Thursday, January 20, 2011

A First Garden

If you haven't heard from me it is because I am wrestling with a cable provider, and haven't had service for a few days. I didn't notice since my phone doesn't ring much and I don't watch a lot of TV.My Internet was out and they gave me step by step instructions how to keep it working for 10 minutes so I could call back repeatably. The tech was out twice and I still hope to get this out, it still isn't working. Living where I do I have to submit to their errors and stay calm.I laughed when he asked my cell and I don't know it either.LOL On top of all this while holding peanuts for a squirrel he decided my finger looked equally as good and sunk his teeth in good. He is still alive, but my pistol sits in the kitchen.

Each year of my life, my family had always had a garden. This year with two friends, we decided to have a plot of our own and sell the produce door to door. It would give us all savings to use for the first day of the state fair. A farmer behind us came through and plowed a plot when he was doing his own field. When asked how much he just laughed and told them to bring him a cold drink when we saw him working. He was impressed with kids wanting to work the land.

We set to work banging at the huge clumps of black earth. A neighbor lady came out and asked to see their hoes. She took them up to her yard and showed how they were to be sharpened. The lesson paid off and it seemed fun to have learned this valuable lesson. She even came down one day and joined in, giving continual advice. Years later I can still see her pounding away at the soil, always coming out when we were in our plot. I hoe with the vigor she shared with us, and have passed the story on to many.

This was not going to be an easy job as we had earlier thought. Making sure all was getting done and tending this plot took a lot of our playtime away. Friends often stood and watched waiting for us to finish to play baseball or kick the can. The weeds had to be all out and vegetables watered before this could happen. Then off we would go, often with a new blister or sore back.
Next came the harvest, slow as it could take to ever happen. We filled up a coaster wagon and set out with whatever we had. Everything was a nickel, and a bargain at that. I found that if we sent one of our younger siblings to the door, they always would buy from them.
My grandmother halted this, she was not impressed with my sales technique, and the younger kids often wore out early anyway. Beautiful tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, bunches of radishes all sold fairly well. If there was any excess we begrudgingly gave it to our families for the nightly meal.

Counting our money was a regular occurrence; it was fun to see it grow. All of us came from large families and there wasn’t any allowance offered at home. It was hard not to take a little out to get some ice cream, but the older boy maintained a tight bank. He had the money in a small safe, that only he knew the combination. Each time we counted it, we divided the amount by three to see how rich we were. We could almost taste the snow cones and envision the stuffed animals we could win at the fair.

Summer was drawing to and end and the variety we had to sell was dwindling. Corn came in but sold in less than an hour, it takes a big plot to harvest a large amount. Potatoes were hard to dig and had some low yields, but sure tasted good when my mom fixed the smallest ones for us with butter when we dug them.
The fair came and we counted our money, thirty-nine dollars. We felt we would be kings for the day. The first day offered free admission for kids and we were ready to go. My dad dropped us off and gave us each a dime to ride the bus home. He laughed at our excitement as we plotted where to start. The rides were calling us in, most were a quarter, but some were thirty-five cents. We threw darts at balloons, had our ages guessed, and ate caramel apples and snow cones. We each got a hat with a long plume of a feather and our names embroidered on them.

Our pockets grew emptier and we really hadn’t eaten any real food. Off to the free stuff we went and found a guy cutting up vegetables with the year’s newest knives. We asked what he was going to do with all he cut and he told us to help ourselves. We gorged on the produce that had paid our way. Off we went to ride one last ride and to the bus to go home. We were all down to less than a quarter but had a wonderful day. How grand we sat with our new hats on the ride home. Kings of the fair and patrons of the land, ready to do it again the next year.


  1. Hi Steve, Sorry to hear about your internet/cable problems. Like you said, we are always at their mercy. Hope you get it fixed soon.

    My parents always had a garden ---and I loved that fresh produce... We don't have one now --and I do miss the produce, but not necessarily the work.

    Love your photos--especially of the deer and your silly doggie!!!! Snow is on the way here --or so they say!!!!

    Good Luck.

  2. Ooh what a fun story! As usual, great pics.

  3. Goodness Steve!!! He bit you??? Are you alright? Have wondered where you were... Love all the photos... Especially the pooch!!
    Stay warm and well!!!

  4. internet problems, what a headache. Every time someone would ask my cell phone number I would have to go in to the phone to look it up. I finally memorized the darn
    OUCH on the bite.

  5. Hello, thanks for visiting my blog. Yeah I was absent for so many weeks and I need a lot of catching up with friends. Anyway, I thought internet interruptions only happens here in our place, it just so happen that ours were not working also for while. Like I would never notice if phone is not working not until some friends will text on my mobile and ask me if my phone is working or not, then that's the only time when I would be aware of hahahaha. Your pictures are great as well as with your page background, it's cute!

