Cabin Fever

Reader Contribution by Mel Boone
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How many people like me have cabin fever? I have so much cabin fever I feel like I’m going crazy. All the seed catalogs I’ve received are now well-worn and the pages are dog-eared as I look though them just one more time waiting for my orders to come in the mail. I’ve even picked up a few seeds at the hardware and retail stores in anticipation of warmer weather.

As I flip through all of those seed catalogs, I find myself daydreaming about the garden I would have if I had enough room for everything I would love to plant. I put together, in my mind, a wish list of all the fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees and bushes I think would be so wonderful to have. It boggles my mind how many varieties of tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, carrots and green beans there are. So many that it’s hard for me to pick just a few. I had a hard time getting my stepdad to believe there is such a thing as a white tomato. That is, until I showed him the Shumway catalog. Alas, how I wish I had room for some of those dwarf fruit trees I see in the Gurney’s catalog.

A small part of Mel’s garden; she dreams of more space to plant anything and everything.

Soon my daydreaming turns to reminiscing about my grandparents. I dearly miss them now as I wish my grandpa was still here. When I still worked at the local grocery store as a carryout, one of my customers told me that it’s a sad day when all the grandfathers are gone. I now know what she meant.

My father’s parents lived in town. They had a large backyard for a good size garden. I don’t remember everything that Grandpa Boone planted in his garden, but I do recall the corn he grew as well as the strawberries. I loved it when Grandma Boone would send me “out back” to pick some gooseberries. I felt like the most important person in the world.

My mother’s parents lived out in the country. In fact, my Grandma Roe, who is in her 80s, is my only grandparent still living, and she still lives on the farm. She does her best to keep the farm like she wants it. For the last few years, she has rented the pastures and fields to another farmer. At times, she thinks about selling the farm, and I just don’t have the money to buy her out.

So my dream of a farm of my own is just that, a dream. No matter what the future holds, I will remember their garden and the hot summer days when Grandma would can everything that came out of their garden. Grandpa Roe would use his Massey Ferguson 165 and a plow to get their garden ready. I had so much fun running barefoot through the freshly plowed dirt. As with Grandpa Boone’s garden, Grandpa Roe planted strawberries and corn, among other things. I kept a close eye on the strawberries in both gardens.

As it is now, I live in the same small town where I was born and raised. I live in a house that someone else owns. The property is small, so my growing space between the sidewalk and house is limited. With limited room, I carefully choose what seeds I buy and how many.

I dream about my own piece of heaven in the country. A place for a larger garden like my grandparents had, along with a few chickens, a few cows, maybe even a mule or two. I know my puppy and cat would love more room to run and play. Until then, I make do with what I have and I’ll just keep daydreaming. I know that when the time comes, the Massey Ferguson 165 sits in my shed, ready to earn its keep once again.