Friday, July 1, 2011

Everything That's Missing in This World.

Several years ago when we were looking for a 3 yr old preschool for the boy, the only name that came up over and over again was A Child's World. "It's like going to Grandma's" was what we heard. We learned quickly for ourselves that what it was, and is, is a tiny sliver of Utopia right in our very midst. It's a family run and most certianly oriented business. The two sisters, Mrs. Mason and Mrs. Scott have held court there for decades. They and their family and extended 'family' reign supreme. Their word is law -signed and sealed - but delivered in a way so masterful that the children all feel as if they're 'that special one.' Never have I heard a raised voice, seen a cross stare or an ill timed eye roll. Not even when the girl fancied herself Moses and led the children out of Egypt and through the fence gate did they flinch. Rest assured Moses and her brood were never out of sight and were simply returned to captivity to construct bricks from the play yard sand. I'll even go as far as to say that their husbands are no less responsible for their success as the children view their visits as celebrities in their midst.

The boy, sensitive as he is, was nurtured, loved and grew a perspective far beyond his years while under their tutelage and the girl who does not just march to the beat of her own drummer - she is the drummer, has truly come into her own. Rarely am I at a loss for words, but the legacy of these women will live forever as they are responsible for the upbringing of generations as the children of children they nurtured and in even some instances the grand children of children they nurtured are learning the fundamentals needed for a lifetime of success. Theodore Roosevelt said, "We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future." I firmly believe that calculus, world history and British literature will only get you so far. It's the lessons of patience, charity and selflessness we learn in our formative years that guides us to unending success.

It was in my attempt to give back a little of what we have received that I spent the day tie-dying with the children there on Tuesday. Sadly, the dye washed out of most of the shirts, but we won't go there right now. Mr. Mason was kind enough to send us home with a bountiful harvest of his own. Look at this glory! Those two tomatoes on the far side were the harvest from my own garden. Pitiful.

This cabbage was just outstanding! I can't wait to turn half of it to slaw and the other half to wraps or something half as yummy.

I took some of those peppers and made stuffed peppers for the man. My neighbor and I made a large batch together and used Orzo instead of rice since her son is allergic. It worked out well.
I went back to the school today to ask Mr. Mason if I could walk back to his garden and take some pictures. Each year they put on a pumpkin patch for the kids replete with hayride and umpteen displays and live action scenes for the kids. It's amazing. I was lucky enough to be able to attend this year and was just awestruck by the scope of his garden. Over every rise was another plowed field. Not only did he graciously allow us to photograph his garden, but he even took us on a ride on his cart through the 10 acre property.

Directly behind the house is their corn field. He said it was nearly flattened by a large storm a week or so ago, but it all righted itself in time.

Between the corn is a row of cabbage and further back, potatoes. I must say it did give me some ease to hear that he has trouble growing cauliflower, himself. I don't feel so poorly about myself anymore.

Beyond the corn field is a nice wooded rise.

Which opens to the second garden expanse. The tomatoes are to the left stretching as far back as you can see, there's a row of beans next to them, cabbage down the center and cucumbers on the trellises.

The fence is electrified because of the deer.

Off to the right of the fenced in area is his squash bed. Oddly enough the deer don't bother the squash. Odd as well that he doesn't have half of the squash bug/SVB problems that I have. I'm thinking there's a conspiracy.

He and the girl walked through the tomatoes together, the girl shouting, "Mr. Mason, I found another!" every other second. They were beautiful plants, laden with tomatoes, and only a touch of blight creeping in.

This is from the back side of the tomatoes looking to where the cart was parked. See the tall post? It's a very large plot, isn't it.

He showed me where he picked the monster cabbages from. The girl refused to pose for the obligatory face-by-the-large-veggie picture, but we put a five gallon bucket near. He sent me home with another full bucket of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. The man is very happy, as my peppers never seem to do much of anything. Now he'll be in pepper heaven. I'm thrilled with the tomatoes as I never get enough at one time to make salsa and the grocery prices just haven't dropped this year.

The girl even got to drive the cart back home.

We went b ack to the house to get a bag for the veggies and I walked into a canner's dream. A whole canning kitchen and storage area in the basement! Be still my beating heart. Here are the beans recently canned.

Now, give me a second here.....Mr. Mason started talking about his pickled tomatoes on Tuesday. Everything about them screamed foul. I kept up my brave face today when he offered me one...

and then I took the jar home and almost got into an accident on the way as I was trying to maneuver to get at some more. You eat one, pause, say, "That's just not right" and quickly delve in for another. They're ridiculous. The peppers and garlic blend so perfect together for an amazingly pungent flavor that becomes quickly addictive. I'm half thinking of taking out all of my cherry tomatoes that are now green and trying to do something like this with them. They're just amazing. Ridiculously amazing. Maybe I'll go plant some more tomatoes in that space out there just to make some of this with. I'll have to get the recipe.

This, my friends, is what is missing in the world. Goodness, brotherhood, kindness, benevolence, charity and the patience and generosity to take the time from your day to tote me around a garden I can only dream of to drool it and its produce. I'm truly grateful, Mr. Mason. Thank you.

And to the ladies of A Child's World: Thank you for helping me raise my children.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.


  1. Wonderful tribute and post. Sounds like a slice of heaven there. I truly believe how people are inside reflects in their gardens. You were lucky enough to find such a person.

  2. You're right, Sue. The boy and the girl, as well as the Man and I are lucky to count them as part of our 'village.'

  3. oops, the original post should read "to drool over it an its produce."

  4. So much fun. Last year we visited family in North Dakota. My husbands aunt has a large garden and was very nice to share a lot of produce with us. We came home with about 50 pds of potatoes, a large burlap bag of corn, beets, cucumbers, onions and some peppers. I was in heaven and had a great time digging potatoes.

    My garden is just a little one in my back yard. At least I can have a garden thoough.

  5. Sounds very sweet.

    That garden reminds me of summer evenings in my grandmother's large garden. Sigh.

  6. Do they take adult students at this place? ;)

    The pickled tomato sounds interesting, isn't it a joy when things surprise us like that?

  7. That's fantastic! A very nice post about them. Now are we sure it's not child labor all day back there? LOL, seriously though, how cool for him to give you the big tour!

  8. Wonderful post! I really enjoyed reading this. That canning photo of all those beans was awesome. I would love to have a setup like that. Does he maintain all those gardens all by himself?

    I don't think those traits are missing in the world, you just don't hear about them as much as you hear about all the bad stuff on TV. Thanks again for sharing.

  9. Such a sweet post, but I am wondering about the child labor back there as well... ;)

    Save a pickled tomato or 2 for me- I wanna taste!

  10. I think you nailed it. I've read it twice!

  11. *sniff*snarffle*... Now I'm really missing my grandparents dang it! I need a family like this around here. :-( Wahhhhh..... What a lucky dog you are! What I wouldn't give for a place and people to talk dirt with and learn more... much less be able to see that large of a working space/garden again.