Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Daughters- Gardening Part I

Dear Daughters,

        Not only do I Hope You Dance, as the song says, but I hope you garden too. 


        Because it is part of your heritage, it keeps your hands busy, your attitude humble, and it teaches important life lessons (things don’t always turn out but a new season is right around the corner).

        Your grandfather, Papa, was as you know a dry land farmer- the ultimate dice thrower in the face of South Texas heat and drought. 

        Couple that with the fact that he didn’t believe in crop insurance , and he became our own modern day Don Quixote, tilting successfully at many farming windmills ( which he could build by the way). Most years he won.

        When his land came out of the CRP program several years ago, he simply cleared it, and put in a crop . 

        That was a job easier said that done. His equipment was older, his crew was older, and all 650 acres of El Perdido was covered in brush.

        Once his crop came in that year, with my brother’s help on his days off, he cut his grain himself. He was 79 then.  I have never seen him happier.

        His only comment was that he wished his rows were straighter.

        When Papa met his new farming neighbor, a young man putting in his first crop, the neighbor told Papa that he was advised to-

do everything the viejo (old man) does.”

        We can talk about ways you can begin.  When I was your age I plopped a sweet potato in a Bama jelly jar and put it in a window. 

        Instant gardening. I was so proud.

        You may want to try house plants. Here is my theory on house plants- plants weren’t born to live in a house.

        This is an enormous subject, and I am just getting warmed up.

        Stay tuned for Part II (Grandmother Mills’s cuttings in coffee cans, Nonnie’s green thumb, and your mother’s struggle with a yard that is an acre in size and has archaeological surprises at every turn of the hoe).

        I love you,






Parisienne Farmgirl said...

OH my goodness - I love, love, love what you have to say here.
My Grandpa was/is a farmer. The love of dirt is in my blood and I am trying in every way to pass the passion to my small children... I think it's working.
Come by for a visit - lots of posts on gardening.

Chatty Crone said...

I think that is the best way to teach our children - you have done it by example.

Lisa said...

I envy your gardening heritage. While I am not a master gardener, the older I get the louder dirt speaks to me. This one thing I know...EVERYTHING in life is seedtime and harvest... marriages, businesses, relationships. You always reap what you sow. Thanks for a wonderful post.

LPC said...

Would love to hear more about your dad...

Jennifer said...

My grandfather still has his "retirement acres"- makes him happy! =)

I like to have my girls help me plant flowers each Mother's Day. This year I'm planning on helping them plant some flowers around their playhouse in the back yard.

Unknown said...

You darn near described Harold's Father, Harvey.
He was a wonderful gardener/farmer.

Your write is so beautiful, Laura.

Happy Easter!
Have a great day.
TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Everything I learned, I had to learn from books, friends, one in my family raised a garden! Sad:(

Nola said...

That is a beautiful post; it brought tears to my eyes and memories from my own childhood! Kudos to you for encouraging your daughters. Kudos to your dad (the viejo) for being your inspiration; may his rows always be straight!

Nancy's Notes said...

Dear Laura, what a special lesson for your daughters, I love the way you teach. You have a such a glorious way with words dear friend. I love reading about your family, your girls are blessed to have such a wonderful mother that shares with them all of what is important and grand in life.

Your friend,

Debra@CommonGround said...

I think I probably need to come and apprentice with you. I know I could learn a lot, more than just gardening!
love you,

Theresa said...

Oh how wonderful to pass this on to your Daughters! My Daddy was a farmer too, small/country farmer but a darned good one. Best vegetables EVER! I miss those days of smelling the fresh soil turned up before the last frost. Watching the weather to see when he would start planting. Ahhhhh those were the days Dear Laura. Who cares about straight rows? Not me:) Have a blessed day my friend!

Lamp Tramp said...

What an amazing are so right to tell our children to garden. With tears in my eyes, I think of my dad, a teacher, who always had his own garden. It was his true passion, love, and solace. I remeber the TOMATO FIGHTS we were allowed to have as kids... when too many tomatoes rippened at once. We couldn't share or eat them after a certain point and this was an annual event that our whole neighborhood loved. I remember planting potatoes and harvesting them. Pure joy of home grown deliciousness! Then we always had a "CORN OUT", when the corn needed to be eaten or go to waste. We had lots of neighbors over, it was a heavenly cook out of corn... boiled & roasted and always ened with S'mores! What great garden memories.

I have joined the many in the new home harvest wave. I grow lettuces and tomatoes in pots, blueberries, lemons in the ground and hope add a few more veggies this year!

Home farming is sweeping the nation and I am caught up in it.

Karen said...

I love this posting, Laura. I got a glimpse of you today beating a path across your yard... on a mission. Your hard work is paying off for sure. Your yard is looking lovely!

Blondie's Journal said...

Wonderful post, Laura. And surely your theory on house plants was arrived upon after years of research at my house.


Stacey said...

Great advice, Laura. I come from a long line of gardeners too and it's one of my favorite things in life. No vegetables for me..just pretty plants and flowers. Gardening bonds many people.

Deb said...

hope your girls are listening....

Sandra said...

I still remember my grandfather's garden. We couldn't wait for those tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches. Then my father-in-law was my gardener. Same excitement for those tomatoes, but also green beans, squash, corn. Yummy. I may try a little gardening myself this summer. You inspire me.
I tagged you! Do it when you have time. It's planting time now so don't worry about it ;-) xoxo

Roxanne said...

Laura, I'm so tickled you dropped by and as you know, I appreciated your comment. I'm always amazed at your beautiful writing and sincere expression of thoughts! I, too, love flowers and growing things....I come from a long line gardeners too! Spring blessings! Please come back soon!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Laura, Thank you for letting us in and being able to read this beautiful and touching post. Oh, the wisdome and love of a mother. Such a blessing to read.

Joanne said...

When I read your first line, I knew I'd love this post. Since my daughters were tots, they've had their own patch of garden to plant a flower garden every Spring. It's been a wonderful ritual, and experience, watching them learn and grow with each new garden. Gardening is about so much more than it seems at first glance, don't you think? I clicked over from Marguerite's, and enjoyed my visit!

Dixie said...

When I first moved to Texas (Dallas area) in 1983, I almost lost my love of gardening. I had left behind in Mississippi, the rich soil of the Mississip Delta... I ended up in dark black, hard and unyielding clay dirt... I often said "Texas is the first place I've ever lived where you had to dig up the dirt and replace it before you could plant anything!"... My oldest daughter called me last weekend from Allen, Texas... "Mom... you know what you always use to say about Texas dirt... well... it's still true..." Such is the life of a gal gardening in North Texas... Thankful that I now live in South Texas... but guess what... same darn dirt!

June said...

Laura what a wise, wise momma you are. Teaching our children their heritage gives them a greater sense of themselves. I am proud to have a farming heritage behind me as well. I really wonder if that is why I LOVE dirt so much.

Southern Fried Gal said...

I love this post. I'm a gardener at heart. My family on my mother's side raised crop and livestock for a living. I live in the big city (well not too big it is Arkansas after all) but my home reflects my background. I play gardener in my yard each year. Can't wait to hear more! Have a blessed weekend!

Jenny said...

What a beautiful post. I am printing this out. Thank you.


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