GYO Garden : The Oakes Family

GYO Garden : The Oakes Family



Nestled into the rolling hills of Palo Cedro California, live John and Sally Oakes. With beautiful surroundings of trees, vegetables, quiet nooks to sit and meditate, an amazing growth of the winter crop beginning to grow, along with the harvest of the remains of the summer growth, we were able to enjoy an entire afternoon of unending energy and hard work. Tucked tidily into an above ground root cellar we observed with excitement, baskets of luscious bounty with the sweet taste of tomatoes picked right off the vine.


My first bite brought me immediately back to my childhood and a little farm in Iowa, and buckets of tomatoes lugged in by 4 sisters who probably with much complaining to get out to the garden, came marching back as though celebrating a victory with our mounds of goods picked fresh off the vine.

Some days we had to blanch buckets of tomatoes to prepare for canning, while other the tomatoes were quickly sliced into thick slices of juicy yumminess to eat as a delicious salad, or watch dad joyfully pour cream over the top of his tomato slices, perched happily on a slice of bread and pronounce the beginning of the season to eat his GWash pie, as we all looked on in horror. Some days we would just take a big bite out of the tomato and the juice would run down our chins. Fun, fun, memories


But back to the Oakes farm! Yesterday a group of girlfriends and I decided to make a journey out to the Oakes’ to discover the joys of having your own garden. How hard was it? What are the benefits? How does one do this? Where do we start?

John and Sally were like encyclopedias. As we happily walked around from a fresh pile of soil, asking about the composition, to new lettuce growing in the homemade greenhouse that could grow year round lettuce.  We picked sweet ripe tomatoes from the vine, and listened with excitement the discussion of the new crop that had just been planted.


John and Sally have just celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary and have gone through many trials and difficulties, along with the beauty and success of a life well lived. Most recently John has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and it has been devastating for them to walk this new path the Lord has allowed in their lives. It was a difficult pill to swallow, having done such excellent jobs at growing their own garden, eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise. John was even riding competitively on long distance bike runs. Why would this happen? They do not know. But what I heard was a deep love and connection with the Lord, even though they do not understand this path, they know that He is there and will never leave them. That their hope is in Him, not in what they do. I want to be like them when I grow up.

I hope and pray that we will support and encourage them along on this part of their journey and I also hope that they’ll be our “go to” people as we begin to build our own gardens and experience the joy of having our own gardens.

We did some filming of this amazing couple and hope to have their story up in a few weeks. I hope you will be encouraged and inspired to begin, or add to the garden in your mind(pintrist gardens?), or actually out in your own backyard.

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