  6. I think it was a good thing that people of my age and yours learned to be self-sufficient. We had to work to pay our way. I believe we are all better for it. Now what is that picture that looks like a scalp or maybe an injured animal of some sort diving into the snow?

  7. Steve,
    Okay, is that black puff ball your dog? How funny he is.
    We had a garden while I was growing up and my mom grew okra; which was my favorite as well as the green beans that I'd pick right off the vine and pinch and eat. We also had rhubarb which I ended up disliking becuase we had rhubard EVERYTHING!!! UGH!!! ...don't see it much anymore though.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos :)

  8. The picture with the 3 deer is one I want to paint.

    Your story is so colorful and clear, I went along with you to the fair. What a day!

  9. Ouch! Hope your finger feels better.

    We've got the snow, too. About 4 inches. The boys won't have school but I will.

    Great pictures today.

    Most kids today don't know the value of a dollar much less have the patience to earn a dollar.

    Cathy @ Country Cathy

  10. Loved the pictures, especially Lily. And the story of the garden was reminiscent of bygone days. My dad always gardened. I was never too keen on helping. It's hard work, as you said.

  11. Hi Steve, isn't technology grand - when it works. And, when it doesn't it's so frustrating. Hopefully everything is back on track by now. Really enjoyed the deer shots and the post was great. Grenville has never sold any of the garden harvest, just gives away what we can't use. My parents used to have a huge garden, but I never worked in it as a child.

  12. Glad you are connected enough to share this post!

    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral



  13. I do believe I like thinking and dreaming about gardening more than I like gardening itself! xoxo

  14. We had a huge garden, mostly root vegetables, when I was quite young and I detested hoeing/weeding so much it took years for me to want to do some gardening. I love my little plot now and look forward to planning it for this year. It sounds like you were a child with ambition. How cool that you used it to grow a garden.

    I trust your finger is healing and no one had to die :)

  15. Those deer are so fluffy they barely look the same as the ones you see in summer. Thanks for the wonderful story what a great learning experience. Hope your finger's okay :O(

  16. Wonderful snowy pictures! I love all the deer you have around there. I'm still waiting to catch the ones here. Sure hope you get your internet problem solved soon. I hate that when it happens. I was fighting with Verizon for two years and it was their problem in their wire system down at the end of the street. I finally got it solved and have had no problems since. took about six different techs to finally find the real problem. So sorry that squirrel bit you. Hope you made it bleed a lot and cleaned it well. Don't want you catching anything from it or getting an infection. That must have really hurt. They have the sharpest teeth. I've never gotten that close to any. Just through the window..Ha! Then I can be nose to nose when they are up on the window sill staring in at me.
    I love your childhood memory stories. And I only remember my mother having a garden once. We moved around too much.
    We are in a deep freeze again here this weekend. I'm glad I can stay inside! Take care.

  17. The cute little squirrel still exists, as does the pain in my finger.I fed it peanuts today, in a cup.Gardening is relaxing to me, I have kept it up since I was 9.Some of the prairies I have planted are in acres and sections, so many are amazed I grow flowers,veggies and fruit at home.I enjoy watching everything grow from my patio through the summer, and eating it is the best pleasure.I am starting to plan my next garden,and will start plants indoors under lights the end of February.

  18. what a great post - i loved the story about the garden and the fair- how fun ! I also love the picture of the fuzzy deer, how cute! Sorry about the squirrel bite though (and the internet issues) - yeouch!

  19. I feel for you having internet woes. Living in the country has it's bad sides but only one or two.

    We eat squirrel in Arkansas ya know.

  20. I found you through Teresa Evangeline and will now be following you. Love your midwest pics!

  21. These "connection" problems seem all too familiar. Your seem much calmer about it all than I've been.

  22. Oh my goodness you got some snow too! Love each and every photo! I'm sorry to hear about your internet issues. Living in the country does have it's drawbacks but I wouldn't give it up for the world. ;)

    Steve I hope you don't mind but I nominated you for the Stylish Blogger Award. :):) If you don't participate in awards I totally understand. I just had to let the world know what a great blog you have.

  23. This was my first time here. I must say, the gardening story was wonderful! How great it is to see kids working hard, developing skills in self suffiency, and paying their own way at the fair! :D Reading this inspires me to encourage more growing experiences for my own kids... Thanks!

    PS I'm a nature lover, too. It's a great way to be! :D

  24. PS I also love how your neighbors were so kind to offer a hand with the plowing etc. Wouldn't it be amazing and wonderful if we were all that kind of neighbor? I have a couple of really great neighbors... they are among the gold in my life!

  25. I love the photo of the dog running in the snow!! So cute!


Keep it positive and informative,I enjoy hearing from you!