Thursday, September 10, 2009

Peasant Stock

My mom always told me that we come from good old "peasant stock" and I am certainly glad of it. That steady temperament, willingness to work hard and "put your shoulder to the wheel" mentality is likely borne of our pioneer heritage, and it's served me well as a wife, mother and PR professional for the past 18 years.

I've always kind of been a "bloom where I'm planted" kind of gal, so I enjoyed our busy life in the Valley all those years, and our time in Flagstaff before that. I never knew, tho, until I was back in this quiet corner of the world, that my spirit had been longing to return to the rather peasant-like life I lived with my grandmother as a child: we gardened, we canned, we danced an Irish jig at potato planting time, we made homemade cheese - then dressed the cheese in a hat, jewelry and flowers and built an entire skit around it when it wouldn't quit growing. I learned how to make Brigham tea from a weird plant that grew in the desert around our place, and figured out that potatoes and strawberries can be unpredictable in this climate and soil.

As I've made my own feeble attempts at gardening the past two seasons, I've had several moments where I've straightened up from a row and just stood still, because the memory of working alongside Grandma Potts is so strong, I swear it's like she's right there with me. When I made my own laundry soap this year, I flashed to the summer I was 10 and my rather horrified fascination watching Grandma make lye laundry soap using lard and wood ashes (I could never quite figure out how that could possibly get clothes clean, but somehow it did.)

I wish I'd listened a little closer to the steady stream of explanations and instructions that she shared as we worked together - I wish I'd learned more those years working in her kitchen, her 3 gardens and small orchard, rather than having just helped.

I wish she was by my side in our garden, in her floppy hat, old nursing shoes without strings and polyester pants, showing me how to properly stake a tomato plant. And, after my disastrous corn crop last year and this, I wish I'd asked what the heck that powder was in that old stocking she'd always bop the corn tassels with each year!

Love from the farm,

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