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The Accidental Farmer-Independence Day Approaches

Jun 20, 2015

Firework stands have been popping up like mushrooms after a summer rain.  My children eagerly await the firecrackers, bottle rockets, sparklers, and everything else explosive that is to be had this time of year.  The Fourth of July is a wonderful time of year, with many gardens just starting to issue forth their bounties.  What’s more American than corn on the cob and a cold watermelon at your picnics and barbeques?

Watermelons are available, none from my garden as yet.  The spring weather played havoc with my plants and I don’t expect any before August.  My tomatoes are setting and I can’t wait for the first ones to ripen.  I am a self-confessed tomato snob, and I refuse to buy grocery store tomatoes.  Grainy, flavorless, and often overpriced reddish pulp globes have no appeal to me whatsoever.  I have purchased some local greenhouse veggies from the Mennonites during the winter, and they are actually pretty good.  But nothing holds a candle to a tomato you grew yourself that has ripened in its own time in the hot summer sun.  Yum!

If you haven’t had the time or space to grow your own, I highly recommend you go to a local farmers market, the Sale Barn, or just stop the next time you see a guy in a parking lot selling produce out of his truck.  The quality is so much superior to the grocery store.  If you haven’t had a local summer tomato, then you have never had a real tomato.

Cucumbers seem to be doing well and I spied my first zucchini this weekend.  I was a bit behind on getting my stuff started, so I’m sure some of you have already enjoyed these from your garden.  According to MotherEarthNews.com, it isn’t too late to get many plants going.  If you think you are behind or don’t have enough time to grow a certain thing, I suggest you check.  Quite possibly it isn’t too late.

Summer brings one thing I could do without: skunks.  I was awoken a couple weeks ago by an unholy aroma wafting through my open bedroom window.  Skunks are especially dreaded by me.  When I was a kid, our house got sprayed.  The air conditioner was running and naturally, it sucked a bunch of the funk in.  The next morning, it seemed to have disappeared.  It wasn’t until I got on the school bus that I realized it didn’t magically go away-my nose had adjusted to the smell.  I went to school so stinky I nauseated most of my classmates and eventually got sent home by the school nurse.  Pretty traumatic stuff for a kid and I had to endure the rest of semester being called “Flower” like the skunk from Bambi; consequently I developed the ability to laugh at myself.  I can honestly say I have had my character shaped by skunks.

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As Independence Day approaches, it is now time to reflect on those who have made America the great nation we are.  For all of the troubles of the last decade, I truly believe that America is a great nation and that we still have an important place in the world.  Compared to the rest of the planet, I can assure there is nowhere else I’d like to live as a financially challenged farmer.  My family is well provided for and despite not having the luxury of buying everything we want, we are still far better off than so many others in this world.  My children have education, my daughters have equal rights, we are free from constant terror, and above all we have the ability to say “NO” and express our opinion.  Yes, our country could improve, and absolutely I believe there are some changes that are needed.  But at the end of the day, America is still a great place to be and I am thankful for the sacrifices made by everyone through the years, Founding Fathers to modern day military.  Thank you all.  Happy Independence Day!