For The Love of Mom and Garden Dirt

Hello, old friends and welcome new subscribers. For those of you in Australia, your growing season just finished, but we’re just starting here.

And so is a family ritual.: GIVING UP ON GARDENING.

In Grandma’s era, they hitched the horse to the plow, tilling a quarter acre for the garden. Mom’s era used a tractor. Like the women who came before her, it was simply how they fed the family through the winter.

So like my foremothers, each spring, I USED TO nag Dallas Cowboy Fan until he tilled my patch of dirt. Growing season is short in Oregon. For 4 months I  planted weeded, watered, debugged, harvested, and canned.

That garden exhausted me for over 20 years. When I lay down on summer nights, it felt as though my bones were sinking to the backside of my body.

About six years ago, I planted half the garden. And then, I graduated to planting only a quarter of the garden.

For the last three years, I’ve kept the plot weeded and composted, but haven’t stuck a seed in the ground. I’m full of excuses.

And now the earth is tilting again. The soil is waking  in the northern hemisphere. The garden is calling.

I remember the day Grandma said she wasn’t able to work in the garden anymore. We were shocked. She was giving in to old age. And twenty years later, when Mom started planting tomatoes in buckets from Home Depot, we knew the end of her era was coming.

So a couple of weeks ago, I stood, surveying my dirt. It made me tired to look at it. I decided to let the ground go back to the wild again. No more work for me.

But then, the memories invaded.

  • The giddy thrill of leaf-tips breaking through the soil.
  • Wars on rabbits and deer.
  • Cats keeping me company, watching from under the zucchini plants.
  • Missing green beans, strawberries, and melons because Scout and his friends had been in the garden snacking.
  • Kids digging taters and squealing like it was buried treasure.
  • Trudging to the house in the past-dusk, arms full of corn and tomatoes.
  • Night dew making the smell of  earth rise.
  • Moonlight on cornstalks, as we waited to chase raccoons away.

How many hours had I spent on hands and knees, working this dirt? I wasn’t ready to plant in Home Depot buckets yet. So I visited our Master Gardener’s Association.

It seems gardening has changed since the way Grandma and Mom did it.

Gone are the days of tilling a big rectangle of dirt each fall and spring.

Weed-Less is the “thing” now.

So, I put down a weedbarrier where I DIDN”T want to grow anything. And topped it with cedar chips.

I added  drip irrigation (instead of my spitting sprayer). (conserving water)

Floating row covers, give a head start on the season, and protect from critters and air-borne weeds.

In winter, spent plants will be removed, disturbing the soil as little as possible. Soil is covered…and awaits the call of Spring.

Folks say, they haven’t tilled their garden in 20 years, using this method. This isn’t weed-free. But weeding and watering take very little time each week. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s working out.

Floating row cover

I know there’ll come a day when I won’t put in a garden

anymore.  It’s coming.

But until then, I’m tethered to the women in my family, who for some reason sensed a calling each spring to put seeds in the dirt and wait.

And so it begins…

Here’s more about Weed-Less Gardening if you’re interested.

For new subscribers..

You might like to know that I also write another blog, Before Morning Breaks, under a different name. It’s a different post than this one. My apologies to those of you who didn’t like the same post in both places last time. I understand and don’t mean to disappoint, and will strive to keep the topics different. Thanks for letting me know what you like (and what you don’t).

Do You Garden?  How do you make it easier?

Advertisements

The WWII Ration Diet

From the National Archives

From the National Archives

In honor of Veteran’s Day this week, I have several acquaintances who are cooking only from the WW II Ration Plan.

Now, let me say that they live in Australia and England, and as I look at their food allotments, it has to be a real challenge to make meals.

WW2 Rations : Each person: Per Week United Kingdom

Butter: 1/4 Cup
Bacon or ham:  about 4 pieces
Margarine: 1/4 Cup
Cooking fat/lard: 1/2 Cup
Sugar: 1 Cup
Meat: 3/4 pound      <—THIS IS PER PERSON PER WEEK
Cheese: 1/4 cup
Eggs: one per week; supplement with dried eggs
Tea: A couple ounces of leaves per week.
Jam: two ounces a week…think in terms of a DAB on your toast
Sweets & Chocolate: 3 ounces a week.  (HINT:  A Hershey bar is 1.5 oz)

UNITED STATES

So let’s see what we could buy in the U.S for canned goods:

From Ames History Organization

From Ames History Organization

We have 48 points per month.I’d be tempted to blow it on 2 cans of pineapple, but that’s it for the month. I couldn’t buy any other canned food, but other family members could use their points.

As you can see, it would be better to have 3 cans of corn than 2 cans of grapefruit juice to live on for the month.

Some years ago, when I interviewed my grandmother about rationing, she was quick to point out that folks who lived on a farm …even a poor one…were used to doing without.

(Keep in mind they were just getting over the starvation of the Dust Bowl.)

“ANd we  grew our  own vegetables, skinny hogs and cattle. It was fuel and sugar that had us worried.”

With the problem of obesity so rampant, perhaps we should go back to this stricter food choice. We’d have:

  • No Starbucks
    No Fast Burgers or Pizza
    More Meatless Meals
    No food wasted. Instead we’d throw it in a pot and cook it as stew each week

I was admiring and  thinking about copying the WarTime Woman for just a week and eating according to

From the Wartime Woman: Beetroot Sandwiches

her rationing plans, but she lost me at BEETROOT sandwiches.

