Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Grandpa

Well, it's looking like all this financial turmoil might not turn into the Second Great Depression after all. Which is really too bad, (only!) in that I had a perfect antidote up my sleeve.

Meet my grandpa.

My grandpa remembers the Great Depression; he was about ten years old at the time. And if you get him reminiscing, he will be glad to tell you stories from those days. One of the most amazing to me is this one:

Even if you've never planted a garden before, you probably know that to get a crop, you must plant a seed. With potatoes, the "seed" is the combination of an eye along with some flesh to feed the plant before it produces leaves and can get its strength from the sun. Well, during the Great Depression, my grandpa tells me, that was a hard call: to give up a potato to have a seed to plant for another crop. So, they didn't. They peeled their potatoes, ate the starchy flesh, and then went out and buried the carefully collected peelings. And they grew! That fall, they had a crop of potatoes, just from planting their potato peelings.

Not only does he love to tell stories, but he also loves to share information. If you want to know how to graft and prune apple trees, he'll be happy to tell you. If you want to learn how to build yourself a smoker, he'd be glad to explain - and he'll even tell you some little tricks for free. Almost anything related to growing and storing food, he can tell you.

In the picture above, he was explaining to me that to get a good harvest of pears, the fruit must be picked while it is still green and on the tree. If it is left to ripen, it will be mealy. Good to know, as I love pears! If my brain could remember everything he has said during my growing up years, I'd be set to live on a few acres for life.


Sarah said...

Write them down, we'll have a commune someday. You bring the veggie expertise, I'll bring the mini cow.

Melanie said...

I was thinking about that cow this morning!

for those of you who don't follow Sarah's blog.

meg said...

this is awesome. I took the pear advice you gave me and the pears were sweeter and more meaty.
this potato thing is intriuging too. Do you know how deep they planted them, and how much good soil you need to produce a good crop (as in how deep the bed should be?)

I would love to read a book that included the wisdom of our grandfathers and grandmothers when it came to simple, hardworking living.

I feel like our generation can have a hand in regaining some of the simplicity of life while integrating it with the modern world..what'da ya say ladies, wanna give it a whirl?

Steph said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing with me!