I'll be digging my potatoes this week. The killing frost of last Friday night put the end to any further growing in our garden. It's time to dig the spuds. Some folks might laugh at why I plant potatoes. Why, they say, would anyone want to go to the trouble of putting in a crop of russets, reds or Yukon golds when you can easily buy them in any grocery store? And, except for certain times of the year, potatoes are not really a very high price item. Well, I'm here to tell you that there are many reasons to plant potatoes, and the tuber has more uses than just being cut into French fries.
My farm dog never knew what a collar was. He never had a kennel. He never traveled more than a mile from home and he never, ever came in the house. Things have changed in dog-dom. I recently was involved in a region-wide festival where the community welcomed in folks from around the Midwest and Canada. The festival saw a great turnout of mostly rural types or urban types who wanted to be or once were considered rural. One of the things I found interesting in that group was how many of them brought their dogs with them.
Not all farming was blood, guts, sweat and grime. Sometimes I think the general public got that picture of how farmers always lived in years past. I've found over the years that many farmers were actually very sensitive and caring creatures. They just had a hard time showing those attributes at times. You know, the strong, silent, endure any pain types? I've heard that the 2014 apple crop is beginning to come in.
My family hasn't gone on a camping trip this summer. Don't ask me why. I guess the days and weeks just passed us by with a cold, wet spring and an all-too short summer. We usually take a short trip sometime after ice-out, but not this year. That will change, perhaps in the next few weeks. Camping was not in our farm vocabulary on those western Iowa plains.
The first musical instrument sound I probably ever heard, outside of the organ at my church baptism, was probably that twang of a rhythm guitar. My dad picked up the guitar during his hitch in the Army Air Corps in World War II and he brought the guitar home with him to the western Iowa farmland he called home. I can still hear the St. Louis Blues being played from that old farmhouse parlor. That sound must have impregnated itself into my infant brain cells because I've never tired of hearing it.
I still change my own oil once in awhile. Don't ask me why, because a person can have most any garage change the oil in your car or truck at not much more and maybe even less money. But I just like the feel of unscrewing that drain plug and listening to the dirty oil gurgle out of the crankcase. I like feeling the oil filter break loose from its housing and then the feel of warm oil dripping down my lower arm.
Those of my generation who grew up in the countryside can attest to the value of our paternal and maternal aunts and uncles. I had the privilege of welcoming my Aunt Vera to our home last week on her annual sojourn to visit my mother, her sister, and my dad, her brother-in-law. Aunt Vera and I share a certain common bond when it comes to family. She is the oldest of nine children and I am the oldest of all the grandchildren on my mother's side of the family. Being born first comes with a certain amount of responsibility.
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! (Expletives deleted to protect the innocent!) That was my reaction last week as I was crawling through my electrified garden fence. No, I did not touch the wire. I was stung by two bald face hornets in the fat part of my hand between my thumb and first finger. The bees lingered there, implanting me with their venom while I slapped them into their eternal home. But, they left their mark and it took a week for the swelling to recede. I am not a favorite of bees.
Our community is going to try a new festival this week. It's going to be called the Zany Zucchini Street Festival. It may be interesting. Small communities all over the country come up with odd ways to bring in an extra body. This is what we small communities have resorted to with the gravitational pull of huge, regional shopping centers. Well, we don't give up easily out here in the hinterlands, and even a small dog can put a big dog on the run by nipping at its ankles.
Ahhh ... what to do at this mid-point of July? The days are getting shorter. The Fourth of July fireworks are history. Some of the summer festivals have wrapped it up for another year and walks in the woods are accompanied by 10 million mosquitoes and, in this country, an equal amount of deer flies. Life gets less complicated at the midpoint of summer. Baseball and soccer camps are about over and I see ads on television hinting at "back-to-school." I hated to see those appear when I was still attending schools of higher learning.