Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Thoughts on Tractors, Sandwiches, and Paying it Forward

Alyce called me up and asked me to come over to the community garden with my camera and take some pictures of the official tilling of the soil.  She ran into Mr. Linde, an old friend over at the senior center, and he offered to bring his tractor over plow it up our plot. Alyce is in her eighties...can you believe it? She can handle a pitchfork as well as any twenty-something. (Probably better since twenty- somethings seem more adept with cell phones and remotes than implements designed for manual labor and profuse sweating. Don't yell at me here; I'm aware that I'm generalizing. But I'm just sayin'...)

Mr. Linde is an expert on that tractor. You can tell he's a 'tractor guy.' We have quite a few tractor guys in our small town. The great thing about tractor guys is that they love to drive their tractors. So even though our fair town doesn't have snowplows and such; after a snowstorm our tractor guys come rolling out of their barns and garages on their John Deere's, Kubotas, Farmall's, and New Holland's and start shoving snow every which way. They clear paths down the streets, get church parking lots ready for Sunday, and even do driveways for elderly folks. I guess I'm not elderly yet, because when the tractor guy came down our street he did my 88-year old neighbor lady's driveway, but passed right by me by as I was heaving snow from behind the Jeep. Last winter he didn't do anybody's driveway cause it didn't even snow. (We got an afternoon flurry in March that thankfully melted before I had to drive home from work in it; but that was it.) Tractor guys are very particular about their brands which are easily identifiable; even across a big field, by their color. John Deere's are green. Kubotas, orange. Farmall by International Harvester are bright red, and New Hollands are predictably blue. My favorite is John Deere's green. But I do also love a traditional old vintage-red farmall. Kubotas, like Mr. Linde's are pretty popular here in Lynden since we have both John Deere and Kubota dealers here in Lynden.

When I was little, we had a tractor guy on Slater Road. Old Mr. MacGregor  lived at the end of our road. Every spring he'd drive his old green tractor over the two big hills on our road, turn in our gravel driveway, and head back to our one-acre garden spot to plow. We never knew just when he was going to show up. Tractor guys generally work on their own time...since they work for nothing. That wasn't a problem though, since Old Mr. MacGregor was an expert gardener. He knew exactly when he should get our plot ready for planting.   Then another fellow  in a beat-up Ford pick-up would stop by with a truckload of cow manure. Neither of them ever asked for anything. When harvest time came, we gave just about everybody we knew some of our Blue Lake beans and Golden Jubilee corn or fresh-dug spuds.
These days they call it 'paying it forward.' Back then it was just being neighborly.
This my friend, is rich, fine soil. Very fine soil indeed! You know you're a gardener when nice dirt excites you. That and worms in the compost.
When I got to the plot, Alyce was tickled pink. "C'mere, I want to show you something." While she'd been pulling stuff up so Mr. Linde wouldn't have to run over it, she found these in my plot...

My tri-colored carrots survived the winter!!! If Alyce hadn't had that pitchfork in her hand I'd have done a do-si-do with her! We will be having fresh carrots with supper tonight; compliments of Mother Nature and her mild winter.

So tonight's fare will be fresh carrots and BLATs. That's Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato sandwiches. There's no point of eating a sandwich without avocado.

I buy my turkey bacon from Trader Joes. It's nitrate free so you won't grow horns (or tumors). I don't know if it's true, but I read that when scientists mixed nitrates (like those found in bacon, sausage and hot dogs) with soft drinks; they caused brain cancer in lab rats. Think about that when you're having hot dogs or pepperoni pizza and soda! So I think it's good to avoid nitrates if you can. That said, we still enjoy the occasional hot dog at a ball game. All things in moderation---right?

If you're looking for a healthful, easy meal, get some uncured turkey bacon from Trader Joes and make yourself a BLAT.I won't list an official recipe. I think you can figure it out!
And eat your carrots!



Val said...

Let's hear it for the tractor guys! They LOVE to smooth out our gravel road after the spring thaw.

Elephant's Child said...

Alyce looks amazing. And yes, you are so very right paying it forward was just neighbourliness - and was so common no-one mentioned it.
I love carrots - so long as they are raw. Cooked? Poison in my book. Yes I know, a bit weird.
I also get excited about soil - and was given a worm farm for Christmas a few years ago. I LOVE my worm farm. I feed them, I water them and I spread the castings over my garden. Magic.

Bookie said...

What a nice find, those carrots. Such a welcome back to the garden for you...a great start to spring.

I will have to pass on the avocado. The last two times I had a sandwich with avocado slices, I nearly died in the next 30 minutes!

Have a good day.

Debora said...

Val, tractor guys are great!

Elephants Child...Carrots are better raw, that's a fact. You sound like a worm fanatic! No wonder all of those birdies love your house. And yes, the term 'paying it forward' is for the birds! The word 'pay' seems to infer some kind of remuneration. As you pointed out...neighborliness is not looking for any kind of cosmic return on their kindness-other than feeling good inside.


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