Barry's Genealogy Diary

This online genealogical diary is hosted by Barry T. Self. It is primarily for information pertaining to the SELF surname, more particularly for descendants of John J. and Lydia Avaline Waters Self, who were married in Union County, GA in 1851. Barry Self is the SELF proclaimed family genealogist and historian, having spent over 20 years researching this Self line. This diary is dedicated to preserving and sharing the findings of his research.

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Location: Madisonville, Tennessee, United States

I am married to a wonderful and sweet wife, Svitlana, who is from Ukraine and we have a beautiful daughter, Lydia Elizabeth. I have worked in the funeral business since 1988 and thoroughly enjoy researching my family roots.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Our Ancestors depended on one for survival. Today, many people tend one as a hobby or mostly for pleasure. I am referring to vegetable gardens. Before the days of Super Wal-Mart Stores, Ingles and Kroger Supermarkets, folks in this country had to grow what they ate. There was no other choice. In the springtime one had to plant a garden. It had to be large enough to supply the family with fresh vegetables and also to yield enough to allow for canning or preserving some food for the winter months. Granted, there were some canning companies around in those days, but money was tight, so most families, especially those in the rural areas, grew their own food.

My grandmother Self grew up that way. Her mom canned everything she could get her hands on and so, Mamaw Self did the same when she got married. I can still remember her canning green beans, making sauerkraut form cabbage, canning tomatoes and making pickles. She would can more than a few jars too. She canned lots of jars. She also made homemade vegetable soup and canned it. She would “put up” corn either on the cob or after cutting it from the cob and placing it in freezer boxes. Those canned vegetables sure were tasty through the winter months. My own mother also canned a lot when I was growing up. We always had a big garden at home. She would can the garden vegetables and also make homemade jellies and jams too.

My wife, Svitlana, has a garden in our back yard. It is not a big one, but it does produce quite a lot of vegetables for us. Svitlana loves to work in her little garden. It gives her great pride to tend to her little plants. She is a successful gardener too. She knows how to get things to grow. Svitlana is a lot like my grandmother Self. She grew up in a rural area in Ukraine where gardens are a necessity to ones survival. Most families there even today have more than one garden. They grow practically everything they eat all year. They do not depend on large supermarkets to provide their basic food needs like we do in this country. They tend the land and it produces what they need for survival. The only items that have to be bought are those which cannot be grown on the farm. This is how it once was in this country.

Svitlana mostly tends a garden now as a hobby. It makes her happy to see things grow and it makes me happy to get to enjoy the fresh homegrown produce. Homegrown vegetables just taste better. Already, we have enjoyed lettuce, onions and radishes from our little garden. We are waiting on the first red, juicy, ripe tomato to be ready to eat. MMM-MMM.

Modern conveniences are nice. I am glad we have the grocery stores. However, all the thanks must go to the farmer, wherever he might be, for the food that lands on our tables. If it were not for the American farmers, there would be no food to put on the shelves at Wal-Mart, Ingles or Kroger.

Occasionally I will help my wife work in the garden or gather in the fruits of our labor. It makes me feel good to sit down at the table to eat, knowing I had a little part in putting the food there. I cannot help but think of my ancestors who once relied on a garden, probably a much bigger one than we have today, for their food. I pause to give thanks, as I am sure they would have done, and then I enjoy what God’s green earth has provided.