"Blood is blood and land is land..."

As a child that sentence alone could make me cringe, run away, or want to hide. I was frequently lectured on the importance of both by my godmother, J. She too was given this oration by her father and over the years it has been perfected by both. In the mind of a child of 8 or 9, I had reasoned that she was either trying to bore or punish us purely for her entertainment. As I have gotten older, I slowly began understand the truth behind that statement.

My family collectively owns a large chunk of land just north of my grandparent's farmstead. Some is rented out as farm acreage. The rest consists of woods and thickets. Over the years, the area has been the site of many hunting seasons, bonfires, and camping trips.

Last weekend we made the trek to visit my grandparents, cousins and the land from which my family comes. After the stress of the past month, I felt my soul renewed. For me it is somewhat of a religious experience...the smells, the sounds, the beauty. The scenery was perfect and the company divine.

So, my dear godmother, J, I must confess, I now understand perfectly the reasoning behind your now famous lecture. There is nothing more important than your family, your blood... and the soil, the land, from which it came.


One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish...

Our fishing stop in Devils Lake was not quite as exciting as the Dr. Seuss book, but it was a beautiful day, one of the nicest of the summer.  The light was perfect and I couldn't resist firing off 200ish photos.  Gym Dad, Sister K and Miss J were trying their best to catch dinner and I enjoyed myself photographing the moment.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere."
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
by Dr. Seuss


Victory Gardens...

As part of the WWII war effort, the government rationed foods like sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned goods.  Labor and transportation shortages made it difficult to get fresh fruits and vegetables to market.  The government turned to it's citizens and encouraged them to plant Victory Gardens. By growing their own fruits and vegetables, canning and preserving them, citizens were able to save commercial canned goods for the troops. Nearly 20 million Americans answered the call planting gardens in backyards, empty lots and city rooftops.  Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives, all in the name of patriotism.  

The results of victory gardening were astounding.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted.  Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community gardens was estimated to 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables.

The Victory Garden in the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota, remains active as one of the last surviving public examples from World War II and celebrated it's 65th Anniversary in 2008. 


There was never a question in my mind that one day I would have a garden of my own.  Why?  My Mother was not a gardner, and certainly did not can, pickle, or preserve.  I can only attribute it to spending summer days with my Great Aunt Gladys picking beans, peas and tomatoes, and "putting up pints" of these first class goods.  I don't buy in to the whole organic movement, but I do value fresh, high quality produce.  There is nothing like a garden tomato, or a handful of freshly picked raw peas.  I don't grow my own produce in the name of patriotism per se, but for a personal sense of accomplishment.  Sister K and I have been working feverishly at least one night a week to harvest and preserve this season's produce. Friends and family rejoyce.....the salsa is on the way!



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