Friday, July 12, 2013

Victorious Women of Today--Of Course They Can!

During World War I and II people were urged to plant their own garden either in their own yard or in public parks to reduce pressure on public food supply.  It was considered to be a patriotic gesture as well as a civil morale booster during war times. Don’t miss the wonderful poster art that goes with these times. (Simply Google "Victory Garden Posters"--where I found these great ones!)

My favorite image is one in my head that combines these two posters: one of the woman pictured with her arms full of canned produce and the writing “Of course I Can” and the other of a Rosie-the-Riveter sort of woman, flexing her muscle and holding a pitch fork, though in my head she would be holding the canned produce instead.

While I was usually too tired from working to garden, I did enjoy being friends of nearby farmers that were willing to pass on the extra produce of  their gardens, just as I passed on my tomatoes and pumpkins the first year we moved to Vermont when I, too, had extras to share! I am proud to have joined the ranks of women that can proudly hail, “O Course I Can!”.

My first serious gardening experience turned out to be a tomato orchard, as I naively re-planted 98 tomato plants along with too many pumpkin seeds! (Read about the tomato farmer here). I never imagined they would grow and produce like they did and instead of opening a garden stand, and reaping the rewards of my efforts to send my kids to college, I “bought” new friends in this foreign rural land of Vermont, not an altogether bad investment.  Some friendships didn't last past the free-give-away-tomato-stage, but perhaps earned me victory points in heaven for contributing to spaghetti sauces for many a table? I also learned from a girlfriend that green tomatoes covered with a heavy blanket and left on a sheltered porch will ripen, providing fresh tomatoes throughout the entire winter, as opposed to my mushy frozen tomatoes good only for stews, soups and sauces.

The real success of this one-time surreal garden experience was that I planted the seeds of hope in my children becoming gardeners one day. And now we have a very real "Victory Garden" right in our own backyard. It has been my oldest daughter's work-in-progress for the past few years. It is a happy place and we are enjoying home-grown rhubarb, carrots, radishes, lettuce, broccoli, kale, dill, basil and peas and are looking forward to tomatoes, beans, squash and pumpkins as well!

I cheer for every dish put on the table straight from our garden.  I know the work involved and bless my daughter for all her efforts and seem to be getting used to our yard having that “potting shed” look.
Though our garden doesn't have the manicured look I prefer, it is wonderful to have it filled with fresh growing produce and the flower beds spilling over with a wonderful variety of flowers. Gardens are a lot of work, especially for people who work full time, but no matter what your garden looks like, it makes for good and healthy eating!! Thanks to my strong and capable daughter, Hannah, we have some wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables and will again count ourselves among the women who can proudly tout, "Of Course I Can! ( I, of course, credit the garden to Hannah's efforts instead of my own, but will join in putting up the produce and eating it too!

About my oldest daughter, Hannah: She is a graphic artist by degree, though abounds with other talents besides. After working in a local graphic art firm, she moved to Washington State to try her hand at working with kids with autism. Successful, but missing home and family, she moved back to Vermont and decided to work a summer at a local green house as a “fun, hobby-sort-of-job” and it has grown into a year-round career. Adding a bit of Yankee ingenuity and creativity, it has grown into one incorporating all of her skills in art, teaching, knowledge of plants and creative selling, albeit, not at the wages she deserves.

She is now in charge of advertising the owners’ four store locations in Vermont and New York, created their catalog, advertising their wonderful custom sheds, garages, green houses, gazebos, and modular cabins.  She is also involved in buying products, displaying and marketing them in their Vermont store as well as organizing the store's events and establishing their Kid’s Club program.

She promotes and shares her gardening and plant knowledge in our rural area and her special children's programs are being incorporated into local school and kid's activity programs as well! Customers appreciate her assistance in selecting plants appropriate to their needs, wants and gardening talents. Of course, this rave review is written by her proud mother who also uses her graphic art talents and computer skills in her Little House Home Arts business and blog! Give credit where it is due, Hannah's talents are beyond her mother's by far! Thank you Hannah for being such a wonderful daughter, business partner, gardener and model for the victorious women of today who also proudly tout, "Of course I CAN-- and DO"!!
(Of course men can CAN too!")