As I was scrolling through the newsfeed on my Facebook page I saw a video clip of the backyard of some ladies I’m acquainted with in Texas. Rain was coming down and gushing from the gutter into a container and first I commented that the yard looked beautifully green. Then I went back and said that the rain barrel reminded me of my maternal grandparents’ home where a barrel about four feet deep stood behind the little garage regularly collecting downpours. That was long before acid rain and the water was so soft that my grandmother used some to wash her hair and the rest to hydrate the vegetables in her marvelous garden.
A large old Bing cherry tree draped over fence between the yards at the end of her garden, so Grandma picked and canned cherries besides the bounty from her garden, in which no weed dared grow. There were tomatoes, peppers, pickles, kohlrabi, corn, and beets. An equally varied and healthy collection of flowers filled the last few feet before the small lawn and just behind the house was a medium sized tree that bore the little Italian plums that were so plentiful that my mother canned them every year and those were a treat all winter long. My mother also used them whole as the filling for a perogie type of desert we called gulki. In my Slovak cookbook they are categorized as fruit filled dumplings. After the dumplings or perogies boiled, my mother sprinkled ground walnuts with sugar on the tops.
As I have been reminiscing about food, people and gardens long gone the phone ringing brings me back to the present and it is my cousin Tom, who said he had been doing some gardening, and was thinking about me. He has some left over lettuce and tomato plants that he would like to put into my yard. When I say I never planted a garden here because the deer eat everything, most recently they ate down the flowers that grow on the side of the garage, he said he has a little fencing that he could put around the garden, maybe next week.