Wednesday, 18 February 2009
I am a very lucky lady. Truly I am.
I grew up on a smallholding, with parents who had coped well with wartime shortages, who knew how to make just about anything from anything.
We had chicken, pigs, the occasional duck (another story there for another day, rabbits and just about every vegetable and fruit that could be grown then (many of the so called tropical or more exotic fruit weren't grown as they just weren't available over here then - it would have been unthinkable to try to grow kiwi fruit when I was little !
My mom cooked everyday from scratch, she made jams, pickles, chutneys. She bottled fruit and vegetables, she dried pulses, she preserved in salt, she sewed, crocheted, and knitted pretty much everything that we wore. She decorated, she looked after the animals and she helped with the vegetable garden which was mostly under Dad's control. She also grew flowers to sell at the front gate - lupins, hollyhocks, gladioli, lillies and many more.
Dad had two huge greenhouses, both built by himself. One was always full of tomatoes, the other, red geraniums. I cant to this day look at a potted geranium and not think of him. The smell in the two greenhouses used to hit you as you walked in the door - fresh ripening tomatoes and the unique smell of the geranium leaves.
Dad was like Mom, he could turn his hand to anything and in fact had built the brick bungalow where we lived, by himself. He bought a set of drawings, found the acre of land and built our house, the pig stys, the sheds, the chicken house, the two huge green houses and the rabbit sheds all himself. His original idea had been to be as self sufficient as possible, but apparently swine fever hit his pigs early on the venture and he had to go out and get a full time job to rebuild the herd and supply an income to keep the family going.
I came into the equation very late in the proceedings. Mom was 44 and thought she was going through the change of life. To her understandable horror, she found out that she was five months pregnant! Dad was 50. My two sisters were 18 and 20 when I arrived on the scene, and as she had had what was known as 'white leg' after my next sister was born (thrombosis) and had spent most of my sister's first year in hospital, at 44, she was not very impressed to find out that she was going to be a mother again. (I do believe my father was threatened with castration round about this time.......)
Anyway, I appeared on the scene on my mothers birthday, a mere scragbag at five pounds in weight (damn well made up for it since ) and grew up with two of the most wonderful parents a girl could wish for. They were very different in personalities and seemed terribly 'old' to a child to a girl who's friends all had very young parents, but I loved them with all my heart and I know I was loved too - the little mistake who should never have been.
I don't think there is a day that goes by when I ask my self,what would Mom do with this, or how would Dad do that. I watched and I learned so much, without ever realising I was learning - everything was just ' how it was'. What is also so great is that I use so many of the skills I learnt then, every single day.
How lucky am I? SO LUCKY.
I had wonderful parents and I learned so much. I have two wonderful sons who are also my best friends and I have a wonderful soul mate in my husband who I get to spend a great deal of time with everyday.
Am I lucky? You bet your bottom dollar I think I am, and I count my blessings everyday !!!