Garden time came and it always reminded him of working out in the soil with his mother. There was a lot to learn from what she had to offer and he could almost hear her voice with some of her favorite ideas. He kept a very well weeded area and always enjoyed sharing with others. That was a big enjoyment with growing your own produce. He had toned down the size of his plot after everyone left the home and his wife passed away. There were a few things one needed to have through the season like tomatoes that he still planted lots so not to be in need. When they were in season he ate them for almost every meal. Some years he canned a few for cold winter meals. Many of the jars he used had been his mothers, passed down when she no longer could can. As a kid some vegetables were canned in large parties, everyone had their own task. He looked forward to these assembly line parties, a time when all the family joined in and shared the lovely bounty of the land.
One of his favorite canned foods was plum jam. As a kid his grandmother always made the best of jellies and jams bringing them each year to his mother. Her plum jam was made with Damson plums, so all of his life this was a treasured tree to have in ones yard. His mom followed her mother in preparing these wonderful sweet concoctions so he and his wife never tried it out much. As he was spreading butter on his toast he began to think about how special the plum jam had been to him when his grandmother came to visit with her box of goodies. She often told him how she made it special for him because he always talked how good it always was when she saw him. In his travels he stopped at a number of nurseries looking for this valuable tree to put in his yard. He hadn’t found one yet so figured to maybe get one mail order the next year.
There are a number of foods we pass down through our families. He remembered these off and on through the year, but never cooked much at home. He liked to cook on a grill outdoors and today being a holiday remembered his mom eating ribs cooked by his father every year. It had been a long time since he had made beef ribs, but today he remembered a smile spreading across his mother’s face as she chewed to get every little piece off the big bones. He wanted to ask her if she knew sauce was on her chin but kept quiet. Just watching her eat was a tradition where she hadn’t had to fix the meal and was served a favorite food. When he fixed them he thought of her always saying it was sweeter meat next to the bone. Sometimes she even grabbed one of the kid’s bones and made sure it was cleaned all the way off. Her smile stayed with him all day and he wished he had some beef ribs to fix.
That evening he sat and looked over the plot he had been filling with new plants. Soon a chorus of frogs began singing out their song of life. A few other frogs joined them, the rhythm of their calls going back and forth. He wasn’t sure he wanted to go in for the night there was such a charm in the air. Soon a larger than life croak came across the pasture. A tree frog had started its song to attract a mate. Soon a higher pitched call came from across the way and he knew true love had started again this year. He was getting sleepy but didn’t want to miss out on this nighttime serenade. He tried a few times to imitate them and hoped to have them call back. He went inside and opened all of the windows so they could lull him asleep. He drifted off and soon was out tending his herd in his dreams.