Saturday, May 25, 2019

Early Harvest: Salad Turnips!

I'm a big vegetable fan, and one of my recent favorites is the salad turnip. I first tried them at a farmer's market a few years ago. Just one taste and I was hooked. They are difficult to find in local markets, but I found seeds for them in Johnny's seed catalog, where they are also referred to as Hakurei turnips. They are a Japanese hybrid, developed in the 1950s when Japan was recovering from WWII.

Here's what World Farmer's Organization has to say about them:
Their surprisingly delicate, almost fruity flavor and crunchy texture accounts for their popularity. 

No kidding!  They are so tasty!  If you like radishes, you will probably like them. And, they are an easy crop to grow.  I grow mine in 1/2 barrels. This year I planted them on April 8th and began harvesting them this week. Aside from watering, they need to be thinned so each plant has 2" of growing space. And that's about it! Grow them in a sunny spot and pull them when they grow to the size of a golf ball. You can easily see their size when you peek under the leaves.

I didn't use all my seeds last year so I kept them over the winter in a cool dry spot (my wine cooler) and they all germinated this year. So for the cost of one packet of seeds, I grew these little gems in two consecutive springs!

Here is a previous crop.

Once pulled and washed, they will keep in your refrigerator for quite a while. Mine never last too long since I like them so much, but I grew a big crop a few years back and they were around for over a month. The last ones were as good as the first.

After I harvest turnips, it's time to put in a tomato plant or some herbs or flowers. But already my chives, irises and peonies are blooming, and I feel like my garden is a success.  As the summer heats up, I tend to wilt and my garden goes native.  Early is my best bet!

Oh... and... this little plant volunteered under my kitchen window and I moved it to the garden.  I know it's a robust little thing because I dropped it between the two places and it lost all the soil around its roots, but it survives.  What do you think it is?  Cucumber?  Melon?  It would be amusing to have a watermelon volunteer from a seed one of my grandkids spit into the soil.  Right???

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Grandma Pierce's Diary, February 1928

Feb 1 – Wed..
Cold but nice & sunshiny. I hung the clothes out early. Elmer & Vernie Manning went up to Robert Wicks’ to chop wood. After noon Anita and I walked down to Violet’s and stayed a couple of hours. LuVerne & Roger stayed here at night while Luella & Raymond went to a dance at Walter Knight’s. Raymond played. They took Roger home when they came from the dance.

Feb 2 – Thurs.
Very nice day and thawed some. Elmer went to woods in afternoon. I sent Margarette a box of cookies.

Feb 3 – Fri
A beautiful day just like spring & thawed so the water was running. Elmer & Vernie & Arthur Manning went to the woods. LuVerne stayed here all night while his folks went to a dance at Burr Oak.

Feb 4 – Sat.
Lovely day again. I sent Margarette’s little bloomers to her. I got a letter but it was a blue one for the kids were both cross & not feeling very good.

Feb 5 – Sun.
A nice day but colder & froze up. We went over to Stevie’s with a buggy & went through the field. Raymonds were there too. I went to bed early for I was so tired & sleepy.

Feb 6 – Mon.
Cloudy & dark. Elmer went to woods. I got a letter from Doris & Margarette has a very bad cold on her lungs. Anita & I went down to Myrtle Manning’s in afternoon. It started to rain about 4-30 & in eve it just poured.

Feb 7 – Tues.
Rainy all day & turned to snow in the night. Elmer went to B.O. & took goods for Margarette’s dress over to Allie & then went up to Maude Ward’s & had a very nice visit. The Club girls had a shower today for Bertha Engebretson.
Mr. Evenson called me this morning & said Emil called Sun. night & Margarette was better.

Feb 8 – Wed.
The ground is covered with snow again. Elmer went to the woods. I washed the colored clothes & baked bread & made out buns. Got a long letter from Doris & Margarette is better.

