I can’t remember where I found this article. Regardless, it gives me twin feelings of smugness–see! This isn’t a weird hobby, it’s a perfectly valid occupation and a good survival tactic for current economic times!–and worry. “Egg prices were 19.5% higher in June 2007 than they were the previous June…apples 11.7%, dried beans 11.5% and white bread 9.6%.” Notwithstanding that we don’t eat white bread (and in fact I’m making most of our bread these days, probably all of it once I find the perfect toasting bread and try out a tortilla recipe or two), those numbers make me unhappy.

I tracked my garden expenses last year purely to see whether gardening was going to cost me more than it provided. The answer was no. This year, with my garden infrastructure mostly in place (well, for the established plot; the new one needs a little work) and my seed costs lower due to saving and trading, I should be able to save much more money overall. And I’m afraid I’ll need to. As I mentioned, Eric lost his job recently, so we’re living on my salary now, which is enough to make ends meet but not by much. We’ve also got his summer tuition to pay for to get him the last couple of classes for his integrated-science certification and his master’s degree, which will greatly increase his chances of employment later on. He’ll get a job in the fall whether it’s teaching or not, but until then, he’s student-teaching and so things are tight, and we’re going to have to either take a big loss on some stocks we have or take out a loan.

I’ve been worried about money, careers, the economy, the future in general lately. I’m sure many people have. And knowing that everything, including food, is getting more expensive very quickly and will probably get much worse doesn’t help.

I’m very glad that I’m already a gardener, of course. I may not be a great one, but I have the basics down; I have a seed stash and a little knowledge on how to renew it; I have a set of canning jars; I have the willingness to eat what I cook and to cook what I have on hand. I’m hardly ready to feed the two of us on the garden alone, but I’m ready to help. I hadn’t planned to track my expenses and production this year, but I’m thinking I will, in part so that I can plan better for years after. Probably the economy and our job situation will get better (historically, they always have, but I’m feeling morbid and paranoid these days–maybe it’s the snow); but if they don’t, I and my shovel and my Hutterite beans will be ready.

I may not be able to actually garden right now–did I mention there’s another snowstorm expected tomorrow? GRUMBLE GRUMBLE–but should the weather ever cooperate, I’ll be taking some stress off of us this year by taking some expenses off the budget. And I’ve got my husband convinced that I’m spoiling him by doing so. This gardener is doing all right. Now all I’ve got to do is figure out how to get him to eat squash.