There has been someone, somewhere, for all of us, who made a difference in our life. Maybe it was teaching us to garden, or how to cook or can – perhaps it was to play a sport, an instrument, sing, dance, paint or write. Maybe it was to reach for a goal, become a better person – or to simply not give up and to keep trying.

There is no doubt my love of gardening comes straight from my parents
There is no doubt my love of gardening comes straight from my parents

Over the past week, we have had so many who have pledged to our book project make one simple request – to place the name of a mom, dad, aunt, uncle or friend in place of theirs in the credits of the book – simply because he or she loved to garden, taught them how to cook – or in some way, shape or form was an inspiration in their lives.

The answer, with a little tear in our eyes as we answered back, was YES! Of course we will! After all –  that is what our book is all about – inspiring to do – whether it be gardening, cooking, canning, creating, or to live a more simple life.

So for the next two weeks, we thought we would share the stories of those who inspired us growing up.  I will have a go at it this week below – and Mary, in turn, will share her story with next Sunday’s update.

In addition – we encourage all of you to feel free to share with us your inspiration in our comments section today – and share this article with others so they can too!

A quick book update : We have simply been overwhelmed by the support of our Growing Simple book project and can’t thank you enough! You can add your name to the list by going to our Kickstarter campaign here : OWG Growing Simple Project and clicking on the Back This Project button. Please see a special announcement at the end in honor of our sponsors.

My Inspiration…

For me, I will be the first to admit that I have been blessed to have a past filled with inspirational people all around me.

MY family - you have to love the late 70's outfits!
My family – you have to love the late 70’s outfits!

I have had four older sisters and a brother that have all been role models – all with an amazing work ethic – and all at one point or another were there when I needed a shoulder to lean on. I can actually think back to so many that made a huge difference in my life.

They might have seen so trivial to them at the time – but others made a huge difference as well in teaching important life skills and inspiring me. People like my neighbor growing up, Jeff Baker, who took the time help teach me so many things – from changing a water pump on my first car, to how to use a blow torch and solder. There was also Elizabeth Smith, the owner of the greenhouse I worked at throughout high school and college – who always took the extra time to explain to me how to take care of every plant in the store.  I listened…I learned.

The two people that inspired me the most - my Mom and Dad
The two people who inspired me the most – my Mom and Dad

I could go on and on, but without a doubt, there have been two people who have always inspired me to live a better life every day – and that is my Mom and Dad.

Although my father passed away when I was only 12 from cancer, he was an avid gardener, woodworker and jack-of-all trades. There is little doubt that many of his passions have been passed down to me.

From what I can remember – he loved to garden and to be outdoors.  One of his favorite things to do was come home from work and get on the tractor and mow – which just so happens to be one of mine as well :). He taught himself to weld, work with wood, fix cars – and could create anything his mind could think of. That included a contraption that allowed him to mow with a garden tractor and two push mowers attached on a bar so he could cut a bigger area.

Dad's barn
Dads old barn – where Santa would make an appearance each Christmas Season,

He also was a master of recycling and thriftiness – tearing down a barn piece by piece, and then re-erecting it at our house. Yes – that is the same barn that Mary and I disassembled to help create our new barn as well – keeping the tradition in tact.

But he loved his garden – growing tomatoes, peppers, corn and more – and yes, running his roto-tiller through the rows. ( I know – I’m not so fond of using a rototiller – but we can let that slide for my dad – after all – it was THE thing to do back then 🙂 )

It was also his subscription to Organic Gardening that I read as a kid from front to back every single month – and to this day, along with my parents love of gardening, is something I credit with fostering a love and passion for all things organic!

My mom working in the garden
My mom working in the garden

And then there is my Mom. I don’t think I could ever begin to thank her enough for the lessons and love I have had throughout my life.  She showed me how to be strong – never once faltering in the face of adversity.  I look back now and realize how strong she was after my dad’s passing – for all of us – and how much of a difference it made in my life.

To know my mom is to know a positive and strong person. I can honestly say when people ask me why I am always so happy or upbeat – I can point to the example she set. She gardened, cooked and canned with a smile for our entire family – and I have learned more from her than I could ever give credit to in a few written paragraphs.

