My father, who was named Marion, was raised as a farmer in a large German family. As a young man he used to deliver vegetables to housewives by horse and buggy all over the Kansas City, Missouri area. The stories he told about that and his education as a youth were something else!
Being a farmer never left his soul and spirit..we always had a huge garden! We had potatoes, corn, tomatoes, okra, green beans, beets, carrots, radishes, cucumbers and many others as well. March 15th, known as the Ides of March, meant time to plant the potatoes. He got seed potatoes from a co-op and we would cut those so there was an "eye" to be planted pointing up so the new plant would grow straight up. Then off to plant the nice even rows he staked out with string so that everything grew in perfect straight rows. Part of the potato growth was designated as the new potatoes and would be harvested early. Oh how I love new potatoes!! I did back then and still do!! When the rest were to be dug up, we had to be careful as to not hit them with the shovel and ruin them. Then off to the root cellar for cold storage they would go and we had potatoes for the whole year! As my husband can tell I am ready for potatoes almost any day of the year!
Then there was the corn..oh dear heavens, is there anything better than fresh grown corn, steamed and dripping in butter with pepper on it!! There might be, but I am hard pressed to think of anything that tastes any better. The proof was come harvesting time you would find me at meals with butter dripping off my face and down to my elbows! Heaven I tell ya, sheer heaven!
But then again, well maybe the best thing ever is a freshly picked tomato right while standing in the garden with a salt shaker in your pocket!! But take those tomatoes slice them up and add bacon and stick it in a toasted sandwich and I think I hear Saint Peter calling, it is that good!!
Oh no, can't forget the cucumbers either..right from the garden.. peeled and salted. Oh maybe with the fresh green onions and pickled. And the radishes..so spicy on the tongue. My father used to slice them up and put them in a container with some butter and shake them up so that they were all coated with the butter and put them in a sandwich with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. Little did I know in some circles that was considered a delicacy!!
Which brings me to the green beans..wow boiled up in big huge pot with what else but bacon and new potatoes. I wonder why was I such a skinny little girl, I ate like a princess, even if I did not know it at the time. Chicken fried steak or fried chicken, green beans, buttered corn, pickled cucumbers, corn bread or biscuits and always some kind of pie for dessert!! But I think it all finally caught up to my bottom as I reached 40!! Never mind the cholesterol it must have had, but who cared back then?? Sure not me or my father!
The funniest tale was always me and okra..I loved fresh raw okra..ewww, I know I would not eat it today, but I did back then. One of our neighbors grew the biggest fields of okra you ever saw and I could be found there if I went missing eating the raw okra. One time as they were plowing under the old plants they almost ran over me sitting under them eating okra! Mr. Ritter said he saw a little redhead bobbing under the plants or he might have plowed me under too!
We used DDT for the insects and Daddy would spray the plants down until they dripped with it. One time we had some spinach, which I also ate raw, growing up around the house. Daddy sprayed it and without even paying attention I grabbed up some spinach leaves and started to munch on them! I thought he was going to kill me if the DDT didn't. He swooped me up and started pouring water down my throat, all the while yelling did I not just see him spray those plants?? That was another time, besides the bleach incident, I ate or drank something I should not have and would not be the last time either!
The other big benefit of a large garden was that all that was left over, we got to sell out of our front yard to use to go to the county fair!! We loved selling those vegetables and were so proud we helped raise them.
It is sad children today miss out on so much of these wonderful gardens and the lifetime of memories you might just make by growing a garden. Try making even a small garden with your children and they may write about it someday too!
Until next time, God bless and stay safe.