My parents inherited a parcel of land in the suburb of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. To a Texan, this ⅓ of an acre was a smidgen of earth, but in this part of the world, a parcel of land this size would house eight double homes with eight backyards and eight outhouses.
In the summer, Dad decided to increase our food income by planting all sorts of vegetables: beans, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn. He did the planting, convincing my mother that he needed a full sized tractor to assist this modern day farmer. My brother said it was more like a planter of yesteryear without the horse.
Of course, there were four of us kids to do the hard work-planting potatoes, sowing seeds, keeping the rows free from weeds, and harvesting the veggies.
There was always something to harvest throughout the season. Early on it was stripping the snap bean plants, then after the beans, tomatoes were pulled from their plants to ripen from the vines to line up on our backyard fence. Later is the summer, our father, after a hard days work, would come home and with a giant metal tub, go out to our ”farm” and snap off dozens of corn cobs, and bring them into the house. Mom would boil them up and with a pound of butter on the table, always a steak or prime rib, several other veggies, and often an apple pie for dessert. We would sit down to, a royal feast you could say.
Also around our land he planted fruit trees, including apples, pears and peaches. Each year the fruit trees grew taller and more abundant as my father would nurse them with his green thumb, and each year people in the neighborhood would help themselves to the fruit, which was fine by him. My father so enjoyed sharing our bounty with the neighborhood that he never minded cleaning up the spoils on the ground.
I also remember that, in summer, hobos would come to the house. The word was out that Mom was a soft touch. My mother always gave them a sandwich and a soda, and in those days the sandwich slides were big, thick slices of freshly baked bread, stuffed with either thick slices of ham, a sirloin steak, or maybe miles of Lebanon bologna and cheese with lots of mustard. The hobos would sit on our porch and chat with us kids, and in those days no one ever thought of anyone stealing from us – what was there to steal?
These are the things I remember.