Donna comments on yesterday’s post:
“This is the kind of info that helps me so much! I’ve only been gardening for a few years, and I learned most of my skills because of youtube. My grandparents were farmers in south Georgia…I’m talking full-blown, old school, everything-from-scratch, canning, ringing chicken necks, homesteading pioneer types. But I was too smart and sophisticated to care about any of that stuff then. A few years ago, I got this gnawing deep desire to start a garden. My grandparents had been gone a long time, so I turned to youtube. It took me a while to figure out who to listen to, and I made a lot of silly mistakes. When I found your channel, everything started to make sense, and it seemed like I might could actually DO this. I saw how you and your wife just figured out how to do things and seemed to have fun doing it. I remember Rachel showing us how to peel and deal with yams when y’all were living on the island, and also when she taught us how to ferment cucumber pickles in a jar. I still can see that rusted lid she put on the jar and I thought, “Hey, I’ve got some rusted lids, and I was going to throw them away. Maybe I’ll keep them.” And you, of course, who just instinctively knows how to GROW, and your reckless abandon with dirt makes it feel like all things are possible!
The following is a true story. The other day, I was trying to watch a youtube gardening video, and I was annoyed by several interruptions. I was trying to listen to my pressure canner through my cracked door as I was bottle-feeding our lamb on the porch. My loaf of einkorn bread was cooling on a rack, and I glanced up at my wall calendar and saw that it was time to take the pork belly out of the wet cure in the fridge and put it on to smoke for bacon. All this was whirling around in my mind, and I was seriously irritated that I had to keep re-starting my youtube video so I could learn to be a homesteader. At that very moment it occurred to me that maybe I was ALREADY a homesteader. I mean, canning, lamb, baking, bacon….kinda sounds like a homesteader. In all my zeal to learn everything, I forgot that I was actually learning along the way, and that I was even doing the things I had learned. I guess I was waiting for someone to give me a “certified homesteader” certificate from a youtube correspondence program that doesn’t exist.
I said all this rambling stuff to let you know that all your years of videos, and all the work that y’all have done really does pay off. There are people like me who heard a call to garden and were looking for our “Moses” to lead us through the wilderness into the promised land. And now that I’ve made it, even though I’m still on the edge of it looking in, I’m grateful for your help. Don’t ever forget what a difference you’re making. These “gardening hacks” you’re sharing are the kinds of things that should be passed down through generations. I just wish I had been smart enough to say these same words to my grandparents when I had the chance.
Wow. When I read back over this, it sounds a little melodramatic. Especially the “Moses” part. Oh well, I guess I love gardening and homesteading. So sue me.”
I get it. I wish I had learned more from my grandparents as well. What I would give for another day with them.
As for the learning side of things, it often feels like we haven’t done a ton and we really don’t know that much.
And we don’t, really. Not in the grand scheme of things. Every new avenue of study opens up further avenues of study like Mandelbrotian fractals spiraling off in all directions.
Yet if you look at your progress over time, you really can learn and do quite a bit with your limited human abilities.
This blog has been quite useful as we can look back and see the many things we’ve done, from building food forests to growing various crops, raising animals and moving overseas and back. Plus, keeping a reading list for the last two years has been inspiring. I enjoy checking off each book as I finish it. (Though this year I’ve switched from reading about gardening to studying theology as I research Church Tradition, which I’m sure is less interesting to most readers here.)
You ARE growing, Donna. Piece by piece, day by day, one foot in front of the other. We’ll never know everything, but we can always learn something new. Counting what you’ve learned over the years and listing achievements can be another way of “counting your blessings.”
You can say Look where I was! Now look where I am!
From store bread to Einkhorn and Hormel to home-cured is a great journey.
There are opportunities to learn everywhere. If you see something intriguing, follow the fractal and see where it takes you. If you meet someone new, listen to his story. If you see a path through the woods, walk it.
That’s the way to get somewhere.
That was a very good read, I enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your experience Ms. Donna
Please tell us more about the theological reading! The interplay between Nature and God is always where I’m at.
Thank you. I am researching the history of the church and Roman Catholicism. I was hunting for the Apostolic Faith, and started with the Eastern Orthodox, then became convinced that the Roman Catholic side was more correct. Or at least, more a part of my European heritage. Since then, we have been attending a traditional Gregorian Mass.
that is great, very happy for you and your family 🙂 there seems to be an awakening to the mystical side of things all over the place. I think Mother Mary is a big part of this, especially in those of us who are ‘men of the soil’, so to speak. even if it doesn’t translate into changing churches, I think it’s the prophecy of Joel happening now: And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions ~ Joel 2:28