Sunday, August 8, 2010

city gramma

I was blessed to have four grandmothers however I'd like to pay honor to my "city" gramma (dad's mom).

Now one would think that it would have been my country grandma that spiked my interest in gardening but it wasn't. I wasn't allowed in her garden. I could go any where else, chicken coop or even keep an eye on her "wild" asparagus growing in the front field; but going into the garden was a no no.

It was my city gramma that really spiked my interest in gardening. She would buy me every year a small "green pepper starter kit". And every year I would grow green peppers. I managed to wheel and deal and whine my way for a few feet of growing space from my mom in the back yard.

One small spot was in the raised bed right behind the house and by the back door. It held my six pepper plants perfectly. Mom planted some strawberry plants there also. I loved that garden.

When I was a bit older, I confiscated a small three foot long and about 8 inch wide strip of yard against the garage for some snapdragons. It was for a trial run that first year but they looked so good, I was allowed to grow them every year and yep it was my city gramma who bought me the seeds.

Did you notice I spell gramma for my city gramma?

Gramma lived in the heart of Flint Michigan the middle of drive by shootings and home invasions. She was left alone thankfully. It was a time when even the 'bad guys' had some respect for the elderly.

I remember racing hot wheels up and down her side walk and talk the city bus to go visit her with my older brother.

And while my dad didn't like us visiting with her without him, we did it anyways.

Gramma was great! She charmed squirrels to come knock on her door for acorn and other nut treats: both the front and back doors. She had a huge basement that was our play room and a small pantry off in one corner with home canned goods in it. Lot's of pickles.

In her small back yard she had a small metal shed a couple trees not really right for climbing and a TALL fence in the back and down one side of the yard and a smaller fence on the "good neighbor" side of the yard. Thus we could see into the 'good' neighbor's yard but not the others.

When you walked out her back door, you could 'hang a left' and see where she had fenced off the very small area under her bathroom and back bedroom window. It must have only been about 5 feet wide and maybe at the most 17 feet long. But that was her garden.

Now in this old neighbor hood, all the trees were mature and it was a shady area but this small garden got plenty of sunlight for her to grow a few of her favorite things: green peppers, green beans, tomatoes, a few stalks of corn, and a cucumber or two. I think she even managed to grow some pumpkins and squash.

I could go in there and "check on" the plants looking for ripe and ready fruit or nasty ole bugs. The bugs I could pull off and toss over the fence for the birds to nibble on (I tossed them onto the side of the garden fence where there was a concrete sidewalk from the front yard).

But I could only report if I thought a fruit was ripe or not. Then Gramma would come and double check and it was, we harvested it together.

This love for growing your own food somehow stuck with me and I've always tried to have something growing in my home or yard.

I've also tried to instill this love into my kids; but I'm thinking that this modern world with all it's toys for kids has flushed out any patience for gardening. Being able to simply walk into a grocery store any time of the day or night now, gives kids and adults a false sense of security. They don't think about a time that may occur (sooner or later) where there won't be a grocery store around.

I now have a grandchild of my own. A grandson. And again I will attempt to instill a love for dirt and the things one can help to grow in it. I don't know if it will work, maybe -maybe not.

But I do hope to pass on this incredible gift given to me by my "City Gramma".

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