From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Living Off the Fat of the Land

Generous neighbors share their veggies



Let me tell you what happened last week. A neighbor lady stopped by with half-a-dozen sacks of sweet corn in the back of her truck. She insisted that I take one of them and refused to let me pay her for it. She said she'd bought it from a nearby Mennonite farmer, and he gave her a great price.

That bag had six dozen ears of corn in it. I might have frozen some of it, but our little freezer's pretty full already.

We had corn-on-the-cob for supper that night. The next day, I took a big bag of corn to Keely in Murray, along with zucchini, beans, cucumbers and other things we're getting from the garden right now. It was a good excuse to go see Keely. I figured what she couldn't eat, she could share with her starving college friends.

We ate corn on the cob for supper again, and I put the remaining ears in the refrigerator thinking that we'd be able to eat them up in a day or two easily enough.

Then someone knocked on the door. The teenaged daughter of our nearest Mennonite neighbor stood on our front step with -- guess what? -- two dozen nice ears of sweet corn for us. I thanked her as enthusiastically as I could. Really, it was nice of them to give us sweet corn. They know that I don't grow it in my garden.

We finally finished the last of the corn on the cob tonight, and it was delicious, but I'm glad it's gone.

Tomorrow, I'm going to buy a couple of home-grown, field-ripened cantaloupe and watermelons at the produce stand. I'm still enjoying the fresh garden vegetables of summer, but I'm ready for a change of flavor.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.