Feb 9 – Thurs.
Cloudy but not very cold. Elmer went to a sale at Guy Shelley’s & Anita & I went over to Luella’s & she brought us as far as Miley’s when we came home & we walked from there. Luella got a letter from Doris & Margarette wasn’t so well.

Feb 10 – Fri.
Very nice, just like spring. We washed & the clothes got dry so we ironed all of them. Elmer went to woods & it was late when he got back so we didn’t get our work done until nearly nine.

Feb 11 – Sat.
Another beautiful day. Elmer went to woods again but got home earlier. I got a letter from Doris & Margarette has been quite sick. I wish they lived near enough so I could go & stay a week.

Feb 12 – Sun.
Very nice today and thawed a lot so it is quite muddy. (one line scratched out, appears it said: Elmer was to the woods all day.) The roads are getting to be a fright. Raymonds were here to dinner. I picked & dressed a big rooster & made dressing, baked a nutbread & fried cakes & Anita swept, dusted & mopped the kitchen & then we made ice cream.

Feb 13 – Mon.
Misty all day & started to rain hard in eve. LuVerne rode the pony today & put it in the barn here. Myrtle & Vernie were here a little while about six. I got a letter from Doris & Margarette is better. The lights went out tonight without warning.

Feb 14 – Tues.
Very rainy nasty day, & snowed some too. We got up very early and fixed dinner to send with Elmer up to the woods. They went up to saw, but the sawer didn’t come so waited until 1-30 & then came home. I walked down to Louis’ after some sugar. The roads are terribly muddy but I didn’t get stuck.

Feb 15 – Wed.
Mrs. Evenson called early this morning & said Emil called for her last night & wanted her to come up. Margarette is worse, but she couldn’t go so Hilda went on the morning train. This is a lovely day. Luella & Roger walked over & rode back with Raymond & got stuck in the snow. I made her everyday dress this afternoon.
Elmer went to a sale at Halseys.

Feb 16 – Thurs.
Nice in the morning but clouded over about noon and spits snow at times all afternoon. We washed & ironed & I made a small batch of fried cakes. Elmer went up to saw again, they went about 11-30. I got letters from Doris, Lillie & Hazel & some Kodak pictures of Thomas.

Feb 17 – Fri.
Very cold & windy & the roads are frozen hard and rougher than the dickens.
Elmer went after a load of wood. LuVerne rode his pony over & was about frozen when he got here. He stayed here all night while his folks went to a dance at Burr Oak.

Feb 18 – Sat.
Cold again but the sun shone & was some warmer than yesterday. LuVerne went home this morning. Elmer went to Prosper after a load of coal. Louie came after 15 doz. eggs that she sold to Violet to have Roseve Wicks hatch. I got a letter from Doris & Little Margarette has been very sick with a stomach infection & wasn’t any better. I cut out a pair of bloomers for Margarette & finished one pair.

Feb 19 – Sun.
Very cold & windy again today. We made ice cream this morning. The wind blew the hardest today I ever saw it.

Febr 20 – Mon.
Pretty cold and still windy. Elmer went to Burr Oak with Louie in afternoon. I sewed most of the day. Got a letter from Doris & Little Margarette isn’t any better yet.

Feb 21 – Tues.
Cold again & horrid. Elmer took a grist to Burr Oak & helped saw wood for Ben Logsdon in afternoon. This is Roger’s 5th birthday & I gave him a coverall suit & we sent the freezer over and she made ice cream. Snowed quite a lot in the night.

Feb 22 – Wed.
A horrid day, rained & snowed by spells. I rode over to Allie Ward’s with Johnny Reinsvold & walked home. I stopped at Luella’s & ate a dish of ice cream.  It just poured down before I got home so my coat & hat were pretty wet. I took my dresses over to be made & brought Margarette’s home. She charged 75cents for making & 25cents for thread. Raymond brought a letter when he came home from the route & I went to meet LuVerne & get it & I’m so lame I walk like old Jimmy Matthews. Margarette is better & the baby has it now.

