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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 32


“There is such a stilted turned up nose pattern going on around me as far as gardening is concerned. This has made it a monumental undertaking for something that should not be that big of a deal.  First off buying the land on a hill because it was what we could find and what we could afford was probably the most stupid thing I have ever done. Oh well, after building a house on the place, raising your kids there, and just generally homesteading causes one to continue on with what some in the family have called a “white elephant.”  That angered me when they first said it, now after all these years I'm inclined to agree.”

“Others thought it as a good idea so the area has grown up population wise. Where once we were the only people here there are now, probably, at least sixteen families living on our street, which by the way, I named, the street that is.”

“Only once did we have someone who was a person who loved growing things. He was an  elderly man from Arkansas.  To say he had a green thumb would be an understatement. His whole body must have been green. This was the year he brought us strawberries by the half bushel. Even though he had emphysema one could see him tearing around the three properties he owned on his riding lawn mower. Sometimes, after the dust of the mowing made him so weak and out of breath it was with difficulty he made it as far as the front porch of his place.”

Dee rambled along complaining to her friend Chelsea who for years had to listen without offering any solutions.

“Well, I thought your garden did really well this year.”  Chelsea was honest with her comment.

“What was that salad dressing you made?  It was wonderful.”  Chelsea loved anything green.

“Put three cucumbers and two limes, skin and all in a blender. Add some salt and pour it over Romaine lettuce.  If you are wondering about the fresh cucumbers those came from my grandson's garden. I can't even grow cucumbers like that here.”

“I thought your lasagne gardening was doing well?”  Chelsea was like her grandchildren who watched her every move.

“Well, it did.  Problem being, I did not put in a big area,  since  who knew whether it would work or not. You know, it does.  If I'm not too stowed up  and tired next year I plan to do that again. It is so easy. My old  newspapers from the news office sprinkled with a little natural fertilizer, a layer of peat moss, and a layer of top soil created a bed which was unbelievably good for the plants. I measured the bottom leaves of the cabbage and they were over thirty-six inches across.”  Dee was enjoying this much of her success.

Chelsea in her wisdom knew how to talk her out of her negative moments. “Speaking of cabbage, how did you fix that red cabbage?”

“I sliced the cabbage in shreds first, also grate two or three carrots and slice an onion.  Then,  brown a handful of chopped ground chuck. Put that in a large kettle.  Add the cabbage, carrots, two small cans of tomato sauce and the  sliced up onion.  You can add some onion powder too if you like. Add a large Tablespoon of butter, salt to taste,  and a quart of water.  Cover it with a tight lid and steam it until the
cabbage is tender.”

“I loved that red color of the soup.  It was different plus the taste was wonderful.”  Like Dee,  Chelsea had been raised by a mother who gardened and she grew up loving vegetables as well.

With Chelsea's encouragement Dee was feeling better about her attempts to beautify the  edge of the ridge where they lived.  She realized there was so much more to be done though.  The only real accomplishment  she could see was the fact that her grandson at four years old had a garden far better than hers. The student with his parents help had surpassed the teacher and that was progress.


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