Gardening: Protect and Provide
Sitting here writing this, I have been watching three male woodpeckers fight over one female. I have watched honeybees fly to and fro from their hive. I have seen squirrels chasing each other around the tree, and I have watched turtles poke their heads out of the pond.
While much of the rest of the country is under freezing conditions and feet of snow, I am sitting here enjoying a cloudless sunny day at around 76 degrees. Spring has, at last, come to the Gulf Coast. Am I bragging? Maybe just a little.
This is my second favorite season of the year, and it is absolutely my busiest. All around me is new life blossoming and sprouting. We have baby goats, baby sheep, and baby chickens running around the farm. Life has Renewed from the cold darkness of winter.
So begins my farming and garden. It is both a passion and a source of income. It is a way to educate others and provide security for my own family.
And as a man, husband, and father, there is not much more important than my family’s physical needs. I have been talking a lot lately about the need for localism and self-sufficiently. We are at the time of the year, but everybody gets to start from scratch. If you have raised food or not does not matter at this moment. It is your chance to catch up.
For the most part, the playing field is level amongst all growers. I obviously have an advantage in the infrastructure that I have built over the years versus a brand new gardener, but I have my seeds in the soil just like everyone else. There is a growing need and, thankfully, a growing realization for the need to not rely upon systems outside of our controls.
And as a man, this is absolutely crucial to your roles in the home. You are a protector and a provider; you are a teacher and a role model.
When the word protector comes to mind, as Americans, most of us think about the 9-millimeter strap to our hips or the boot knife. The thought that we are willing to kill anyone that messes with our family.
Not only do you protect your family from an attacker or any form of physical harm, in the world, being the protector comes with much more responsibility. As a protector, is it not your role to protect them from sickness? As a protector, is it not your role to protect them from hunger?
Shouldn’t you be protecting them from thirst or the elements? You see, the roles of a man mix together with the other roles to complete one entire masculinity entity.
Through our provision, we offer this protection from hunger and thirst. We offer our provision that protects them from sickness and the elements. That can be working a 9-5 and paying your bills or growing fresh, healthy, and nutritious food on your property. You are both protecting and providing for your family.
In the process of providing for their protection is the opportunity to teach your children these same sets of skills. When I was younger, spending the summer with my great grandmother, I absolutely hated working in her garden. My children, absolutely hate working in my garden. But from my great-grandmother came the knowledge and skills for me to begin doing the same as an adult. From me, my children will learn the knowledge and skills that they need he practice this as an adult.
Most of our ancestors were farmers. In one way or another, all of our ancestors raised food. Civilization itself was founded around agriculture. The barbaric tribes of Europe and the Native American tribes of the new world also turned to agriculture along with hunting and gathering.
If you have never gardened or hunted, or foraged for your food, these are skills that you should learn. If you are fortunate such as myself, to have these skills passed down to you, as they were passed down to me. Then you know that these skills are ancient. Sex may be the only thing we have known how to do longer than gardening.
I encourage all of you to take a moment to step back in time and learn the skills that are as ancient as humanity itself, and somewhere deep inside all of this, I believe that these skills exist genetically on some level. When walking through the woods, we subconsciously identify stuff that may not be edible or suitable for us.
I believe that common sense is made up of genetic memory. The reason some people have it more than others has to deal with how hard one’s ancestry had it through the years. I think our passions and interests come from this same genetic memory.
My challenge to everyone is to tap into that memory and rediscover what you never knew that you do know.