Ernie - Smith "Nature Friendly" Farm

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Garden Guru Ernie

My Garden Guru Ernie

This man holds a very special place in my heart for me. He became my Grandpa when he married into our family. In the laters years, Ernie met my Grandma and married. They found happiness together spending the second half of their lives together and still together to this day. I have been so blessed to be a part of that. I was around 8 years old when I was introduced to Ernie and his wonderful family. They lived on large acreage on Vancouver Island in Qualicum, B.C. Ernie owned the hardware store in town and ran a road side stand in front of his house selling goods from his garden.

I was a city girl. I grew up in Victoria in townhouse complex (no garden). I would go up island to visit my grandma and quickly got introduced to Ernie's garden. It was a place that imaginations could be used. There was not much for TV, although I do recall at one time he had a giant dish. But I don't ever remember watching any TV there.

My first hard work story that to this day I believe played a part in my hard work ethic today, comes from picking rocks. Ernie had a large garden area and one of the chores he gave me, was going through the garden to pick out the rocks. I recall picking rocks for hours on end (in reality I probably did like 15 minutes). But there I was putting my hands in the dirt preparing the ground for good growing.

He had chickens too. So another garden job was collecting eggs and chasing escaped chickens. I was so afraid of those birds, they seemed so big when you are young.

I remember a constant supply of plumbs, blue berries and garden veggies. I would sit in the blueberry patch and just eat blue berry, after blue berry.

I would discover tasty garden treats that you didn't see much in grocery stores like Gooseberries, Snap Peas and Currants. Red currants quickly became a favourite for me, despite how small and annoying they are to pick.

At the time this was fun. I had no idea it was planting a bug within me that would stick with me later in life. I went through teenage years working in a city and living in an apartment. Then in my 30's I would move to Alberta to live in a house with a yard in Turner Valley. It was there my love for gardening got it's start.

When I look back on those beautiful early days in Ernie's garden, I cannot help but look back with gratitude, for the gift of passion for gardening that was passed to me.

My goals is to spend the next half of my life in the same way that he and grandma have. Gardening, a road side stand, playing cards and eating Grandma's great baking.

If you don't have an Ernie in your life, I encourage you to be one. You won't regret having children who appreciate gardening and nature I am sure.

Ernie & Grandma Lorea, thank you. I would not be who I am without you.

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