A visit to the Nelson’s–Not Ozzie and Harriet

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

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About democratizemoney

Retired University Professor
This entry was posted in gardening in pots, off the wall and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A visit to the Nelson’s–Not Ozzie and Harriet

  1. beetleypete says:

    I’m not so sure that I would have taken to Mrs Nelson at all. I don’t like the sound of her. She seems to be a bit too smug and over-confident. At least you got free coffee and tomatoes!
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    • I fear there is a lot of Mrs. Nelson in a whole lot of people. I think it is associate with taking oneself too seriously. Mrs. Nelson takes every thing, even her sips of water very seriously. I am wondering how she will react when I take her a bag of tomato powder made from her tomatoes?

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  2. I am most interested in how you dehydrated the tomatoes, not a phrase I’ve heard before. Do you suck the juice out? kind regards, Mrs.Rocks.

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    • Thanks for asking.

      I have two answers for you. First a serious one. I pick, wash and slice tomatoes (about a quarter of an inch thick) and put then on dehydrator trays for a bunch of hours (it varies by the number of trays I try to dry at one time, usually 12 hours will do it for four trays)
      https://www.walmart.com/ip/25719349?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222227017977203&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=52290337575&wl4=pla-79374706815&wl5=9033589&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=25719349&wl13=&veh=sem
      This produces very dry to “sun dried” tomatoes. I go to very dry as I then put then in a word processor and powder them for making instant tomato sauce for spaghetti sauce (about 8 tablespoons of tomato powder to one cup of boiling water, more or less water depending on how thick I want the sauce.) then I add the other spaghetti sauce ingredients and cook normally.
      Now for the second answer. We bred a variety of white tomatoes that actually have straws growing out of them (where the flower was connected to the plant, it gets hard and is hollow and very sharp). When we put the white tomatoes in a brown paper bag with the red ones, the white ones suck the vital bodily juices out of red tomatoes. We have attempted to get this on video, but they only do it in the dark and infrared is no good as there is no temperature difference in the brown paper bag unless a bug gets in there. The red tomatoes shrink up to nothing but skin, bone and seed. We have a large grinder to grind the tomato bones into flour which we peddle to a local coven for ritual use.

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      • Firstly thank you for such an informative answer.
        Regarding the first part…
        I have now researched the dehydration machine and uses, and find it very enterprising, although long winded.
        Over here in the motherland sun-dried is not a viable pursuit due to our climate which is mainly cool and wet, so one would think your machine to be a useful addition to my culinary equipment. However, my word processor (Microsoft) does not seem to have the facility to powder dried fruit, though it is certainly a whizz at capital letters, and most forms of punctuation, and I have been known to use the bullet point feature on occasion. As your method needs both the hydrator and the word processor to facilitate the tomato sauce for spaghetti dishes, I fear I must rely on the old fashioned machine to do the job.
        https://www.walmart.com/ip/Black-Decker-10-Speed-Blender/23745973

        I must recommend this alternative to yourself and any of your readers, as
        a) it is a one step solution,
        b) is completed in 12 seconds rather than 12+ hours,
        c) most cost effective at $16.88 V $92.69

        Regarding the second part of your answer…
        Unfortunatley witches in the UK have no use for vegetable derivatives, and tend to stick with the tried and tested method of boiling the enchanted skull of a beheaded thief, with bats blood, serpent’s venom, headless toads and the eyes of newts. Although perhaps a little dehydrated tomato would make a pleasant addition for our jaded palates, and I will suggest it at our next gathering.

        Thank you once more,
        Kind regards,
        Mrs.Rock

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    • It is interesting that both the expensive, time consuming dehydrator and the more economical, faster food processor employ the same principle: a fan. In the one the fan blows heated air over the tomatoes. In the other the fan blows tomatoes to bits (or anything else one puts into it).
      I have to confess I have wondered how Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick would take to using my tomato “essence” wrested from white vampire tomatoes. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2442.Witches_Abroad ) The local covens are much younger than those in the mother country. Here in the Pacific Northwest the tradition goes back a paltry 150 years. Hence they have less tradition and have had to make do.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. By the way, the photo at the top of this posting was taken from Mrs. Nelson’s place before she told me not to take photos. I fear I can’t be helped when it comes to depressing the shutter on cell phones and cameras.

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