A fifth birthday present, a packet of Swiss Giant pansy seeds with growing mix and a clear dome, shaped me. The sowing and sprouting, the growth and the planting out, the saturated primary colors complemented by black blotches and, oh my Lord, the fragrance, turned out to be intoxicating for a lifetime.
The plot thickened. My father, fishing for matches to light the barrel full of paper trash, lost a Lincoln from his pocket; that drifted into the nearby vegetables, cash crop for a sharp-eyed kid and my first deposit at the Randolph National Bank.
After tutelage at home, I hired out at 25 cents an hour to weed and edge the neighbors’ beds of vegetables and flowers. The quarters in a Chock Full of Nuts accumulated to the cost of a three speed English bike, mail ordered and delivered on my tenth birthday, early in mud season.
The dream machine was assembled in the garage, waxed, greased, oiled and idle until the dirt road stiffened. A week could be so long back then.
One aspect of an event decades past-- a fragrance or a snatch of song – can call up its entirety, the whole scene with vivid clarity
This year’s early mud season found me in a shed, again assembling machinery. Bright paint, precisely fitting parts, lubricants and wrenches, and the anticipation of the day the rig will see first service. Spring sun, the strongest in six months, raises smells of thawing earth where the new vegetable transplanting machine will be employed.
It’s good to be ten again, however briefly.
For the vegetable starts this unit will install, I’m sowing seed today, blessed with same anticipation and wonder I had a fat half-century ago, living a dream.
The need for a transplanting machine arises from another dream, reducing childhood hunger in Vermont. We’ll be setting out several plantings of cabbage, 2000 at a whack, hundreds of winter squash, peppers and tomatoes. A separate machine will install hundreds of pounds of potatoes, both early and late varieties.
It is our tenth year of growing food for donation and our first since incorporation as a non-profit, Barber Farm Inc. We donate the use of our land, machinery and labor in hopes that good hearts will help to purchase seed, fertilizer and fuel.
Read the whole story at Barberfarm.org., and thanks for your support.