Morrisons Cove Herald - Putting cows on the front page since 1885.

By Roseann Zimmerman

Old Order Mennonite Memoirs


Being shackled with velvet chains to my garden doesn't hurt. In fact, usually I never think about being bound. But last week I remembered. Instead of chains, however, which would never budge, I thought of them as rubber bands. They stretched and let me go when I moved away from my gardens, but since they were still around my ankles and even my heart, I bounced back again, hopelessly and willingly fettered.

On Monday I picked shell peas and got soaked by the dripping plants. I picked sugar peas and strawberries and cut heads of cauliflower and broccoli. I pulled weeds in my asparagus patch.

On Tuesday it rained heavily and a gully threatened to develop beside the red raspberries. Some mulch washed into the lawn. I saw it on my evening surveillance walk.

On Wednesday we worked in my daughter's garden. After a tour, which included discussions in comparisons and experiences, we cut more cole crops to blanch for the freezer. We planted seeds and hoed weeds. We shared a meal on the deck, which included nourishing garden harvests for growing babies and children.

On Thursday I cut an abundance of lettuce in my garden to share before we left for my sister's house in Fredericksburg. Another garden tour, between showers, was given, after sharing a delicious porch picnic. Red and white balloons adorned the porch posts to match the table settings and food. Lovely flower planters stood nearby, but my sister's first grandchild was the most beautiful blossom to see. I was delighted when he smiled for me.

On the way home, I stopped at my daughter's home where I missed pea-picking chores, but the rubber bands were drawing me home. With a bounce I landed in the pea patch where I remained till I was done picking the fattest pea pods, despite intermittent thundershowers and pressing sun.

On Friday I celebrated the first day of summer at home. Mowing lawn and using the clippings to heal soil erosion was part of gardening. It included more sugar peas and just enough fresh strawberries for one batch of freezer jam. Digging for the first red potatoes revealed surprising sizes to eat with the fresh peas that I saved from the night before. If this is part of garden chains, I prefer to stay shackled.

I stretched away with my family on Saturday, but we bounced back again because we're also chained to our farm. The cows were bawling for me to milk them, for my husband to feed them. The hay was dried in the field and waiting to be baled. And still the sun shone. I yanked out broccoli plants so I'd have room for aster plants and worked to keep weeds at bay with old, moldy hay.

On Sunday we stretched away again to worship at New Enterprise church as did many others. Some young girls hailed from Indiana. Earlier in the week, Michigan guys were honored with a volleyball party. At Martinsburg church some boys and girls applied for baptism this fall. After services we traveled with my sister and her husband in their buggy. Their horse Queenie didn't seem to mind the extra passengers to take to Holsinger Church Lane. My sister served a Sunday feast to her guests at a beautiful table. With six of us ladies, dishes didn't take long before we could go for another garden tour which included walking on the little bridge over their mountain stream. The sun was warm, but the shade was cooling. It was awesome.

The hidden rubber chains drew us back to the farm. The cows needed us even if it was Sunday. Although I don't work in my garden on a Sunday, I strolled around it and thought about the patch of tall weeds we ladies saw that completely hid the fence around it. One day it was a garden but someone cut the chains of diligence. It doesn't take long. I popped the last sweet strawberries into my mouth.

Although my husband doesn't do field work on a Sunday, we walked to the top of the hill to look over the growing corn and see the deer feeding in the alfalfa. The evening sun cast long shadows and seemed reluctant to sink behind Lock Mountain, bringing to an end, the most lovely of summer days.


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