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Where Eggs Don’t Come in a Box

December 15, 2018

Another Way for week of December 14, 2018

Where Eggs Don’t Come in a Box

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts I was ever given was the opportunity to grow up on a farm. I’m part of a very small group in our U.S population who is only one generation removed from farm life.

Believe me, as a girl, I would never have called it a gift or an opportunity. It was a chore—endless, daily or twice-

The farm near Middlebury Indiana where I grew up. Now an Amish farm.

a-day chores that made me different from all my town friends, or even different from my friends whose fathers kept a farmette going on the side of their regular job, to supplement income. Most of our mothers in that community and generation were full time homemakers.

Our chores—gathering eggs each evening—meant we couldn’t be in 4-H or scouts, and although we did begin playing interscholastic sports in junior high and high school, Mom and Dad rarely came to games. My sister was a star player, yet I think they only ever saw her play a handful of times even in high school or college. They weren’t bad parents—that was how parents did back then. At least parents of girls. Chores also kept my parents busy during typical late afternoon “sports.” The farm was a handicap to my social life, or so I thought. I should add that Mom or Dad did pick us up from practice or a game, or we carpooled, so we were allowed the privilege of team sports.

But let’s get back to the farm. I thought about this when an older retired pastor led the children’s time at church recently asking the children if they knew where the tradition of Thanksgiving came from, emphasizing the harvest celebration of food. The little ones were generally stumped on this, and his point was helping the children learn where Thanksgiving turkeys (and Christmas hams) come from. Do kids know that milk comes from—not a jug, but a cow’s body? That eggs don’t come from a box, but from the inside of a chicken?

Husband Stuart picking pole beans.

My husband and I started our first garden when we bought our first home. His dad didn’t have a farm but was a master gardener, known for the bounty of his garden. So our garden and its hard work was first more my husband’s idea than mine. But now that we have grandchildren it gives me joy to let them pick cherry tomatoes and pull carrots. They’re not quite big enough to pick green beans and corn, but at least they know where these veggies come from.

Grandson Henry learning to can beans.

Many young families and couples in their 20s or 30s are finding their way back to the land—starting vegetable or fruit farms to sell produce at auctions, farmers’ markets, or restaurants and local food co-ops. My youngest daughter just told me that the family of one of her best friends is moving to a small farm for just such purposes—helping a brother-in-law who’s already involved. I would have never guessed it of this particular young woman—an extraordinary pianist. I’ve been amused at how some of the city friends from my youth, those I envied, their children have ended up on such farms.

Psalm 67—written as a song for a musician ends with a beautiful blessing for the land: “The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will revere him” (verses 6-7).

Was that written for us, today, just one year away from the futuristic sounding 2020? It seems to speak to the need for all of us on earth to take care of the precious land, water, crops, flowers, animals, birds and butterflies. Three millennia have passed since the Psalmist wrote those words, and yet I feel a powerful connection across the centuries. Some of that connection comes from my father who tilled and worked the land for his animals and our livelihood and our food.

Thanks, Dad and Mom, that I grew up gathering eggs.

***

Read about the “fight” my sister and I got into gathering eggs one day.

***

Do you enjoy raising things? Or do you do it out of necessity?

***

What do you love about your growing up days? What would you rather forget? Comment here!

Youngest daughter Doreen showing up some tall tomato plants and some taller sweet corn from our original garden.

And can still request our Another Way bookmark listing “Top 35 Books for Young Children,” to use and save for book gift ideas. Include a #10 self -addressed stamped envelope. Request from anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

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6 Comments
  1. Like you, I’m part of a very small group in our U.S population who is only one generation removed from farm life. We had crops but no animals though.

    I graded eggs for the farmer across the road from Grandma’s. Later, I fed steers and gathered eggs for a farmer’s wife, pregnant with twins at the time.

    • You definitely qualify as a farm girl. We never had milk cows and both Mom and us kids were secretly glad I think–my father felt they tied you down too much. We had a neighbor woman who gathered eggs for us if we needed to go away, and she could troubleshoot problems too. I’m sure you too have worked at making sure your grandchildren know this history and where food comes from!

  2. Look at that garden! I’m impressed. I’ve loved growing tomatoes for years – sometimes a few other things (zucchini!) until I moved to Texas. The clay soil here and summer heat just about killed my gardening spirit. Now I just enjoy the local farmers market in the summer. (Love the grandson getting an early canning lesson!)

  3. Trisha, that was one of the most prolific years I think: the rains must have come just right, and we used to apply manure regularly, when Stuart’s father was still living and he loved delivering loads of manure on a pick up or helping Stuart get some. Thanks for your comment and I can believe the heat and soil would dry up any gardening interest!

  4. Too many questions.
    I did happen to grow up with the last remnants of orchards of the Santa Clara Valley, and have never gotten away from it. I am a horticulturist and arborist now, but should be going back to growing rhododendrons and horticultural commodities as soon as I can. It is difficult when I enjoy all of my different types of work so much. I know I should be growing rhododendrons, but I also enjoy working for those who can use my expertise out in the landscape industry. Sadly, many of those I work for now want to grow more just because this is such an expensive place to live. It is sad to want to do it out of necessity.

  5. Are you saying some are growing things for a livelihood or extra income?? That reminds me of a homeowner not far from us, they grew a bunch of mums, had a nice little set up and watched those plans grow, wondering what they were and yes indeed they turned out to be mums. I don’t know if they didn’t have their market adequately researched or what, it looked like maybe they sold only 2/3 of them while the final 1/3 went to waste and turned brown eventually. I guess you know what kind of mum’s I’m talking about. Many locals also grow poinsettias in local greenhouses and sell them. I’m looking forward to getting one or two this week! Thanks for bringing your California perspective here!!

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