This week’s picture: I divided my cumcumber sprouts into 3 pots. Jerry’s Patio Garden is coming along.
This week’s post: While Waiting for the Soil Report
Spring was really springing in ther Spring of 1966. My vegetable plants were getting taller. The tomato plants finally came up. School would be out soon. All those good feelings were doused when the 4H lady told us that our soil reports would be delayed for another 2 weeks. That happened on a Friday and this meant that I had to start the weekend with a feeling of disappointment. The disappointment was small but it was disappointment nonetheless.
In the meantime,
It was a springtime weekend down south and that means it was hot! Mid-seventies in May. Saturday morning in the rural south meant chores –for me. First chore early in the morning was hauling water from the spring. This was mid-sixties in the rural south and a lot of families did not have running water yet. Many had wells in their backyard. Our well had finally run dry and we ended up filling it with dirt. My job therefore, was to journey up to the spring and fetch water once a day. After school during the week and and early on Saturday morning I would fetch the drinking water. I would take eight, one gallon plastic jugs, load them into my long red wagon and trek one mile uphill to the spring that was on the property of the Mills family. We were given permission to enter their property and fetch water from the spring. The spring was amazing. Just fresh water continually sprouting from the ground like water sprouting from a modern day park fountain. The water sprouted upwards about 5 inches high which was enough for me to place my gallon jugs underneath and fill each one. After filling the jugs I would slowly and carefully roll my wagon downhill and deposit the drinking water next to the old icebox (they called these refrigerators in the big city). Then i would reach into the icebox, grab a jug that was already there and pour myself a nice tall glass and drink my sweat away.
Chopping Wood for the Cook Stove
No one who lives in this 21st century digital age can imagine a cook stove that required burning wood for cooking. In was 1966 in the rural south “the country” and many families still cooked, fried, boiled, stewed, simmered and baked on wood burning stoves.
After hauling water, my next chore was to chop wood for the cook stove. Pulp wood was big business in the rural south and we had a few pulp wood trucks that passed through the neighborhood. After a drop off of wood from the lumber yard, the drivers would pick up scrap wood, load the scrap wood on their trucks and drop it off in the yards of families that needed it –for a negligible fee.
I would walk out to the front of the yard, rolling my long red wagon, with head down and focused on the next task. I would arrive at the scattered pieces of wood that were thrown from the trucks into the yard and begin loading them on top of my wagon. Usually, none ever fit in the wagon. I tied a rope around the stacked wood to keep it from falling off. The wood came in all sizes. Most pieces were at least four to five feet in length but with varying shapes, widths and thickness. I once found a piece that was perfect for stick ball! (Yes, we played stick ball in the country! It wasn’t just a big city pasttime). I would transport the wood to the back of the house where the axe and chopping box were. I would commence to chopping long pieces in to small foot long pieces that would fit into the stove. Then i would store some of the wood in a wooden feeding trough sat aside for wood storage and i would take a load into the house and place on a small bin next to the stove.
Hauling water, chopping wood and homework were my daily tasks –except weekends, then it was just hauling water and chopping wood. I can’t say that I really enjoyed any of that work then, but I really appreciate the experience now. It gave me a foundation of discipline and a work ethic which I apply to everything that I do now.
–especially with my current day, 2016 patio garden: my tomato plants sprung this week and I’m very happy about that! See you next week on Jerry’s Patio Garden!
Next Week on Jerry’s Patio Garden: My Soil Did Not Rate High At All in the Soil Report
Blog posts in Jerry’s Patio Garden appear every Sunday at 5:00pm
Disclaimer: Jerry’s blog about growing up in the rural south is based on many actual events and many ways of life. Many of the people appearing in Jerry’s blog are somewhat fictionalized and names are fully fictionalized.