As I recall, I have always wished I was a pioneer, or a farmer at least. In Dayton, I would get a farmer game going with the boys. We would harvest our "wheat" which was just tall weeds with seed heads at the top. I, of course, had to have one of those hanging from my mouth like a real farmer would do. ;o) We would gather the onions which grew wild in the backyard. There were mulberries to be picked and lettuce in the form of dandelion leaves. We would stack the wheat up as high as we could. Then it was time to eat our harvest. I actually convinced Jared to eat a small portion of our harvest once. (I got in trouble for that one).
In Florida, I had a friend named Shashayla and another named Desiree. Jill Jensen was my best friend but she wasn't into the pioneer thing really so I never did play that with her but both of the other girls played it with me almost every time we got together. I loved it. Desiree had a big back yard with a vegetable garden and some fruit trees. We weren't really allowed to pick anything but we pretended. The coolest thing, though, was her bucket. It was galvanized metal and I thought it was the most pioneer looking bucket I had ever seen. So I was the lucky user of this bucket every time we played at her house. I would go get water from the well which was nothing more than the water hose.
In Utah, I tried my hand at a vegetable garden. Luckily it was a very small one because it failed miserably. While I had the desire, I had no idea what I was doing. Underneath a big pine tree, in rocky soil, is no place to grow vegetables. When we moved into the Pead's house and they had the garden on the side of the house, I tended to it, as I think other people did as well. Sadly, it was mostly jalapeno peppers which I didn't like. The next year, I weeded the garden except for inside the tomato cages. Nothing got weeded inside the cages because I didn't know what the plants looked like. I was very sad when time went by and nothing looked like it was growing big. That's when I found out that they don't just grow back every year...you have to plant them again.
Back in 1986, I went to my grandparent's house for the first time that I am able to remember being there. It was like a paradise to me. They had lots of cats and the allergies killed me but it was worth every time I felt like ripping my eyes out of their sockets so I could really get in there and scratch. Grandma taught us how to pick berries and let us have as many as we wanted. Grandma told us that snails were bad for the plants so the boys and I made this game up. We would run around looking for a snail which weren't hard to find. As soon as we found a snail, we'd yell out "cop a snail!" I don't know where the name came from but it sure kept us entertained and we collected a ton of snails off her plants! I spent a lot of time looking at all the plants and thinking I was on a real live farm. Grandpa showed me how to collect the eggs from the chickens they had in the cages out back. I was too afraid to do it without him right there...the chicken with only one eye really freaked me out. I went out with him every morning to get them but I would usually just let him do it but I felt great pride just being with him while he got the eggs.. Then, he brought out his riding mower and let me drive it. Well, that did it. I was on a tractor, on a farm, at least to my young mind. I felt so grown up driving it. When I crashed into something, he would just yell above the engine noise and tell me what to do to get out of the mess...he never got mad that something got broke or bent. He just laughed and it made it very fun.
Looking back, I think that that visit to my grandparents' was what started my dream of living on a farm. The fun and positive experiences I had that summer have stayed with me all my life and every time I think about it, I smile.
Sadly, my grandpa passed away recently. I regret that I never took the time or effort to get to know him on any real level. He was such a happy man who was quick to laugh and slow to get angry. Though he was blind, he knew every inch of his yard, where every bird feeder was and where every plant was. He was sharp as a tack! Too bad I didn't get that from him as well.
It just didn't seem right, him not being there. And as strange as it was for me, someone who has only been there a handful of times, I can't imagine what it must feel like for my grandma. But she was a rock, at least while we were there. She was smiling and reminiscing with the others and tears would come to her eyes occasionally but she never cried. I am amazed by her strength. She and Grandpa were best friends and they did everything together so I know it can't be easy. She is an amazing woman with a wealth of knowledge that astounds me. I wish I could just have all the information she has stored in her brain!
It was great seeing my extended family. It had been 11 years since I had seen my Aunt Liz and her children. Of her 5 children, only Matthew and Kelly were able to come. Matthew was 9 last time I saw him and now he's a full grown man, taller than me! It had been 12 years since I had seen Grandma and the uncles. I am so glad I went even though I felt a little weird about going...like I might be intruding on a personal matter since I didn't know them all that well.
While I was there, I found out that Grandma and I have a few things in common. We both love cookbooks! Her collection is MUCH larger than mine but she’s had a few more years to work on her collection. I took pictures so Adam could see what mine could look like someday. Also, we both like crocheting. Her skill level is well beyond mine of course. She taught me how to crochet a granny square and a square with a rose it. She was a very good teacher. I guess if she could teach blind people how to decorate cakes, then she can teach a sighted person to crochet. I really enjoyed that time we spent together while I was learning those squares. What an amazing woman! I am going h=to have to make an effort to keep in touch with her this time and let this opportunity pass me by as well.
I did not include any pictures of Aunt Liz or Matthew since they prefer not to have any of their pictures seen…or at least Aunt Liz does.
Grandma giving us a tour of the garden.
Grandma's new garden shed. It even has electricity.
Purple people eaters
These cana lilies are taller than her house!!
Yum! I had one for breakfast one morning, along with a tangerine from another tree and some berries from her vines.
Passion flower. She gave me some clippings from it but I don't think they made it. :o(
This is what Grandma taught me how to crochet during my visit. Her's looked much better, of course.
Uncle Mike. It was the only picture I have of him looking at the camera since this was the only one I happened to mention to him that I was going to be taking his picture. He told me about his email service. It's really cool. It reads his emails to him.