The Air is Crisp

It is almost November in Pennsylvania and there has already been a chilling frost. The summer vegetables are all harvested and now there is not much growing. One veggie treat is found in the turnip patch. Dad always sewed the seed in early September and by now their purple tops are peeping out of the ground accented  with bright green leaves. Mom was adding their special flavor to the daily cooked farm meals. But the real fun for me was a walk either going hunting or just a fall hike with a side trip through the turnips. Before leaving the house, I would pour a small amount of salt into a wax paper folded very carefully and placed in my pocket. Even in mid morning the air was quit cool and one could easily tell that winter was coming soon. Ready for a treat, I stopped to pull up just one or two turnips and using my trusty pocket knife I cut off the top and the root. Now pulling out my salt packet, I devoured the fresh raw turnip. What a tasty delight on a crisp fall hike.

Tomato Time

Growing tomatoes was a big deal on our farm. We always grew a couple acres of this very marketable crop. Having planted then in early May, the little plants were nurtured for close to two months by this time. We staked each one and tied them up carefully. They were also suckered leaving only the main stem which held the very largest and juicy tomatoes. Fourth of July was when we expected to harvest our first tomato. This is early for Pennsylvania and Dad always was proud of the fact that we had a few ripe ones by Independence Day. They brought a good price and now Mom Deimler's peddle route had a new vegetable available for the Middletown customers.
Hello to All,
     I note that a lot of folks are viewing my Blog. I will try to add new information as time goes on. Right now the weather in Pennsylvania is very cold. With the recent snow storm, I can picture the old farm covered with ice and snow. All too soon the ice will melt and the fields again will turn green. It is nice to know that new life on the farm will abound.
     For those of you who may be interested, I am offering purchase of a "signed copy" of Straight Rows at a reduced cost of an even $12 (instead of the regular $12.95 plus postage) and in addition I will not only sign the book but I will pay the packing and pay the postage to mail it to you as well.
Just access my PayPal via my eMail as follows: and pay the $12. I will then sign my book and mail it to you.
Best wishes, Tom

Cash Flow Slow

From the end of January until the first crops of Spring, there was very little cash in our farming business. Mom and Dad would sell the last of the turkeys along about this time to a poultry butcher. The money gotten for the some 100 turkeys not sold during the recent holidays amounted to roughly a total of $300. In addition, there was a small influx of cash from the weekly sale of eggs. With expenses for the next four months, seeds and fertilizer to purchase for spring planting and other farming costs, there often was not enough funds to pay all the bills. We still had lots of canned foods, so there was plenty to eat. I recall that sometimes money had to be borrowed from a neighbor, perhaps a dairy farmer where milk provided them a year-round regular income.

Asparagus is First Crop of Spring

Spring - Asparagus is first!!
The cold hard ground thaws and the green asparagus shoots begin to appear. May in Pennsylvania means that the asparagus harvest is now at about midpoint as the crop has been in since the beginning of April. My job was to cut it both morning and evening. Sometimes Mom or sister Peggy would take a turn at getting it done. There was this little wooden slat basket that we used and cut it with a paring knife or my pocket knife. Dad said it must be cut exactly at ground level. It was then taken to the farm shed and placed with the cut end down into a tub filled with several inches of water to keep it fresh. The asparagus stems were later bundled for sale on the truck peddle route or taken to farmer's market by Mom.

Thanksgiving and Hunting

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It is a time to reflect on  all the many things for which we are thankful. I quite vividly remember hunting season also at this time of the year.  We always waited until after the first frost as it seems the game tasted better then. Dad taught us at about age twelve how to hunt with much emphasis on safety. We walked the field and woods in a firm line so no one ran the risk of being shot accidentally. As we got older, Thanksgiving morning was a special hunting experience with several other guys our age from nearby farms. It was an annual tradition and one that I cherish. Most of the fun was a brisk hike on a cold morning, laughing and have a good time together. Thanksgiving dinner was usually early evening just after the animals were fed.

October in Pennsylvania

It is October and in Pennsylvania, change is on the way. The air is cooler, the leaves are becoming bright colors and the scenes are more than beautiful. Fall temperatures drop lower overnight with the possibility of frost becoming very real and a sweater feels good. The fun of ripe apples, cider making, the turnip patch and hunting season are just around the corner. Memories of the days of October on the farm where I grew up are strong no matter where in the US I have lived.