My father died 16 years ago, but today is his birthday, so I'm thinking of him. He had absolutely no
idea about flowers, but, as a farmer, he knew his grasses, something I do not know. He could identify
wheat, rye, oats, and timothy. And he knew alfalfa and the clovers that he cut for hay 3 times every
His idea of gardening was to plow up a quarter-acre with a small Massey-Ferguson tractor, then put
us kids to work with hoes while he went to jog his harness horses. He himself was not much of a
gardener, having plowed too many fields barefoot with horses during the Great Depression. He liked
to move earth with equipment of any sort.
He did like to grow tomatoes and cucumbers though. That was his idea of a garden, out behind the
horse barn, fertilized with horse manure, and growing plenty of weeds.
Three of his four kids (including me) got the gardening gene. The other one got the mechanical gene.
My father is gone now, but the fruit of his actions lives on. Three of us will be starting tomato
seedlings sometime soon.