Every Springtime I would be asked by Pa Sanders to help him with his vegetable garden as he put it. Funny thing is — his idea of a garden was a couple of acres larger than most people’s plot of land on which their homes were built.
I naturally jumped at the chance to get out and get filthy-dirt, something Mom was generally against.
My job for the first six years was to ride on the platform Pa dragged behind his John Popper and pick up the rocks and clumps of weeds that refused to turn properly. However when I was 12 years old, Pa put me in the tractor seat saying I was tall enough now to operate the yellow monster.
That meant I got the job of running the tiller into the earth, turning the weeds that had overtaken the land since the end of the summer before. Once I finished this to Pa’s liking, then he’d take over and I go back to where I had first begun by pulling rocks and clumps.
Then we’d plant crops: peas, green beans, corn and Lima beans. Then as spring slipped into summer, I’d end up heading south a few miles to help Grandpa Bill and Uncle Adam on their dairy ranch. By the time the summer came to a close, I was back home and in time to help both Ma and Pa Sanders harvest what had been planted.
More than a few times I made myself sick as dog after eating too many peas and pods or snapped green beans. The worst though, was the day I ate a pound or more of raw Lima beans.
By the end of the day I could hardly stand up as my gut and bowels were in an uproar. It took me a day-and-a-half to get over the back-door trots.
Lima beans, I learned are better served cooked and with lots of real butter.