Hip hop on over and checkout her experiment.

http://thewartimewoman.com/

You’ll look at food differently.

In the meantime, Let us count our blessings. Thanks to both the veterans and civilians who help ensure that we eat in a time of peace.

 

How To Speak Hair to Your Hairdresser

I’ve not talked with anyone else about this….

Here's my selfie.

Here’s my selfie.

but do you happen to notice the back of heads when you sit at a play or in church?

Hopefully, whatever is happening soon takes my mind off others around me.
And, I know…I know…liturgy is the work of the people. It’s as though the pastor is the director, we are the actors and God is the audience. Once a week isn’t too much to give a little thanks.

But last week…there I was…noticing the head in front of me, and the haircut I wanted to wear.

I had to resist the urge to pull out my camera phone and take a picture. It’s been made very apparent that, “I don’t speak “hair.”

In case you don’t either…here are some handy-dandy “helps” to make sure you don’t come out of the salon, wearing a headful of something that you couldn’t  wear to a late-night convenience store.

HOW To Speak HAIR to your Hairdresser

  • BRING PICTURES.

    Front. Back. Side. Whatever you can get…which means I’m stopping ladies in grocery store aisles and asking, “Can I take a picture of the back of your hair?” I usually don’t ask for the front lest they think I’m a “Creeper.” Several times, I’ve taken pictures by using the zoom on my camera of haircuts that I’ve seen at concerts and plays.

“Really?” my stylist said with a cocked eyebrow, looking at my blurred photos?  “You want something that resembles an aviator’s helmet?”

Well at least it isn’t a photo from a magazine. She broke me from bringing those to her. I thought Meryl Streep had an awesome “do” in The Devil Wears Prada.  When I brought that photo, I earned TWO arched eyebrows.

“You do understand it’ll take about 5 days to achieve this look?”

“No…” I said meekly.

“Well, it’ll take about 4 consecutive visits to lift all the color out of your hair, then one or maybe two visits to put it back in and work the style.

“Just cut it like usual.” I shrugged.

And that’s when I learned—from every stylist in the salon—what it takes to make hair look like it does in a photo shoot. Lights, chemicals, cosmetics, clothing specialists, 4-5 days of work … “And it’s probably a wig,” one of them added.

Okay, okay. So now, I only bring in pictures of real people in bad lighting.

  •  DON’T SAY, “I WANT TO BE BLONDE

    Look at hair samples. Then grip your seat as your stylist tells you that because of the color of your hair, your color-job won’t turn out like that. (Or…it’ll take about 5 days to…etc. etc.)

When the stylist says, “It’s going to turn out more like…this,” and she points to a sample shank of hair in another color family, trust him/her. Don’t hope he/she is wrong and your locks will morph into a Julia Roberts sheen if you use a little “anti-frizz” oil and Big Sexy Root pump.

Again…trust me. I’ve learned the hard way. Now if I want a red streak in my hair to advertise the Church Blood Drive, I rub a hank of my hair with a red piece of chalk.

  • DO NOT LIE TO YOUR STYLIST.

Lutheran Lady secrets

Photo by Jehane

Perhaps you’re mature enough to remember Clairol’s advertising ploy…”Only her hair dresser knows for sure”?

Well…Confess all your hair sins! Your stylist MUST know what you’ve done to your hair.  Statements like, “ I haven’t used color on my hair in a year,” won’t fly.

“Are you sure? Because it looks like it has had color,” the stylist said.

“Oh…no.” I gave a solemn headshake. “I stopped that long ago.”

And then when she put her chemical mishmash on my hair, strange and unexpected greens appeared. I wasn’t being evasive on purpose…when it comes to hair… I forget.

“Breakage” occured in the follow-up days to fix the green sheen.

It turns out that the “color molecule” stays in the hair shaft long, long, long, after the “wash and wear” promise on the box has faded.  Actually, the only way to get rid of it is to grow it out and cut it off.

I’d like to say I’m mature and responsible hair owner. (Ha.Ha.Ha.)

I’d like to say … my stylist has whipped me into shape and taught me lessons about chemical pomades, nutrition, and even drinking more water. (Snort!)

What I’d really like is for my hair to look good without any effort. (I’m lazy like that, and if you’re one of those people who shampoo and run your fingers through your hair to let it air dry, and look stunning…well…I’m happy for you…about like I’m happy for the mother in my kid’s play group who used to say, “I never have to remind my child to do her homework. She just does it.” (BLaaaagh)

Photo by Stilfehler

So for now, I sit in church and notice the back of heads.

  • The mother who didn’t have time to do her own hair because she had children to herd.
  • Girls who have braided tresses without flyaways and loose ends sticking everywhere, and what tremendous patience SOMEONE had to have to accomplish that.
  • The lady who has a big hole in her hairdo because, like me, she never looks at the back of her head.

 And then there are the ladies with no hair.

And I remember why I’m there.

Talking to the Creator of the Universe about hair is different than talking to your stylist, isn’t it?

“Thanks for giving me a head,” is about all that’s needed and puts the rest into a perspective.

From that angle…we all look good.