My mom has not received as many words in Ron’s Ramblings as dad has over the years. That’s about to change.
The picture above is our gift to mom in lieu of making the 500 mile trek to her home. That is a plant called a Kalanchoe.
What is a Kalanchoe? Great question.
The kalanchoe is a long-flowering perennial succulent that requires warm temperatures, from 60 to 85 degrees, and is very sensitive to cold. Growing well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 11, kalanchoe needs well-draining, light soil.
Mom lives in zone 5, so…this may not have been a well thought out gift. However, we did throw in a dozen chocolate brownie cookies. So, not all will be lost. If the plant stays indoors, it will be a win-win.
Mom was a stay at home mother until I was in Junior High School. That’s 7th grade for those that only now what Middle School is.
During my formative years of development she was always there. I remember her music from a very young age. The Everly Brothers was a regular album on the turntable. There were more artists, but the greatest hits of these two must’ve been my favorite. I can sing along with any Everly Brothers song played.
Mom taught me to read and to write before I entered kindergarten. She taught me how to tie my shoe laces in a bow knot.
My grade school was 4 blocks from our home. She walked me to and from school until she was sure that I could make the trek safely on my own.
Mom and dad both took care of a large garden in our 1 acre backyard. However, harvesting was heavy in mom’s category. I remember being with her to pick peas, radishes, carrots, beans, tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, cabbage, kohlrabi and whatever else they decided to plant in any particular season.
My favorite crops to harvest with mom were sweet peas, kohlrabi and sweet corn. We would take the peas out of the pods. The process always started with me eating as many as I harvested. Fresh raw sweet peas are a wonderful treat. Don’t get me started on sweet corn straight from the field and onto the table. Plus mom would reward my efforts of harvesting by allowing me to sell sweetcorn to the neighbors door to door.
Kolrabi was a crop that would not make it out of the garden if I could help it. Picking them straight off the plant and eating them was the best way to consume them. To this day, I love anything from the Brassicaceae or cabbage family of plants.
Harvesting potatoes in the fall was a family affair. All four family members were needed for that. Dad would plow up the dirt; then mom, Randy and I would pick through the dirt and pick out potatoes. It was like a treasure hunt.
The Wilkie acre included 3 apple trees, 2 peach trees, one cherry tree and a grape vineyard. Harvest time for these crops and several vegetables like beans, and tomatoes meant canning.
Mom had a pressure cooker that she correctly would not let Randy or I touch under any circumstance. Pressure cookers were the Turkey Fryers of the 60s and 70s. If they were not used safely they would blow up. It could ruin a weekend…
Beth believes that the memories from my youth are fueling my passion for our current gardening adventure.
Mom loves soft serve ice cream as do I. We are both night owls.
I love to cook. Most of my youth was spent at home watching her cook and clean. I didn’t acquire a love of cleaning… But, my passion was accelerated in Junior and Senior High School when she began to work full time outside of the house.
The necessity to cook for myself increased in college. I spent zero days in dormitory life. So cooking was the only way to eat. Sure like most other broke college students the staples were ramen noodles, mac n cheese, frozen pizza, and bologna sandwiches. However there were opportunities to make real food. Watching mom prepared me for adulthood plus the art and science of cooking.
Mom’s home was always open to my friends. No one was unwelcome who showed up with me or to visit me. Mom does not have my love of cooking, but she’s a great cook and just try to drag her out of her kitchen when visiting her home.
She is ever the caretaker. Her younger siblings will tell you that she was more mother than sister growing up. She’s the second oldest of 8 children. Her siblings not only love each other, they hang out together frequently. That’s pretty cool.
That’s my mom. Pretty cool, pretty sharp. Just plain pretty.
Happy Mother’s Day mom. Wish we could’ve been there. See you soon!