Gardening is on the brain...so that got me thinking about my Grandma's childhood on her family farm. So here's a little story for you.
1940's. A sugar beet farm in rural Utah, springtime
I hope Daddy doesn't come round and see that I've replanted a beet after it's been thinned. How many times has he told me to leave one of the beets in the ground after Nadine and Beverly, my older sisters, have gone through and blocked the rows with their hoes. I am supposed to remove all sugar beets except for one so that one can grow nice and big. If you forget and take out all the sugar beets and then try and replant one, it'll wilt. I can't tell the difference between one I've replanted and one that was left in the dirt properly, but I'm only 10. Daddy can always tell the difference...and I know that sugar beet won't grow now. He'll say to me, "Evelyn, if I told you once, I told you twice to leave one beet in the dirt." Maybe he won't notice this time...
Jay, my younger brother says his knees hurt. My knees hurt too. I forgot to bring the pads Mama made for me and now I have to climb all over the clods of dirt on nothing but my hands and knees. I'll be glad when thinning is over. I'd sure like it if Daddy'd hire some workers to help with the thinning of the beets, but he never does. It's just us kids and Daddy doing the work.
Harvest time later that same year
Daddy went to the work camp today in his big old farm truck and brought back a bunch of German war prisoners to help in the field. Mama and Daddy don't let my sisters and me work beets when the prisoners are here. So we stay inside and help Mama make bread so they have something to eat after working all day. Some of the prisoners wear gold watches and speak English. Daddy says that means they are educated and had high positions in the German army. When the work is done for the day, Mama takes our big aluminum coffee pot, a couple loaves of bread and a jar of jam out to the prisoners. Mama says if it weren't for Daddy's mama, she'd never have learned to cook, on account her mama was a fancy lady who liked to get dressed up and go to town instead of cooking and cleaning.
I like it when the German prisoners or the Mexican migrant workers come around, because that means I don't have to work in the field and get all sun burnt and messy. But when no one is around to help, that means it's me, my sisters and brother who get to do the work. First the plow digs up the sugar beets and by harvest time, boy are they are big! We walk down the rows with our sugar beet knives that are strapped to our hands They're about 10 inches long and on the end of the knife, there's a hook so we just dip it down and up comes a beet that the plow has exposed. We lay the beet across our knees and use our beet knife to chop of the green stem...but sometimes we smack our legs instead. We toss the topped beet aside and continue on down the row. When we are finished topping the beets, we go back around and load all the beets into the wagon and then Daddy takes them to the beet dump to be processed.
I'm always happy when winter comes round because that means no more thinning and topping beets...but I also know that spring is right around the corner...
Just FYI, the warm days and cool nights make Utah an excellent place to grow sugar beets. They are particularly sweet when grown here
Okay, back to the present. I've done it. The Mister got my grow light system up and running this weekend and I planted my seed starts. I didn't have any Popsicle sticks to mark what my rows were...so duct tape was my method. It's fine. I am so nervous that nothing is going to grow and this is going to be a most heinous epic fail. I've got some fun things this year. Cross fingers in a few days I see some green. I told My Sister that I would donate some of my seedlings...but only if she promised to water her garden this year. She couldn't commit.
I started out wanting to include my young in the process....started out. Let's just say the first several rows I have no idea what is going to come out of them. I tried to show them which rows to put which seeds....but...well....yeah....so then I banished them to finish out the planting and let them help me water.
At least I'll know what 70% of my seeds are for certain. Thanks girls.
The alien glow of my grow lights...the walls are pink in this room. As you can see this room is now my greenhouse/sewing room as the growing shelf is nestled in next to the fabric shelf. All that is good is in this room.
Thanks for reading!