An Urban Farmer


Post by community member:

“Never will I marry a farmer. Never.” I thought those words so many times as I watched my parents struggle to feed seven children and fight the weather year in and year out. Rain when it was needing to be dry. Dry when moisture was desperately needed. I spent hours chasing cattle, feeding calves, helping with milkings…. Some of the cattle became the meat we ate. We milked about 50 cows, which provided the milk for us to drink. We raised chickens–both for eggs and for meat. Additionally, I was very involved with fighting to grow a garden in order to have food to eat year round.

The budget was tight and that garden meant needed food. It was our grocery store. Five gallon bucket after bucket of peas to shell. I got so I could do it with both hands at the same time. Buckets of green beans lined up to snip off the ends. Strawberries, raspberries, and Saskatoon berries to pick for mom to make into jams. I was so very scared of spiders back them, and they loved the berry patches. I was terrified to pick. Also, hours and hours of weeding. Then came the cold fall when we’d get off the bus and see the buckets yet again in the garden, but now they were on the end where the potatoes were planted. No matter the weather, when it was time to pick up all the potatoes, we would do it into the evening. We carried the buckets into the dugout (side of the hill where the underground storage was for carrots and potatoes). In the middle of winter we knew we’d be digging out the opening to that storage to get yet another pail to eat.

The farm in Canada where I grew up.

Many memories of the farm haven’t been pleasant. Work, work, and more work to just survive. I shudder to recall the seriousness of it. My husband, when we first got married, made me promise that we would NEVER visit the farm when tractor work was needed–especially hay season. I readily agreed. Yet, I’ve missed those potatoes. I now recall that those potatoes were so flavorful and were grown in the most beautiful rich deep black soil. They weren’t sprayed with any chemicals. Mom and Dad used the manure from the barn to till into the soil. The carrots were incredibly sweet. I remember being a young tike pulling them out when mom wasn’t looking–wiping the dirt on my pants–and eating them when they were still fairly small. It was our candy. We ate strawberry sandwiches and strawberries on anything during the summer–as much as we wanted to eat. Fresh raspberries in crepes and on ice cream and the best jam….

Now, life has changed. Oddly, I never knew that my future held a very bizarre twist of fate. I guess that my childhood has set me up with some quirks. I really do have to just laugh at myself. Growing a garden is now very important to me. Yes, my family could live on purchased goods. However, my garden has gotten pretty fair-sized. I spend hours studying seed varieties, plants, and gardening techniques.

My garden jungle at the start of fall with the colors hitting the trees and tomatoes on the ground, picked individually to keep varieties separate.

I carefully tend my “babies” each end of winter into spring. Those seedlings are critical to growing healthy, nutritious food that is uncontaminated.

Plants on racks growing indoors.

Recently hubby jokingly said, “The babies can go on a field trip today as the weather looks great!” I was helping the plants harden off from a chilly spring to outdoor survival on the porch. My husband is readily out there with me weeding, planting, digging, dunging.

Outdoor hardening off of containers of plants.

It’s become a great time to talk. He even helps me to can things, to make jams, to pick berries and…. Overall, I am pleased with where life has brought me. I kept that promise to myself–I didn’t marry a farmer. Although, amazingly, I have become one, and my husband is right beside me. Urban farming rocks!

You can also find Moopsee at Yahoo’s Canning2.

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  1. Barbee says:

    Moopsee, what an interesting post! Thank you for writing for us. It is amazing, isn’t it, how life carries us along through all the twists and turns and sometimes brings us back, or nearly back, to the way it was. Just thinking of both you and Suzanne. You learned a lot while working with, and for, your parents. That’s something no one can take away from you.

  2. CindyP says:

    It is amazing how life does do that to us. I wanted so badly to leave the boonies of an area when I was 18, now I only want to go back.

    Did your hubby know he was going to be a farmer when you married? LOL!

    Thank you for your post, Moopsee, I loved it! 🙂

  3. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Love the post Moopsee! I grew up on a farm, moved away for it for about 15 years and ended up about a mile from where I grew up doing the same thing again and loving every minute of it. I had such a happy childhood but it was HARD work. I ran away for a little while (long enough to find my husband LOL) but the “goodness” of it all called me back and made me want to raise my boys to appreciate all of it.

    My husband WAS a city boy from Nashville TN and he had no idea he would be driving a tractor, setting fence posts and building goat and pig pens when we married but he’s loving every minute of it.

    Thank you so much for a wonderful post.

  4. David says:

    Growing up I always wanted the farm life but I also could see that just wasn’t in the cards. I went off to college to be educated and eventually to take an “easy” job.
    Fast forward more years than I’ll admit and I’m sitting here in what was my grandparent’s bedroom (now my study) back where I was raised. In some ways things are the same but in many they are different. Full circle certainly, lots of strange twists as well.

    Thanks for the post.

  5. scorwin says:

    Thanks for the farm post. My father and all his brothers and sister grew up on the farm. One brother stayed when he got of age and kept the farm. It was mostly apple orchards but other crops too. I have always lived in small cities but I had this yearning to live in the country so that I could have a big garden. About 15 years ago my late husband and i moved to sort of the country on just 1 square acre. But it was big enough for my 20 X 30 garden, which I still have today. I love digging in the earth. My husband never understood that feeling. Strange how things go back in time. Now, if I could learn to can!!!

  6. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Thanks for a wonderful post Moopsee! It sure gets in your bones doesn’t it?

  7. Dede ~ wvhomecanner says:

    Mel, I sure hope we get to see the fruits of your labor as these babies go out on their own – maybe some pretty pics showing us the many varieties of tomatoes as they ripen? Hmmm ?
    Great post!

  8. Moopsee says:

    Thank you all so much for your very kind words. Yes, there will be many pictures down the road. I love my babies! As of today, they are all finally in the ground. I have yet to count how many varieties, but it is over 50. Hubby was out there helping – it is so fun to finally get a bit of time together even if it is out fighting the mosquitoes. As to canning, the reference that is at the end of my blog: canning2 (at) is sooo wonderful! I cannot recommend the fine support I get there and watch others also so readily receive! Do come on over for some specific help!

  9. Julie B says:

    I’m sure a childhood like that was hard with all the work, but I’d give anything to have the wealth of knowledge you have as a result of it! Great story, great post! I’ll definitely be checking out your blog and the yahoo canning forum.

  10. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    Great post! I agree with Julie B., I would love some of that know how!

  11. NorthCountryGirl says:

    Love your post, Moopsee. I was born in the country and have lived most of my life there. I remember snapping beans, shelling peas, husking corn, helping Mom with the canning and freezing. It was “work” then but now I’m glad I did it. Keep up the good work and thanks for a fine article!

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