I did not grow up in a family that did any of the homesteading-type things that I do now. We bought all of our food from the grocery store, most of it came out of a bag or box, and we did not hunt. I always loved animals, and since we didn’t have a farm I filled that space inside of me with many well-loved pets. And I spent as much time as I could at my grandmother’s house.
My grandmother lived in a neighborhood and therefore didn’t have a “farm.” But she did what she could with the little space she had. She had an AMAZING garden. I didn’t know it when I was a child because I didn’t understand gardening as I do now, but she was shockingly successful considering our location and very short growing season.
She also composted, canned, sewed, quilted, knit, braided rag rugs, embroidered, had a wood stove for heat, and many other things that I consider “homestead” since I grew up in a very “citified” way. She had lived through the great depression and knew how to do without and how to make what you couldn’t afford to buy.
I loved going to her home and doing all these activities with her and learning from her. She was the person who first brought to life the farm/homesteading desire that I believe was already inside of me. She cultivated it. She took the seed that was there and put it in some good dirt, gave it some water and watched it grow into a seedling.
More important than that she taught me to serve others. She never told me to serve others, she just taught me through her example. She was constantly serving her friends, family, and even strangers. I saw how that blessed both those she served and her. I saw that it was important because she lived it, not because she told me to live it. She had friends on every continent due to her many years of world travel and kept in touch with all of them for decades through what we now call “snail mail.” She taught me, through her example, to love God and to learn about Him through the Bible. I can’t count how many times as a child I played at her feet while she was reading her Bible.
When I got married my grandmother gave me a decorative plate (the type you hang on the wall, not eat off of). Here it is:
My grandmother told me that when she saw it she thought of me and pictured me living on my little dream farm with all my children running and playing. I have cherished that plate ever since she gave it to me.
She was very happy when we were able to start our dream farm. She wanted to see it and meet our cow last summer so badly, so we got her little 95-year-old self parked as close as we could with the car and then helped her slowly walk over to the fence to see her. She loved her and said she was so pretty. She loved the fact that we were farming. She loved the fact that I sewed, knitted, quilted, canned, and still loved doing all the things she had taught me. In her older age, when she wasn’t able to live at her own home and do all the things she used to, she came to my house to do them with me. She sat in my garden while I worked, she helped my children and I can our produce, she rolled balls of yarn while I knitted, and she continued to care for those seeds she planted inside of me so many years ago that were now full-grown plants. When she lost her ability to sew, several years ago, she insisted that I have her sewing machine and all of her sewing and quilting tools and accessories. I treasure them and tell my children stories of her when we use them.
My grandmother passed away last Friday after almost 96 years of life. I was blessed to be able to spend many of her last hours with her as she prepared to go home to Jesus.
I will forever carry her in my heart because what she taught me helped me become who I am now. My favorite things about myself were cultivate by her. And those things are now being cultivated in my children, and they will pass some to their children, and on and on.
She left an amazing legacy.