methow grist 2011-2014 archive


I just came in the house with a few cucumbers and tomatoes from our garden. This year the 'garden' consists of a cucumber vine and a few tomato plants. This is a far cry from the garden we had as kids. We used to have a garden right behind the house and pumped water to irrigate it. Then the pump didn't work so well, so Dad and Mom went down in the brush below the house a quarter mile or so to a two acre or so flat spot. It had an old apple tree on it and may have all been in orchard at one time. The tree was a summer variety. Mom said it was a Striped Asterkin (the spelling may be off there). They took the tractor and a two-bottom plow and, after cutting a right of way to the creek, plowed a ditch down to the flat.

They didn't have any engineering equipment, but they knew water ran downhill. They tilled up the flat and ran a ditch along the high side. About half was planted to garden vegetables and corn. The east half was planted to oats. 

After the garden started to produce, Mom would go down each afternoon and gather items for supper. She would usually spend a while here. I suppose she liked to look at the garden and literally see the fruits of her labor, along with pulling a few weeds. One year we had a bear hanging around the garden. We never seen it, but it could pick apples higher than Mom could reach. One day she went to the garden and was back quickly. She explained that as she went across the small creek going before the garden, she seen bear tracks headed toward the garden with water still running into them. She got what she needed for supper and came back.

We didn't plant many spuds in the regular garden. Across the creek from the garden, there was another small flat area near the road up the buildings. Dad would work a part of this area up. Then he would pull the two-bottom plow along. Us kids would drop a piece of potato every so often in the open furrow. Then he would plow that furrow shut and open another furrow for us to plant spuds in. About this time of year or a little later, the spuds would be dug by hand and put in the cellar for the winter.


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