Thanks to the generosity of my father-in-law and his bountiful garden, we shelled, chopped blanched, and bagged four bags of peas and eight bags of beans today. It's not a huge amount, but it's a start.
I've mentioned before that I'm not much of a gardener. It's true. I don't have the patience for it. When we first got married and bought our first house, we had a garden for awhile, because I just thought that's what you do when you start a family. After all, I was raised by salt-of-the-earth farmers with Mennonite work ethics and values - surely I could at least manage a garden. Once we started having kids, though, and I kept working full time, I gave up, realizing I wasn't very good at it and it was just adding unnecessary stress to my life.
But I've realized, despite my lack of gardening skills, that I quite enjoy the "laying up for the winter". There's something so grounding and "earth-motherish" about storing away food for your family.
I'm enjoying it so much, in fact, that I might consider trying a vegetable garden again next summer. I may have come up with a solution. I don't mind the planting or the harvesting, but I suck at the maintenance stuff. Julie really enjoys gardening, and so she may have her first mini part time job. I told her I'd consider hiring her to keep the garden from dying and the weeds from taking over. Between the two of us, we might be able to make it work.