Maybe it is being surrounded by snow, ice and cold weather too long. Or it could be the bright and lengthening rays of sun that make appearances and often fool us as to actual temperatures. But we are starting to believe that spring will come. The cat sits on the porch rail at my mother’s getting an imaginary tan. The calendar says it is mid-February, and it is getting to be that time of year when one can think of gardens and flowers and "cuttings" and things just for fun.
My mother says she plants things for the grandkids, but I think it’s still the kid in her. She can't resist that old trick of Grandma’s of letting the kids see what can grow. She has little plastic cups sitting on the counter by her big south windows.
Now don't laugh, she has a stub of celery that is putting out little green leaves, some garlic and onions that sprout fast and long. She also has the top part of some carrots that really look like fern almost, remembering the year we had one that grew to bucket size.
The sweet potatoes didn't sprout. She thinks they might be treated so they don't, but she always has to try. And of course she always has some petite chia plants that delight the grandkids because they come up so fast. I think somewhere she still has a clay head with lines to fill with seed to grow green hair. But it is just as fun having a little pot of the tiny green plants – and yes, they are edible, whether dry seeds or green as grass.
Do you think it’s time to start your garden like our mothers and grandmothers used to? Even my mother has quit planting a garden (except for tomatoes and peppers) because it is easy to pick them up at the market. We don't have to go through the cultivating, weeding, watering and fighting the mosquitoes to have a big garden.
I do admire those who still grow their own fruits and vegetables and then can the produce besides. Is there anything fresher than those you grow yourself?
I was watching the newscast the other night on television and they were talking about planting "school gardens.” It not only taught the kids the growing process but it encourages children to eat nutritious vegetables and fruits. It’s almost like finding Easter eggs, as they discover that first little radish or cucumber, or tiny baby carrots just like in Mr. McGregor’s garden.
Years ago there weren't so many places to buy plants, so women started their cuttings and seeds in soup cans and set them on the window ledge, where they could get sunshine and light.
I remember the late Bud and Nadine Berg of Clarks Grove, who planted a garden and gave spare seeds to the kids who planted them in their sandbox. Guess who had the nicest and most productive garden? I didn't know seeds would grow so well in sand, but evidently enough dirt made its way into the sand and the mix produced exceptionally well.
It is almost that time of year when one can start those little seeds to grow plants to set out in the spring. Heirloom seeds are available to "borrow.” You save seeds from your garden to give back to the seed banks. Why heirloom seeds? Because they are still the real thing, not manipulation, which is suppose to make them better or more productive. Ask a master gardener and they will tell you different and the taste will be worth the effort.
Glen Hanson, who used to live in Geneva, always planted his potatoes on Good Friday. Always! One year the cold or snow was too prohibitive and he took a ribbing. His friends said, "Now what are you going to do?" when he thought he was going to be able to plant potatoes in the cold ground. He found some five-gallon pails and planted some potatoes in them so he could brag about his new potatoes for the 4th of July.
My neighbor, Solvieg Sorenson, would take one of the top prizes for her garden, and she still cans the extra produce. Old habits that some think of as work, can be fun to others.
Once again my thoughts go back to Everett Jensen. He had some neat garden boxes he had built in his yard. Made me green with envy. His were not as high as I would need but those raised beds were not only attractive but looked like fun. (Over the years I have learned it is surprising what one can do sitting on the ground. Also, working while sitting on the ground has its advantages. It can really give you a different outlook on things.)
I think of all the good stuff we send with the garbage truck that we could mulch for good soil. I thought my mother was a little crazy when she used to save egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels, vegetable peelings and mulched leaves that crowded the back yard. The results were amazing, and no artificial fertilizer. Of course she also had the privilege of using lake water and shoreline "seaweed" etc. to add to the mix. Made one wonder if we were eating and drinking the right stuff or should we go back to nature.
My uncle Paul always saved his lawn clipping and used them between the rows in his garden. Surprising how it kept the ground moist and warm but weed free. His garden plot “grew up” to raise good dimensions in the process.
More produce then he needed? If so, there was always someone who was happy to share. In particular he remembered the elderly who could no longer garden. I recall he planted cabbage while it was still cold in the spring. The cabbage grew and was always early, crisp and tasty.
Maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself, but thinking about working in the garden sure beats shoveling snow! After all, this is supposed to be "Whatever Comes To Mind!" Call me a dreamer, but that is where my thoughts took me today.
Some of our Star Eagle readers have commented they like to read about events such as family and school reunions, birthdays and anniversaries, and birth and wedding announcements. In order to read about these important things we need our faithful readers to pass along the information to us.
This week’s birthdays and anniversaries include:
• Thursday, Feb. 27: Steve Pence, Jean Anderson, Garry Nordhorn, Doris Rasmussen, Journey Churchill-Malcolm, Erik Cooper, John Olson, Jayden Dakota Tonkins, Nancy Ingvaldson, Daryl Van Ravenhorst
• Friday, Feb. 28: Troy Utpadel, Neil Pence, Jackie Miller, Steve Engel, Dan Nesdahl, Bennett Dobberstein, Atom Oquist, Sharese Lehmberg, John Marlin, Gerry Flim, Michelle Nelson, Michael Nelson, Tyler Titus, Tiffany Mischke, Michael Coy, Jim and Diane Butler
• Saturday, March 1: Dan Nelson, Arlen Brekke, Chet Alan Hansen, Jordon Cook, Rick Loberg, Sara Ihrke, Duane Reichl, Nicole Farr, Emily Ayers, Paula and Richard Conroy
• Sunday, March 2: Willard Christenson, Wilfred Christenson, Laurie Jensen, Angie Hagen Rasmussen, Joanne Kaiser, Roger Langlie, Casey Lyman, Abner Smith, Alexis Elizabeth Klocek, Ronnie and Marcia Hutchins, Paul and Kathy Underland
• Monday, March 3: Jeff Lageson, John Crabtree, Valerie Tobiason Quiring, Maurine Larson, Frank Thompson, Bill Draayer, Terri Jensen, Darlene Christensen, Charlie Hanson, Jessica Tufte, Terri Miles, David Underland, Darren and Christine Hanson, Angie and Jeff Rasmussen, Nicole and Nathan Milender
• Tuesday, March 4: Dawn David, Teresa Hove, Larry Spear, Julia Elizabeth Neitzel
• Wednesday, March 5: Dayna Schember, Nicole Ella Schultz, Tim Toft, Vickie Haberman, Steve Van Ravenhorst, Declan Dean O'Brien (his 2nd)
• Thursday, March 6: Valerie Schember, Aaron Reese, Larry Reese, Dawn Dulas, Lynda Maddox Norland, Wade Wacholz, Ryan Schimek, Marlene Peterson, Lillian Weaver, Jami Ann and Travis Marzolf
• Friday, March 7: Jace John Goslee, his 8th; Marlee Diane Dutton, her 10th; Jake Ortiz, Emily Horan, David Otterson, Chuck Hagen, Lorna Reistad, Kenneth Peterson, Lance Cummins, Peggy Evenson and Rose Myhre
• Saturday, March 8: Derek Alan Lee, Janice Olson Paulson, Greg Nelson, Carla Paulsen Haugen, Melissa Trindad, Kathy and Mike Plunkett, Stephanie and Tom Pulley
Wishing you quiet moments of beauty on your special day!