As fall approaches on the farm, we gather in the pumpkins. I’ve experimented with many varieties, and settled on this one. It’s called the Old Time Tennessee Pumpkin. A local family gave me a start many years ago, and when it’s fed to livestock they call it the Cow Pumpkin or Hog Pumpkin.
Macon County Chronicle - Opinion / Blogs
Sweet basil fills up a long row in the garden. I eat it with tomatoes, but until a few years ago that’s all I ever used it for. Now, thanks to my Italian friends, I know what to make with it- pesto.
A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy on of your puppies.”
When he pares pairs of pears you know something sweet is in the air. They are hanging high in the trees, surrounded by bees, and I’d love another one, please. And when the crop drops we should stop what we’re doing and bop to the top of the orchard hill.
Pears ripen quickly and we picked up a few baskets that had already fallen. That was on Sunday, and Monday afternoon I planned on harvesting them. But first I had to plant turnips, mustard, and a crimson clover cover crop, which took until Tuesday.
When the poet Edwin Markham reached retirement age, thinking he was set for life, he discovered he was penniless. So the story goes, his banker had defrauded him. From that point on he was obsessed with the evil done to him by a man who was suppose to be his friend.
Recently, in a county and a school system not to far from Nashville, a little girl was made stay in her room because she didn’t have tennis shoes for her P.E. class. Our granddaughter attends the same school, and was upset when her classmate told her she didn’t have shoes for PE, and that the flip flops she had on was all she had. Our granddaughter went home and told her mother, who in action called the teacher and learned that the little girl was from a poor family. Our granddaughter sent a new pair of tennis shoes too the little girl.
As the summer garden wanes, a whole new garden can be planted for the fall. After the potatoes were dug, we bush hogged the weeds and ran the rebreaker through the field. Cucumbers, summer squash and sweet corn patches also got the same treatment. I don’t want to grow weeds when there are so many other choices.
An old saying goes “there are two things money can’t buy- love and homegrown tomatoes.” The climax of the summer garden is the gushing forth of the tomato crop. If you garden eight acres, like we do, or just eight square feet, it’s likely you are growing this favorite vegetable.
We hear countless remarks today about the high coast of living. However, we fail to hear enough and warn of the high cost of low living.
Benjamin Franklin once observed, “What maintains one vice would bring up two children.” Stop right here! Don’t read another word of this issue of Viewpoints until you have pondered seriously Franklin’s statement.
Everything seems to be ripening quickly this summer. Apples are weeks ahead, along with sweet corn and peppers. But, best of all, we don’t have to wait til mid-August for everyone’s favorite treat. Yes, the watermelons are in.
“No way” I said when asked if they were ripe yet. For the better, I was wrong again. I slipped my knife in deep and she cracked wide open, dripping sweet juice all over my face. We love watermelons.
Until 500 years ago the old world relied on small grains for their sustenance. Tiny seeds that had to be threshed out of the plants to provide something they could store and eat later. Then along came two plants which were far easier to harvest because they were big: corn and potatoes.
Successively sowing summer squash seeds surely secures a supply of squash and a successful season. We start in May and two months later planted the last three rows. Little ones are sprouting up as the old ones bite the dust.
Two elderly men were discussing the lack of standing for something today, and one of them quoted an old staying, “There’s nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow line and dead possums,” if that is the case, then the yellow lines and dead possums must be growing. To take a stand today on moral issues based upon “right” and “wrong” is to immediately become unpopular. Our entire population, at least at times, seems to be searching for “middle ground,” and as a result few are standing for anything.
Pole bean need to be staked. We’re growing two varieties this year, Kentucky Wonder and the Purple Variety that Ed and Margaret gave us many years ago. I like picking pole beans because I don’t like the bending over that bush beans require.
Along the garden’s deer fence is a good place to grow them. We lean sticks up against the fence and the plants quickly send up their runners. It amazes me how a climbing plant sends out tendrils and knows where to go, and how quickly they find the poles. By the time we finish staking the row, the first plants are already wrapping around the stakes.
We use two kinds of stakes. Eight foot long poles that are an inch by an inch are all the beans need to grow on. A local sawmill cut them for us, out of ash lumber. Poplar or soft maple won’t last as long as ash or oak.
An Old Danish proverb says: “It’s no disgrace to be poor, but it can be inconvenient.” I’m sure many could testify to the validity of this proverb. It’s never convenient to sit in a house where the electricity has been cut off for lack of payment. Things become so inconvenient. While the top dogs enjoy all the convenience made possible by a good income, the underdogs suffer the inconvenience of poverty. Incidentally, some of us may be in darkness before we know it. Electric bills don’t just go up once a year. Thanks to the mismanagement of TVA, they are increased quarterly.
Summertime in Tennessee brings forth the favorite fruits of the earth. Tomatoes and swee corn quickly follow on the heels of beans, squash and cucumbers, and the melons are swelling. So what am I doing out in the garden with lettuce and cabbage seed?
We are planting the fall garden, now, during the middle of the summer harvesting. the tiny seedlings will be ready to transplant in mid-August, to make their heads in September, October and November. To harvest then, we plant now.
Here is a proverb on wisdom: “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it…” (Ecclesiastes 10:8). Digging a pit is hard, but falling into it and getting out is even more difficult. The wrong act leads to trouble. One may dig a pit to ensnare another, but he may very well fall into it himself.
A great crop of garlic graces the garden shed. Tied in bunches and hung from nails in the rafters, it creates quit a sensation. Although the sight is on to behold, especially for garlic lovers, the aroma really stands out.
Each clove of garlic, sown in the fall, makes a bulb. They are planted six inches apart in rows 18 inches wide. A thick hay mulch is laid on over them immediately.
It was October when we planted the garlic patch, but I usually get them in during September. The beds received a healthy dose of compost and the soil was well pulverized. Only the biggest cloves from the best bulbs are used for seed, which insures the biggest and best harvest.
By July, we try to hang up the hoes and make much use of mulch. The benefits of mulching are similar to hoeing; it controls weeds and conserves moisture. But mulch has the added asset of bringing carbon into the garden.
During the Civil Rights years, a first-grade white girl met a black girl on school’s first day. Because of segregation, the white girl had not associated with black people. But things changed, and integration made both little girls afraid. When the white girl returned home after that historic day, she told her mother that she sat next to a black girl in school. Her mother was tensed, anticipating the worst. She asked her little girl what happened. The child said, “We were both so scared that we held hands all day.” The problems of our day would move toward resolution if we could learn from these little girls and hold hands rather than making fists.