STEBBINS GARDEN 2010
The garden is in full bloom. This has been a very wet year for us. Many years we have to water the garden in order to have a good harvest, but that is not the problem this year. The problem this year is that we have so much rain, that it's hard to get into the garden and keep up with the weeds. A few times Richard as mentioned that we need some kids to help him...I remind him that we are not Amish!
It's a lot of work keeping the weeds under control when there is this much rain and heat. It has, however, been ideal growing conditions and we are already eating from the garden. Our 'knee high by the 4th of July' corn is already 5 ft. tall, and last night, after weeding the green beans, Richard brought in the first delicate, sweet green bean!! I was so excited!!!
We've been eating lettuce, radishes, spinach, asparagus, pea pods, beet greens, rhubarb and onions. The potato plants are huge and full of not only blossoms but potato bugs! Richard picks them off almost daily. He plans on spraying them with peppermint shampoo. The bugs don't like it and it's not a pesticide! I think we should have some little new potatoes to enjoy for the 4th of July!!
Like I said, the green beans are coming on. We have cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers;both sweet and hot, corn and beets. I've frozen about 12 jars of spinach pesto and also 15 quarts of pea pods. We'll use them through the winter months. The lettuce is now too mature to use so we need to replant. I also want to plant another batch of arugala.
No need to ask us "what's new?"...it's all about gardening here on our little farm. Recently, Richard was dreaming of winning the lottery. He said he would buy some farm equipment and plow the whole acre which is now 1/4 garden, and make that his full time work. It's a lot of hard work, but he really enjoys doing it. He's a very good gardener!! The picture at the top is what he wears when he's gardening.
I just read a friends' blog post about a childhood memory she had, and while reading it this memory of mine came back to me.
During the summer each year, our family would drive to Traverse City, Mi during the cherry harvest. We stayed in a loft of a very large barn on the property owner of a large cherry orchard. The lower level of the barn was used to house migrant workers hired to harvest the cherries. We would get up early in the morning and go out to pick cherries. It is my first memory of my mom wearing anything other than a dress. She would put on a pair of my dad's coveralls over her clothes and I remember thinking she looked hilarious! We would all get into the car and drive out to the orchard. My parents would pick from ladders while us kids had to pick from the ground. The branches were low enough that we could pick from there.
This was not a vacation, and my dad made sure we kept busy!! One benefit was that we could eat the cherries, but I do remember my mom having to stop us from time to time because she was afraid we'd get sick eating too many. I don't remember if we did or not!
I do remember all those cherries though. Once they were picked, we'd head back to the barn where my mom would then proceed to can all the cherries!! Yes, that's right. She brought canning jars and supplies, along with a large oval canner that she set on a two burner hot plate and canned the cherries. They were washed then canned whole in the jars. Canning those cherries was hot work! It was summertime, and we were in the attic area of a barn with a canner going most of the day!!!
The part of the trip that really stands out in my mind is the evenings. The migrant workers would all gather in the open area on the lower level and we could look out over a railing and watch them. They would then begin to sing and play instruments and they had a lot of tamborines. The music was very jubilant and it scared us kids! We had never heard anything like it! I do remember that my parent's comments made me think we should not be watching. They kept telling us to just stop looking!! I also rememeber my mom saying "they must be Catholics"...hahah Isn't that hilarious? I wonder why she said that?? But I do know that growing up in a strict Mennonite home, I had the impression that all Catholics were going to hell!!!
We did look forward to going each year, but I wonder if my mom felt the same way. I can't imagine how much work that was!! Canning and preserving was a big part of my childhood, so that might be why I like it as much as I do now and continue it even though it is a lot of work!