Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some Random Thoughts On The Last Day Of July

When I was a kid I hung on every word my two grandma's said about life in the "old days". They grew up in the horse and buggy days. I never had the opportunity to meet my dad's dad. He was born in 1887. No that's not a typo he was born in 1887 and passed away when my dad was a boy. I was 5 or 6 when my mom's dad died so I don't remember many of his stories about when he grew up.

But, my grandma's had ample opportunity to tell me how things used to be. The majority of my growing up was spent with both of them and us living in one house. Grandma Nellis owned the house and my parents rented from her. She lived in the basement converted to an apartment. Grandma Hayes, my mom's mom lived up stairs with us. Plus Grandma Nellis' brother, Uncle John lived down stairs with her.

People were always shocked that we all lived like that. I suppose if I had not been an only child things might have been different, throwing a few more kids in to the mix. All and all things went pretty well during those years. Everyone seemed to keep their own space and mind one another's own business. For the most part.

But, like I said I always hung on every word they'd tell me about the old days. I remember it didn't really take much for me to get them talking, even Uncle John. I'd just ask a pointed question about life when they were young and sometimes I'd get a half hour long history lesson. I always knew it would be a good one when they'd get a certain look in their eye and lean back in their chair. The look they got in their eye was like they were looking back to the past, like they could touch it, like they could live it all over again. They'd stare off out a window or look right through the wall as they relived their lives in a day gone by. I loved it.

Somehow I knew at an early age something was terribly lacking in the industrial age and turbulent times I grew up in. There was something that seemed more pure about living life close to the earth, even though it did sound like tons of work and most everything was done by hand.

I probably had more conversations with Grandma Hayes since she lived upstairs with us. I'd ask her about the first time she'd seen a car or the first time she'd seen a plane. She was really rather unimpressed with it all. Gram, as I called her, was never much of a technology buff and was never really struck by seeing all these things for the first time. I always wondered, why not? All the modern technological stuff must have seemed fantastic.

But, looking at life through my 44 year old eyes I now realize that really, all that, must have been like anything now. I mean, I remember alot of firsts. For instance I remember seeing a micro-wave oven for the first time. A computer. Robots. The space shuttle. I've always like technological stuff but, I see now that it all easily becomes old hat. It might be kind of neat at first but, then the newness wears off and you get used to it all.

I do remember Grandpa Hayes getting pretty excited about the first man on the moon in 1969. He set up chairs around the T.V. in our living room and I remember well the excitement as the moment built up. He paced around looking at the clock and talked about all the details and about what a historic moment it all was. When the time was right he turned on the old black and white and we took our seats waiting with bated breath. We watched from the safety and comfort of our living room the first man on the moon. Grandpa said he always hoped to live to see a man on the moon. You know, I always wondered why they never went back. The way they all talked over the years we certainly should have had colonies up there by now.

For awhile now I've been telling my kids that right now the days we're living in are historic times. Since 911 happened and the subsequent wars. And now run away fuel prices and an economy that seems on the brink of disaster. Historic times indeed! I say, "are you paying attention to all this?" A light will go on in their heads and they say, "yeah, that's right".

You know, I'm going to have to change that part on the right side bar were we say how we've been raising our kids here since 1998. Our youngest is now 17. The other two are grown up now. They're all pretty much raised. They all still live at home. A while back our middle child Brianna almost got married but, that wound up falling through. It was sad because we thought the world of the young man but, in the end it was for the best for both of them.

Well, I had full intentions back in June of making a post celebrating our 10 years of living here as it was ten years ago in June that we packed up and moved to our place here in Northern Wisconsin. The month came and went and here we are the last day of July already. Kids can do alot of growing up in ten years. They seemed so young when we moved and now they seem so grown up.

I was going to tell how we didn't have running water or a bathroom for the first summer we were here. We went to the lake a mile down the road frequently for baths. We also used a solar shower. The only down side to that is you have to take a shower in the middle of the day if you want it hot. Many times we heated water and poured it into the solar shower to be able to get a hot one like early in the morning or at the end of the day after the bag had cooled off.

We've put down roots here, in more ways than one. It is now our home. There's tons of things we still want to do that we haven't yet accomplished. I guess one thing in regards to that, that took some getting used to for me was the lack of funds it would have taken to do everything we wanted. It has been a much slower process than I would have anticipated. But, slower can be better in many ways. At least it's not as easy to run ahead of God that way. However this year we have seen a pretty big step forward to fulfilling some long standing dreams. Like with starting the CSA.

