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Grow It, Pick It, Enjoy!

Why eating from your own garden has great health benefits.

I always had a lot of respect for Rhonda’s horns, but my friend Carol would just laugh and say, “Isn’t she cute?”

When I was a kid, my friends and I went to the state fair each year. We’d go on rides that made our heads swim and our stomachs sick. We threw dimes that never landed in the fish bowls. We smacked our lips, gobbling hot pronto pups dripping with fat. And we went to the animal buildings.

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Furry bunnies, huge mama pigs with a dozen suckling piglets, goats “baaa-aaa”—ing. And we’d look for our friend from Sunday School, Carol Strand, who would be in the 4-H section with Rhonda, her cow.

I was always envious of Carol, who was allowed to stay the week at the fairgrounds. As I said, I had a lot of respect for Rhonda’s horns, but that always made Carol chuckle.

Recently, while I was visiting in Silverton, Oregon, Carol Strand (now Pattee) invited me to lunch at the farm where I used to visit her. Her parents are gone now, and the farm and big Victorian house belong to Carol and her husband Chuck.

Our lunch blew me away. Potato chowder…homemade, of course. I couldn’t stop at one bowl, and had to have two! Whole grain bread, also homemade…slathered with fresh blackberry jam. Sliced cucumbers fresh from her garden, and sweet just-picked peaches.

You would think that by then I was stuffed, and truthfully, I was. But, when I mentioned that sadly, I had missed the season for the big, fat, juicy, wild blackberries, Carol said, “I just picked some before you came!” So, yes, I had a big bowl of wild blackberries, too!

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Later, I staggered happily away from the table, and Carol showed me her garden…green beans, squash with curling vines, and corn, rising 9 ½ feet tall! (Just as the song says, “as high as an elephant’s eye!”) Then we visited her chickens, which lay all kinds of eggs, even beautifully shaded blue-green ones. A calf (Rhonda’s descendant?) pushed his nose through the fence, while I picked pears off a tree. “Do you have a garden?” Carol asked .

“Uh…er…well…I have some things…on my…uh…deck…” I replied, cringing a bit, thinking of my four little pots of thyme, basil, tomato and pepper. I doubt my five tiny watermelons will ripen before the frost. (One photo is of my hand holding a marble-sized watermelon. The other photos are of my friend’s happy animals and lush garden.)

Well, she surely showed me the wonders of eating from the fruits of one’s own labor! Maybe next year, I’ll extend my little garden and devote some of that lawn space to strawberries and raspberries. Yes, I think I will!

“God gives food to all…for his steadfast love endures forever.”—Psalms 106:23-25


Feel free to email me your environmental tips and questions!

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