The holidays, at least for me, are reminders of the special times and traditions Lee and I established in our family when our children were young. Building of gingerbread houses, watching the cartoon movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and of course baking and frosting Great Nana Swanbom’s sugar cookies. A Swedish style smorgasbord dinner on Christmas Eve and a gift exchange are other examples of the traditions that we carried over from our own childhoods.
There is one tradition we still honor that began years ago, when I was a very young girl, with my Grandpa Landen, Oscar. Grandpa was quite the Gardner extraordinaire. He grew things in his garden we had no idea what they were, like zucchini, and concord grapes and raspberries. My Grandpa grew amazing peas; and taught me to open them while in the garden, and enjoy a snack of green and sweet sugar snaps. Delicious!
One Christmas Day, we were all at Grandma and Grandpa Landen’s for dinner, when Grandpa told me to go get my coat; we needed to get something from the garden. My first thought was “What were we going to get from the garden?” The garden was dead, frozen and covered with snow. He grabbed his shovel and we walked to the center of the patch and he began to clear away the snow and then, the straw that he laid out earlier in the fall. Then, under the straw I saw the green flat fern tops of the row of carrots. He dug deep, next to the carrots snuggled in the dark cold soil and then up popped a bundle of brilliant orange carrots! To my surprise, they were not frozen at all. He explained how the straw and the snow kept the carrots from freezing. He said to me “Grandma want glazed carrots for dinner.”
Recently I shared that story with my niece and her children as we (you can guess what we were doing), digging carrots for Christmas dinner. The tradition lives on.
I have so many fond memories of Grandpa Landen, and think of him often, but mostly when I’m in the garden digging carrots.
Living in Northern Colorado and on a small farm, weather can automatically change your plan for the day or in this case, the week!
Monday evening, we received a call from a member of our church, Katie, who lives in the county, east of us. She was upset and wondered if our animals, goats, cattle and pigs could eat third cutting grass hay? My response was “yes of course.”
Apparently, her neighbor cut his pivot section of grass hay and did not get it picked up before the wind started to blow on Sunday. 70-mile an hour gusts blew the entire field in to her 4 acres! Lee estimated that 10 tons of hay lay on her property!
Hay currently in our drought stricken and wild fire ravaged area, is selling at a premium price. The idea of helping a friend and collecting food for our livestock was now our top priority!
Early Tuesday morning the kids joined us and the four of us, along with Katie, began to rake up the unbelievable amount of grass hay. The hay had blown into the trees, around the property, that serves as a wind block, so tight and five feet high. The hay laid on the yard four feet deep! When we arrived we could hardly believe our eyes.
Raking all day, we filled two 20-foot trailers that first day. We continued Wednesday and Thursday collecting approximately 6 tons of grass hay to feed to our livestock!
When I talked to Katie on Monday evening, I knew she was upset and frustrated. When we left on Thursday, I think she was feeling better about her situation. We saw this as a complete blessing, and even though we were exhausted, we are grateful for the hay.
It’s like the saying goes," when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” I hope Katie likes lemonade!
Lee and Hannah are working away! Below we got some help fro the Coretex Crew