This summer I'm finally getting a chance to put some of Eliot Colemans gardening methods into practice. Ever since I first read his books I thought he had an excellent approach to gardening. I was hooked from the words in his Four Season Harvest book,
" This is the 'don't worry be happy" school of gardening. There is always tomorrow. If some other important aspect of your life calls you away and weeds dominate the beans or the new planting germinates poorly, just erase the problem and start again. Take a hoe and a rake, clean off the area, and replant it with whatever crop comes next in the sequence. Sure, one crop may be missing, but there are plenty of others. I guarantee you that professionals who grow a wide range of crops will fail on a few every year.

This is no longer the old ' I only had one chance to plant and I goofed' situation that you may dread. In the four-season garden, you have many chances and many seasons to come. Everything, even so called failures, can have a purpose. Look on the weeds as the soil savers that they are- in essence a short term green manure. Their roots have aerated the soil, and their tops will add to the bounty of the compost heap. Move ahead, get out the seed packets and plant something new. This process has no penalties, only rewards; no disasters, only opportunities."

Now that's my kind of gardening. "Don't worry be happy".

This past week we've made more late season plantings of radishes and various lettuces. And soon we will plant some more in the green house after some of those spaces become available. I'm anxious to see Colemans, Four Season Harvest techniques in person. So far his methods have proven true for us this year.

We had abundant shares this week as things are coming in pretty good now. All the squash plants are producing and the beans and carrots are ripe. Didn't get a chance to take any pictures earlier today. Perhaps tomorrow we'll snap off a few of the couple shares that haven't been picked up yet.

This has been about as perfect a summer as we've ever had in the past ten years here. Warm days, a great mix of sunshine and clouds, a good amount of rain for the gardens and cool nights for sleeping. A good combination for growing things, except for the cool nights. Upon talking to the other growers it seems the consensus is that the cool nights have slowed the growth of most of the crops. But, finally things are now starting to come on line and we are seeing a more abundant harvest.

We're excited for our neighbors and friends who are helping us with growing vegetables. They are developing a blue berry plantation and were able to provide some blue berry's for the CSA shareholders. Blue berry's are some of our favorites and it's exciting to play a part in helping them find customers.

Well, as the title of today's post says these have been some random thoughts. I usually have to stay up late in order to get something put on here. I enjoy it but, all the things we do takes precedent over sitting down at this technological wonder called the computer. But, don't get me started about computers. Sometimes I think these things are more of a pain than they're worth. It seems you have to do more maintenance on these things than you do on an automobile. Always something. But, one word of note about computers. We have an old one that we use for business stuff. We no longer use it on line at all. In fact the thing is old enough that we couldn't go on line anymore with it if we wanted now that we have high speed. But, what I'm saying is, it never has problems anymore. It hums right along and never so much as hick ups ever since it's been off line. Tells you something about this Internet stuff I reckon. Maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be.

But, enough random thoughts for today.

Until Next Time


Blogger Country Girl said...

I wanted to a CSA but my husband was not into it so we started up a small road side stand.
I have Four Season Harvest out from the library right now!
Your right 10 years goes by fast! In ten years my kiddos we'll be just about all grown up.:(

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad you spend the time to put these posts together. They are always enjoyable to read

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To everything there is a season... Be it raising kids, or learning from our elderly, or learning and leaning on old things like gardening, not technolgy...
Thanks for the thoughts...
Have a great August


8:22 PM  
Blogger RL said...


One disadvantage we are noticing with a CSA is the pressure is kind of on since the customers have prepaid and we want to give them their money's worth. Plus everyone is getting the same stuff whether they like it or not. We aren't customizing the shares. We'll see by the end of the season how many people want to do it again next year and if they found it acceptable or not.

The road side stand offers flexibility but, then again you don’t know what is going to sell and what is not. There are advantages and disadvantages either way that's why we are doing both.

I looked at your blog the other day and I’m sorry to hear that your stand got pilfered. So far we have not had any bad experiences in our area. But, there is always a first. Where we came from the honor system would never begin to work. I remember the last time we did a yard sale down there even the yard sale signs got stolen. Makes you feel violated.


Thanks for the comment.

Hey Jeanette,
Thanks for sending the pictures of you guys from Six Flags. Looks like you all had a good time.

Take care and God bless,

9:45 AM  

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