Friday, June 22, 2012

To-mato, or not to-mato?

Earlier this week, I received a call from Colt's aunt. Everyone endearingly refers to her as, "Auntie." I {always being uncomfortable calling anyone who's not actually my aunt/uncle as such} had absolutely no problem calling her Auntie after falling madly in love with her.

She is absolutely wonderful.

Her smiles could brighten any room and her energy level makes me feel like a sloth. She is a constant cheerleader to all of her children's endeavors and supports her husband in all of his pursuits.

When I think of what kind of at-home-mommy/wife I want to be, I think of Auntie frying us chicken "just because Colt loves it." When I'm tired of cleaning, I think of Auntie and how she sweeps up after us again and again as we trudge in mud from a day of riding four-wheelers. And of course, when my back is aching from carrying WL around on my hip all afternoon, I think of Auntie strolling through the yard with a sense of urgency just to water a plant or move her car out of the direct sunlight.

She works like a Trojan; because she wants to. Rough and tough and completely self-sufficient.

So when I got her call earlier this week, declaring WL had been away from her for entirely too long {10 days to be exact- "But who's counting?" she claimed}, I was happy to oblige. We decided that Wyatt and I would come over on Friday to catch up and spend some time together.

The visit, as always, was wonderful. Colt's sister lives next door to Auntie, so it was a two-fold visit of spending time with my niece and nephew, sis-in-law, and Auntie + Uncle Bill.

We sat under the trees and chatted as Wyatt finished his nap in my adjacent car. We chatted together and Auntie stole "sugars" and gobbled at W's baby-fat-double-chin.

And then we went to pick the garden.

Now, I hate to put the wagon before the horse, but having a garden sounds like an absolutely wonderful and cost-effect DIY project. I can't wait to plant my own next spring. It's the most simple thing in the world, right? You plant it, water it, and tend to it; in return, it grows.

My dilemma while loading up on tons and tons of free goodies (bell peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and corn- yum!) was this: Do the savings the garden provides justify the cost of the garden itself?

I asked both Auntie and Uncle Bill. Although both of their estimations of how much the garden actually cost were completely different {$20 vs. $200}, we all decided that either way, it paid for itself.

As I carried away 3 over-flowing grocery sacks of produce, I had to agree. I believe that the vegetables I brought home today would probably cost anywhere from $30-$60 at the market, easily.

So, my question is this: to-mato, or not to-mato?

Is a garden worth the time? the effort? the initial start-up cash? purchasing a tiller?

Have any of you tried your hand at creating a family garden? How'd it work out? Were you overwhelmed with too much produce, or did you size it according to your family's needs?

My first jar of pickled banana peppers, fresh from Auntie and Uncle Bill's garden. The jar is an old spaghetti sauce jar I saved and painted. Uncle Bill let me know that to pickle peppers, there's no need to actually use a canning jar-- anything you have on hand will do-- even a gladware container!


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