Pioneer Potluck: About spring grabbing me

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 3:56pm
  • LifeFood

OH MY! Spring has grabbed me by the thumbs! It does not help to get nursery catalogues and flower books in the mail! I have read them ragged! It also does not help to have this beautiful sunshine coming in my sewingroom window and through the kitchen window of the house filling the rooms with warm sunshine.

I also have played (with much pleasure) in the dirt in Fireweed Greenhouse with Susan and Pam and it really fires up the spring fever! Reality sets in when I walk out my sewing room door and see the big glacier in our yard and a snow bank that has not melted to the level where I can see over it to check on the lake to see if the ice is melting on it! Not yet!

My mother loved flowers and spent hours in HER yard with a hoe and pretty flowered gloves to “tend to things.” After the new house was built the first year my dad labored at putting a lawn in the front yard where we had always played in the dirt. It grew fast and was very hardy. On the south side of the lawn, Mom planted a lilac tree and dug along the drive way with HER shovel to plant iris, cosmos, carnations and later years she planted chrysanthemums that bloomed in the fall. Mom had HER hoe and HER shovel — no one, absolutely NO ONE took Mom’s hoe or shovel. The hoe served two purposes: to dig little ditches to water HER flowers and to kill snakes if one ever ventured into HER yard. If she saw a snake — usually a little garter or garden snake, she would go into a little “snake dance” with her hoe, chop his head off, chop into little bitty pieces and then dig a ditch beside it and scrape the remains of the snake into the ditch, and then quickly pull the dirt over to the top — and her last part of her “dance” was to tamp the dirt down with the back of her hoe until it was smooth and the snake was safely secure in the ground. We all still smile when we recall Mom’s “snake dance.” Of course, we were all lined up “at a safe distance” watching this grand out of body experience our very conservative mother was displaying. On the north side of the house she planted lily of the valley. She also loved moss and when ever she saw a little piece of moss she would dig it up and carefully transport it to the north side of the house. When we went to “the mountains” (Poudre Canyon-Trail Ridge or up the St. Varin to Estes Park) she always came home with little bits of moss. The east side of the house was full of snap dragon, cosmos, day lilies, holly hocks. Roses did not do very well — much to her consternation (they needed lots of water, which we did not have). The only water all those flowers got the first couple years was irrigation water that Dad would “let” her have by allowing a little of his precious irrigation water for the crops, go through the culvert so it would flood the grass. Then Mom would be out in the yard in bare feet, guiding the water into little ditches so that all her flowers could have a drink. Colorado is mostly dry in the summer with a few rain showers — and sometimes hail. With the little bit of water that her flowers got, she really soaked them They thrived and bloomed for all to admire. If any of our neighbors came to visit they would make the rounds in the yard to smell and admire her flowers before they left. Mom loved the ooohs and awhhs.

While the water was in the ditch us kids would make mud pies, mud roads and dried mud bricks in the dirt, under the silver leaf maple tree and the big cotton wood and the two big elms. We had wooden blocks we pretended were tractors and trucks. We also had a yellow toy that was a tractor. My brother John played with that “because that is what Dad did!” We had imaginary cows and horses and sheep and pigs. I had bunnies (imaginary) and pretended to feed them by going out on the dried mud road and picking corn and hay and grain from the (imaginary) field. The real yellow toy tractor made noise like a big real green John Deere tractor my dad had. Our noise for that tractor was “tin-tin-tin-tintin.” We spent hours blowing “noise” through our lips with spit running down our chins making believe we were tractors, trucks and cars. Occasional we let out a “moo” or a “baa” or a whiney jut to make the whole imaginary mud farm real. AWWH those were the days — but I guess I have to wait to play in my country garden that Susan planted last year or pick the first rhubarb coming up out of the ground. Right now it is buried under a 6 foot snowbank. Wish THAT was imaginary!

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