able to pass down this way of living in close symmetry with the world around me. God's creation gives so much and I want to steward what I can and pass these values on to the future generation.