Growing up, my parents would send us back to our grandmother's Southern MN acreage. She had about 8 acres, complete with abandoned farm buildings, grove and burn pit. Add to the mix firearms, corn fields, fireworks, tornados and random fruits growing in the most unlikely places and you'd be imagining my summer childhood.
It wasn't unusual to roll up the dirt road, road weary from the long drive from TX and Grandma would greet you with either a warm meal on the table or a stroll to show you her latest find on the property. Stretching the legs was always a win after that 16-hour car ride. Those are some of the best summers of my childhood I spent with my siblings and cousins at Grandma's place:
-climbing into the barn lofts (and swinging from them)
-discovering barn cats and their kittens
-turning the granary into a clubhouse
-chasing lightning bugs at dusk
-Swimming lessons at the YMCA
-Free access to the shotgun and had guns grandma kept in her kitchen with the warning "don't shoot the songbirds!"
-Shooting gofers, rabbits, and numerous water-filled milk jugs
-burning fallen branches in the burn pit and toasting marshmallows
-shooting off fireworks
-Driving her riding-lawnmower
-pilfering the strawberry patch
-eating fresh sweet corn
-racing tornados home
-turning any chore into a blast because grandma knew how to make anything fun
However, the common thread I share with my grandmother and her son (my dad) is our love of discovering and uncovering nature's secrets.
My past summers matured into a strong desire to recreate at least some of that childhood magic for myself and my own family. So, here I am, building my own little food forest, teaching my son about the wonders of nature, showing the neighbor kids what their food looks like before it hits the grocery store.
The best part is laying in my hammock after a long weekend of gardening work and stare at my haven as the soft peach of evening leaves a rosy glow and fades to the lavenders of yesteryears dreams. Royal blue deepens to navy nights and the stars share in the twinkling of the white incandescent xmas lights. The day has come to a close. My son or husband usually flips on the porch light and asks "what are you doing...?" to which I respond " just... looking" I sometimes get an "oooooohkayyyyyy" from my son or my husband's "she's crazy but hey, if it makes her happy" face.
They don't get it really but I think my son has a touch of the garden bug as he's requested his own plot this year.
It makes me feel good to be in the dirt, to feel the sun, to chug water and eat my own fruits after an honest day's sweat. Nothing better.
I live for my weekends, for my time to feed my desire to grow and nurture life.