Saturday, November 6, 2010

Memories Are Made Of This

I have my mother’s recipes. They are in various forms: Notes in an old cookbook, 3 x 5 recipe cards, and scrapes of paper. You can tell the ones she loved most by the amount of food stains. Many are simply titled by a person: “Lizzie’s Angel Food Cake” or “Betty’s Meringues”.

Garden equipment and lore can have the same kind of memories. Some of us had parents and grandparents who were frugal or maintained and saved equipment long after new inventions made them obsolete. If you are the recipient of these garden gems, you are indeed fortunate.

I might add a disclaimer: Having a bunch of old stuff might be fortunate to some, but, if you’re married to a neat freak (a term we holders of sentimental stuff use) it might not always be termed fortunate…

I’ve copied my collection of old recipes, put them in plastic sleeves and a three-ring binder. The old recipe fits behind the new copy. It protects the old and allows me to find a recipe when needed – or – just browse for the memory of it all.

Garden items and lore can be treated in the same manner:

• Hand write or type notes and stories connected to different garden tools and lore.

• Include a picture of items, plants or people.

• Arrange in a plastic clear sheet protector w/ 3 holes and add to a three-ring binder.

• Subject dividers may be added with categories. Use subjects that make sense to your collections and make it easier to find.

• The “Lore” part can be the most fun. Add stories of how the owner used it or stories that had been told over the years. A note of how this item or story became important to you.

Some people make copies and give a “book” to their loved ones as a way of preserving family history. Others simply enjoy the book for its trip down memory lane. A word of caution: Some will treasure it today and always. Others will put it away and only realize its joy as they, too, age. And then, there are those that will eventually let it be trashed because they aren’t sentimental.

As the freeze of winter settles upon our Midwest, it’s a great time to gather those family and friend gardening stories and make sure they don’t get lost. I included friends in this statement. As an example, I plant blue bachelor buttons because they bring a smile to me at the thought of my dear friend, June. A picture of these pretty flowers and of my friend with a note to why I included in my book makes the story complete.

Some say gardening is over after the first freeze, but, only if you want it to be. Winter is the time for planning, organizing and memories. To preserve these treasures is a way of saying “Thank you” to those that instilled a love of gardening.

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom that springs from the soul.”

- Henry Ward (Harry) Beecher, American clergyman (born 6/24/1813)

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