It has been ages since I did a post but I’m back.
I absolutely love to work in my vegetable and flower gardens. When I was a small girl my Daddy owned a farm . We had chickens, hogs, an old mule named Hay-Burner, and my cat. If the barn and house were ever painted they lost even the smallest speck of paint ages ago. The faded, sun bleached boards were the most beautiful soft gray.
Momma worked in town so I spent my days tagging along with Daddy as he did the chores. When he went to the fields he’d take a quilt, fold it in a square and place it under a tree and I had to stay on the quilt. Momma had made that beautiful quilt by hand filling every stitch with love. It was an Heirloom but I was too young to appreciate it. Quilting was Momma’s hobby and we had a large stack of them each one prettier than the one before. He’d bring a quart jar of water from the well in case I got thirsty and put it in the shade near me. Then off he and the mule would go down the rows planting or harvesting which ever the season called for. As I watched them walk away, getting smaller and smaller, a lump of loneliness grew in my stomach. I was scared. Birds hopped around searching for seeds, bugs and what-have-you under the blackberry and other bushes that separated the fields and served as a wind break. I was sure every rustling of the dry leaves was a huge snake or other wild animal coming to get me. I would stare across the field until Daddy turned the mule at the far end of the rows and started back toward me. Then I felt relieved as he drew nearer. This was my routine no matter what crop he was working on. Of course as the corn, cane, cotton and tobacco grew taller I was unable to watch him as far. When he decided it was time for lunch he would unhook the mule from what ever piece of farm equipment he was pulling. Daddy didn’t talk much but I made up for both of us as we trudged back to the house. I’d make up stories about the animals I had seen in the underbrush. The trace chains rattled with every step the mule took and was a metallic backdrop for my stories. Sometimes Daddy would let me ride the mule back to the barn but most of the time he’d say “Girl, this old mule has worked hard too and he needs a rest.”
Once back at the barn he drew fresh water from the well and dumped it in the mule’s trough until it was full. While Hay-Burner glugged down the cool water Daddy filled another trough with food for him. Finally it was time for us to go inside and see what Momma had left us to eat. She always cooked before she left for her job in town. She would put out settings for two, set the food on the table then cover everything with a clean white sheet.
Daddy would draw up the large jug of tea that Momma had tied a cord around and lowered down in the well to keep it cool. We didn’t have a refrigerator but we were blessed with an icebox on the back porch. Ice was a luxury not everyone could afford. The ice man came twice a week and brought us a block. Momma would leave his money on top of the icebox. He’d take the ice we had left, if there was any, and put it along side of the big new block then wrap them in the quilt Momma kept in the top compartment of the icebox for this purpose.
After we ate it was my job to go and make sure the chickens had fresh water and check for any eggs they may have laid while we were gone.
Even after he quit farming and we moved to town Daddy’s love for working the land was a good part of him. He always had a garden.
So I guess I came by working the dirt naturally. I have my flowers and vegetables. I also have a few chickens, which make great fertilizer but that’s another story. When I’m out working in the yard I feel close to God and my Daddy and I have a wonderful peace.