The Longest Summer on Record

by Heidi
(Nebraska)

I can say that it was the longest summer on record, now that I am snowed in after the Nebraska Christmas Blizzard of 2009. The winter has officially just begun and I cannot wait to break virgin ground in the yard for a vegetable garden in our new home. The home itself is not new, nor are the corn and bean fields around our home which was built in 1898.

My family and I moved to our new home in June 1, 2009 and unfortunately with my son graduating, me starting a new job and my husband going to school as well as two other children going in different directions all at the same time, I was unable to get a vegetable garden in.

I have started all of my garden seeds inside for the past several years. Then I babied them and transplanted them into our small 30' x 30' garden off the kitchen. My husband and I enjoyed tilling the ground, and watching the water softly hit the growing plants in the morning while we drank our morning coffee out on the deck. We did all the harvesting and canning together. It has been some of my most precious memories with my best friend.

Last year, I lost my job to downsizing, and struggled to find another job. We subsequently lost our family home to foreclosure. I just wanted to be able to get my oldest son graduated from high school without anyone knowing my failures. I succeeded, but was forced to move two weeks after graduation. I was blessed enough to find another job nine months after my layoff. I took odd-jobs in the meantime.

The challenges were great, but the emptiness I felt not going out and caring for our vegetable garden, drinking coffee with my husband watching the plants soak up the cool water and unwinding after a long hard day picking weeds by hand, made me feel so lost.

At the end of summer, my husband and I drove by a greenhouse that had all of their tomato plants free for the taking because of the end of the season. I asked him to stop and we backed up and parked. I grabbing the few that were left. I felt like Charlie Brown and his poor Christmas tree! I nursed the plants as best as I could and was granted a dozen tomatoes right before the frost.

Looking back on the year, I have some regrets, but like gardening, there is always next year. I am thankful for a roof over my head, the health of my family and my job. But most of all I am thankful that the good Lord has given me another opportunity for another season.

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