Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Nancy has a quilting buddy who lives about 13 miles from us by the back roads and 32 by the state numbered and Interstate highways. Nancy says she is interesting and wanted me to see the place. Nancy, had not, so I suspect, Nancy wanted to see the place.
Her quilting buddy, a woman about five years younger than I, introduced herself by sticking out her hand and saying “Hi, I’m Mrs. Nelson.” I restrained myself and self-declared to be “Ed,” not Mr., Dr. or Professor or by my official title “One of 300,000,000 People in Charge of America.” Nancy later told me that Mr. Nelson was her third husband. I’m guessing she tells everyone her name is Nelson so she can reinforce in her own mind which name she is currently using. It is an old memory technique. Often when someone introduces themselves we concentrate on what to say next which is our name. Hence we reinforce our name and quickly forget their name. Hence, we really learn who we are. However, if we repeat their name such as “Hello Mrs. Nelson, I’m so and so” we will have given ourselves one shot at reinforcing their name with their face (which we see a lot and hence remember better than their name). Hopefully we will get other opportunities to say their name in their presence to shore up that connection between the name and face.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have a very tidy and beautiful place. Their garden is a fenced in set of raised bed gardens—18 inches off the ground made of cedar. The walks between are filled with 3/4ths minus gravel on top of road fabric (not lawn fabric, but road fabric) to keep the moles out. Got out my cell phone to take photos and asked first. Mrs. Nelson said she preferred that I not take pictures; and “You will remember what you need to remember the rest is unimportant.” I did not disagree with her, however, she seems to miss the potential for pictures serving just as pictures but then it is the budding young artist in me. However, I was polite and put the cell phone back in my pocket (not before turning it on airplane mode).
The Nelson’s have an extensive garden, but it is not large. It would fit into the fenced in area in my back yard—100 feet by about 50 feet. However, their raised beds are very productive. Mr. Nelson explained he used local dirt (stuff he dug in areas that, to his eye needed leveling. Leveling was not easy as he has a slope) to about 12 inches and then used expensive dirt to fill. This is the second year of the raised beds. They have a compost pile, covered with vented black plastic which aids in the heat which hastens decomposing, so they add more organic soil as they go. So, the gardens are extensive in that they have good production. I did not see a weed in the fenced off area. Not one.
Mrs. Nelson offered Nancy some fresh tomatoes. So while Nancy and Mrs. Nelson were happily plucking tomatoes off the vine, Mr. Nelson asked if I drank coffee. I remarked “Everyone drinks coffee.” He gave me a funny look; but, he took my response as a positive and we went to the house where he brewed away. Later, I understood the funny look. Mrs. Nelson does not drink coffee. Mr. Nelson, I and Nancy all swilled away at coffee in cups while Mrs. Nelson sipped well water, filtered well water.
Mrs. Nelson is a strict vegetarian, an organic vegetarian, and she eschews all store bought foods—ALL. We brought some of the garlic I harvested the day before and she had questions about how it was raised. She raised her eyebrows when I responded, “Presbyterian,” so I quickly told her, “no chemicals.” She smiled at that. She then took us into here root cellar (above ground, but that is what it was) where the biggest bag of garlic I had ever seen outside of a food wholesale market was. Nancy remarked. That is a lot. Mrs. Nelson replied, I had that many last year and ran out mid-winter. I thought, it must have been hell having to look forward to a whole half winter without garlic. Mrs. Nelson raises her own food. Mr. Nelson is not a vegetarian and he does get food from the store—especially red meat. Nancy asked how that worked with him eating meat. Mrs. Nelson said, “I cook for me and he cooks for himself.” I looked for the white line painted on the stove, but there were none.
I did enjoy the Nelson’s. I got a good cup of coffee. I saw up close and personal how to set up raised beds that were practical (and better looking that the mismatched pots and plastic storage bins I have been using. We got a half box of tomatoes, which to Nancy’s chagrin I dehydrated before she could make BLTs out of them (I will find a way to atone for my sin of dehydrating her dinner). All in all, an interesting afternoon.
Warmest regards, Ed