Growing up in the hills of Tennessee, my grandmother always had us working. She was an old school Appalachian woman who knew you had to work to survive. We raised huge gardens as well as cows, pigs, and chickens. She also had us forage for edibles. I can remember walking miles and miles through the woods picking cherries, blackberries, and raspberries, searching for walnuts and chestnuts, climbing trees to pick apples and pears, and even wading through a creek picking greens. Of course, the work didn’t stop there, once you harvested something you had to preserve it. There was little use for the grocery store back in those days.
Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away when I was still a young girl and with her passing times changed and much of the effort to grow our own food went with her. When I got married, I was fortunate enough to live in her old house which stirred up a lot of memories for me and the desire to be more like her as she was my favorite person. As my family grew and the world changed, we had to decide to let that old house go after 25 years and move on, but I still hold all those memories dear to my heart and gardening is just one way I can still feel a connection.