Friday, March 11, 2011

Seed Catalogs, Gardening and memories of my Grandparents

    It is that time of year.  Seed orders have arrived.  Many seeds have been planted and tiny green shoots are reaching out from small dirt filled pots waiting to be large and strong enough for their migration to the dark earth outdoors.  I listen to my family and friends as they plot and plan this years gardens.  From flowers to vegetables some traditional varieties and always the exotic one that just might grow this year.

     When I was growing up my parents occasionally had a garden.  They always planted corn and every time they plotted a better fence to keep the deer and milk cows from pilaging that years bounty.  It didn't matter what they did the milk cows always got to the corn before we did.  My Dad would announce that the corn was just about ready and he was right but the cows (Minnie and Evelyn) always knew the minute it was ready.  I thought that was why they planted corn so that the cows could have a treat and it didn't matter the fence they would find their way to the tall stalks and crisp sweet corn and we would buy corn from the store or the hutterites.

    My grandparents lived next door in the cabin.  They had a garden (they each had a garden).  I remember when the seed catalogs would arrive the gleam in their eyes as they secretly planned what they would order.  They would sit back to back with a metal TV tray in front of each them and fill out their orders making certain the other didn't see what was being ordered.   When the seeds arrived the contest began: who would raise the biggest of this or the oddest shape of that, who would have the most peas or the best corn.  Their gardens were amazing but if you stole a pea from one of them you had better steal a pea from the other one. 

     Our neighbors are a young family with a lot of energy and strong backs.  They turn their small back yard into a beautiful organic garden each summer.  (We reap what they sow)  It is wonderful to sit on our deck and watch the transformation happen.  They plant and water and weed and prepare the food to last them through the winter.  They seek sustainablity and from our vantage point across the yard they are achieving just that.

     My friends, the Hermity Farmer Women are also itching to put trowel to dirt and begin their summer romance with mother earth.  They just brought home 3 baby goats have ordered their chickens they are planning the conversion of a childhood play house into the chicken coop.  They will have beautiful flowers and luscious vegetables and sweet strawberries and I will be invited over for tea in the garden.

     Bill plants beautiful flowers in our yard each spring.  We have cabbage roses that flank our front steps and when they are in bloom the smell is intoxicating.  (those roses have been blooming there for over 60 years) The sunflowers and sweet peas  wave to people as they pass by on the sidewalk.  His grandmothers peonies guard the back fence and the day lilies wiggle in the wind beside the garage.

     I love the winter but there is something about spring that breathes renewal. 



  1. Oh Debbie I loved loved this. And of course you will be invited over for tea in the garden -- as a matter of fact, you have a standing invitation -- come whenever you want. We will share tea and laughs and the shade under the willows. I love spring. It's good to think about spring on these semi-gray days.