Feb 23 – Thurs. – 4 below zero
Well I did manage to get out of bed this morning, but can’t move very fast. It was an effort for me to turn over in bed last night. Very cold & quite windy. Elmer went to woods & got home about 4. Raymond went to Decorah. I didn’t get a letter from Doris today.

Feb 24 – Fri. – 4 below
Just as cold as yesterday but not quite as windy but sun shone bright all day. We washed but only hung the white ones out. Elmer went to woods again. I got a letter from Doris & both kids are better. Also got one from Hazel.

Feb 25 – Sat. – 10 below
Pretty cold but bright. Elmer hauled two load of wood today. We just did the work and I cut out a little jacket of outing & embroidered it a little.

Feb 26 – Sun.
Very nice and bright. We were home all day. Elmer went over to Raymonds after something and Anita & I were going but heard that Ben Logsdons were going to be there so we stayed home. Luella wanted us to come over in eve but we didn’t go. Doris called down that night and I could hear her so good but she couldn’t hear me at all so Luella had to talk to her but it sounded so good to hear her and Emil’s voices.

Feb 27 – Mon.
Very bright & quite warm. I went over to Rheinwinkles (sp?) & rode from there with Raymond & ate dinner at Luella’s & then she took me to Decorah & such roads. We left at 12-10 & got to Decorah a little after three & had two blow-outs & had to buy a tire on the road. I got my business at the Bank fixed up and feel relieved until Oct 1st when it will be due. I brought a bath robe home for Anita & got trimming for my dresses. LuVerne stayed here all night while they went to a party for Ted E (I can’t make out the name) & Gertrude at Fred Glise’s.

Feb 28 – Tues.
Quite nice but a cold wind. Luella called me and wanted me to come over & help take care of lard so I walked as far as Rehwinkles  she met me there with the car. We cut & ground lard until about 2-30 & I walked home. Raymond had gone after cream & she couldn’t crank the car. It was a pretty sloppy walk. We went to B.O. in eve to the Joan of Arc play “Dixie Rose” – it was fairly good but not as good as last year. Elmer took a hog to Canton & had Wicketts butcher it. It weighed nearly 400 lbs. Elmer sold a calf to Pat O’Shea for $7.  

Feb 29 – Wed.
Much colder & cloudy, didn’t thaw hardly any today. We cut up some lard & I sliced one ham ready to fry. The men were here and dehorned 6 calves today. Mrs. Olson started boarding at Eda Wade’s today.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Spirit of Spring


There’s something about spring that throws the door wide open and puts its best foot forward.  The surprise of the first green shoots takes our breath away,  then early blossoms bring colors of hope and beauty after a long dreary winter. 

I lived in Minneapolis for 15 years, and I felt the bitter bite of winter. Spring would finally come, but in Minneapolis, spring would happen so quickly that it was over before you knew it.  I remember a day that started at 40degrees and ended at 100!  All in one day!!! As if Minnesota didn’t know how to savor spring.

I live in NJ now, and NJ has a spring that lingers.  I can savor spring here.  Its beauty is breathtaking: the bright yellow forsythia, the magnolias, azaleas, the daffodils & tulips.  Hope comes with spring, with the planting of gardens and the anticipation of fresh lettuce or peas or tomatoes… I wait all year for this.

The magnolia tree always surprises me with its huge, glorious blossoms. They last just a short time, and then fall away to cover the ground, bruised and browning.  But think of the boldness of its bloom!  Can I ever be that bold?  And can I give up my own glory so gracefully? 

I thank God for the beauty of spring, for the hope of longer days, for the warm sun on my back.  The beauty of the earth feeds my eyes, the warmth eases my body, and the hope and anticipation that comes with spring is a blessing to my soul. I am more cautious than the magnolia. It is a challenge for me to be bold. Nonetheless, I can still bloom, and I can strive to be bold in sharing my faith. We each have our part.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;   Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Blessings to you for a bold and glorious spring!