Whitesburg KY

‘Want to’ is here, ‘can do’ is gone

My last column from the funny farm was about gardening, which I always enjoyed doing as long as I was physically able.

My ‘want to’ is still with me, but my ‘can do’ has gone and left me by the side of the road.

I enjoyed my gardening besides — or I should say because — I could plant a tiny seed and see it grow into something useful and delicious.

For instance, I could plant a grain of corn or a bean, and be able to put something to eat on the dinner table. My dad’s favorite bean was the colored Kentucky Wonder stick bean.

There was quite a bit of work involved in getting the sticks and all, but it was fun when it came time to pick them because they grew in bunches on the vines and could be picked by the handful, and it didn’t take very long to get a bucket full.

Back then the pastures were full of paw-paw trees, and we mostly used these and sassafras for sticks. One can’t do that now, because the pastures are about all reclaimed by nature and the paw-paw shrubs have about died out like the chestnut, locust, elm and certain pines. Now we have an intruder attacking our ash trees.

Anyway, Dad always put his sticks together in the shape of a teepee as depicted as Indian homes, and we could walk under the bean vines while picking. Sometimes where we planted corn, it was so steep that we would lay a rock, which we always had plenty of, below the cornstalks to keep the dirt from sliding away from them.

It usually grew good crops, but it sure was a mess trying to get the soil to stay in place. Dad always tried to grow some hickory cane corn, which was white, to have to grind into meal. Even today I still enjoy home-ground meal when I am fortunate enough to find some.

The Kentucky Wonder Beans Dad raised were real good canned or pickled, but not very good to dry for shucky beans (leather britches).

Most folks today would rather have half-runner beans, simply because they are white, but I still rather have my colored beans, and they do have a stronger taste.

That’s enough from the funny farm until next time.

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