I have learned to never use water to clean the pasta maker!
I have learned to never use water to clean the pasta maker!

She was the first person I ever learned how to can from, taught me the family way to make pasta (yes, mom, I know – NEVER put the old pasta maker in water 🙂 ), and is still my first call when I am trying to remember how to make a family recipe. Our farm’s flowerbeds are filled with transplants from perennials she has grown for years.  In a word – she is amazing.

Together – my parents love of gardening, flowers ,cooking and canning set the table for me so to speak – and for that they will always be my inspiration. Don’t get me wrong – I may not have talked so lovingly as a 10-year-old when given a bucket and told to weed a row in the garden – but it taught me everything I know – including that a little hard work is a lesson in and of itself.  For that – I am eternally grateful.

The Garden Inspiration Plaque – and a Special Thank You.

So, as we received the many requests over the last week to honor others with the book credits – it got us to thinking that maybe we could turn all of these requests into something a little more meaningful. Perhaps creating something special in our garden for years to come to remind us of you and your inspiration to us. After all, we think it’s fitting to honor all of those who inspired you – as you now inspire and support us in our dream of the Growing Simple book.

family competti
My mom, sisters and brother in a photo from last year

So, to all who have given or will give to the campaign – no matter the amount – we want to add one more “token” of our appreciation.

When the campaign is over – we will send an email to each and every one of our supporters asking for a name or two of someone in their own life that inspired them – whether it be to garden, cook, can or whatever.  We will then place all of those names on a special plaque to be permanently mounted in the garden – right along side the names that have inspired Mary and I as well.  One permanent monument at the farm to inspire!

We should all be so lucky to inspire others like those that have inspired all of us growing up.

And with that – we would like to extend a BIG Thank You to all of you who have supported and inspired us on our Kickstarter Campaign.  As of this writing – we are now so close to reaching our goal.  We have had a total of 110 pledges for a total of $7407.00 – leaving us just $1097.00 short of our goal.  We have had pledges from over 30 states, Australia, England and Fiji. You can add your name to list by going to our Kickstarter campaign here : OWG Growing Simple Project and clicking on the Back This Project button.  Thanks so much to everyone for helping – and we can’t wait to publish the Growing Simple book!

Jim and Mary

Old World Garden Farms

Thank you to :  Rob and Jen F, Kelsey F, Ted V, Katie H, Joe C, Andrew C, Ken M, Lara M, Mary H, Sydelle D, Sara T-B, Daphne C, Tina W, Lisa C-S and Alice Loyd, Rachel, Melissa S, Arlene J, Judith M, Tikva J, Julie B, Bob R, Rick and Ruth Ann R, Jan B, Todd T, Brenda H, Heather A, Marlene J, Sharon H, Mary P, Cheri S, Tricia P, Carolyn M, Vikki J, Rick D, Reta P, Susanne D, Christina N, Dee Dee B, Carla H, Andy B, Peter B, Bonnie, Carol O, Evan and Karen K, Ruby O, Donna, Victoria and Robert C. Cheryl H, Deb R, Therese K-K, Amy O, Jeff and Kristen R, Brandye, Elaine H, Michael C, Jim F, Ed and Donna P, Charlene K, Teresa K,Vicki S-V, Penny P, Jeff, Veronica S, Mary B, Codi and John, Chris M, Karen S, Bruno K, Sarah F,Dawna, Mary Beth J, Louann H, Vivian S. V-B, Jill E, Allisa H, Megan J, Maryse S, Jessica S, Brian J, KarriAnn S, Carol W, Sean L, Nancy S, James F, MTC Columbus, James L, Linda S, Andre F, Carol H, Owen and Aidan L, Kelli D, Christy D,Sam W, New Castle Custom Homes, Mike M, RIchard Z, Brad M, Jim and Pattie W, Isabella H,Bill-Susan L, Lori C, Raelyn H-S, Brad G, Tony G, Ruth H, Anita O, Marissa S, Mary Ann J, Howard and Shirley S, Angie S, and Jo M. THANK YOU!!!

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