For three years now, our family has met at Byrn’s Greenhouse in Zim, about an hour south of us. This includes my oldest son, Bill, and his family along with whoever else can come. We buy flowers at good prices, visit and laugh. Then we go to Cotton, which is another dozen miles east, for lunch at Wilbert’s Cafe, an old family-run cafe. This year, my sister, Sue, from Hermantown (near Duluth) also joined us.
We picked out too many flowers (probably), ate great food, then went home. After getting home, Will loaded up our Ford tractor and tiller and we went to our new friends’ home to till up a spot for their first homestead garden. It’s tough, being new to a run-down old place, and growing a garden in soil which has never been tilled is near impossible by hand when there is a mat of generations of dead grass on top of foot-deep sod. Now Kate and T.J. have loose black dirt with which to work. Yep, they have their work cut out as those grass roots will try to sprout. But with heavy mulch, hopefully they can get a start this year, knowing each year it will improve.
We know how hard it can be as our first year’s garden here was carved out of logged over woods by hand, then later with equipment. (If you’d like to read the whole story, check out my book, Starting Over.)
It’s getting warmer and we’re anxiously trying to get our gardens ready to plant, especially the new “sand” garden. But it’s heavily populated by big rocks on the north end. Slowly, slowly, we’ll get it done. Just like Kate and T.J.’s garden, it’ll take a few years to get good. — Jackie