Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

COG #73 – The Good Earth – Vege-Land

I don’t know how my dad did it, but he worked at Ford’s Motor Company all day and came home and took care of the garden after that. As it happened, a work-related injury at Ford’s enabled dad to buy a “hobby farm” in the early sixties. Dad bought three acres in town, about half of which was supposed to be the vegetable garden. It was really overgrown, the property belonged to an elderly lady who just kept the front lawn cut, everywhere else it was over my head, being only five at the time. Dad took a scythe and cut the grass back enough to get a lawnmower through it. The garden was almost a meadow, it was years since it was worked. Dad tilled the whole garden with just a roto-tiller and planted all kinds of vegetables. He was proudest of his Spanish onions and tomatoes, but grew corn, beets, carrots, beans, peas, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, radishes, lettuce, cabbage, chard, squash, melons, and occasionally tried something different, like peanuts or popcorn for us kids.
Dad built a fruit stand in the front yard and mom painted a great big mural of our garden on a sign and called the stand “Vege-Land”. She put in every row of crops and the small cherry orchard. We took turns watching over the stand and helping harvest the crops. We picked and sold beans, beets and tomatoes by the bushel and 50lb. bags of Spanish onions.
During the summer months we ate a lot of fresh vegetables, sometimes we would just have one vegetable for supper, most of the time it was corn, but mom cooked up a big kettle of beans or chard or asparagus and we would feast. We lived on bacon and tomato sandwiches too, we could get 4 or 5 sandwiches from one tomato, they were big!
After a couple of years, the farmers with stands outside of town got a by-law passed so that fruit-stands had to have room for vehicles to be able to pull off the shoulder of the road. Since we were in town, the sidewalk was next to the shoulder of the road, so we would have had to put a driveway in our front yard, which wasn’t very big. So that was the end of the stand, but not the garden. Dad had regular customers just come around to the barn to pick up their produce. We also loaded up the station wagon with baskets of tomatoes and took them up to the gate at Ford’s and sold them as the workers changed shifts. We would do this a few times a week and we always sold out.
In 1974 my dad broke his ankle and had to have surgery and was off work for a few months. Since the injury didn’t happen at work, he had to go on sick benefits, which was not enough to take care of a family of nine, so he decided to sell the farm before he lost it. My dad wasn’t able to do much gardening after his injury, he couldn’t be on his feet for any length of time or his ankle would swell up. He was always eager to hear about what crops we planted in our gardens and was a well of knowledge about farming, we always went to him for advice. Since he’s been gone, I’ve taken over for him in the advice-giving department, my brothers and sisters always come to me now.


Filed under: Carnival of Genealogy, Carnivals, Family Files, Genealogy, Haines/Hines, ,

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June 2009
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