A Plot of Potatoes

A Plot of Potatoes

Growing up on a farm near Pincher Creek, there was one constant which followed me from childhood to the present, a large garden. The garden was managed by my mother who remained the “boss” until well into her 80s. Our meat was supplied by our chickens, cattle or hogs, milk from our milk cow and our year’s supply of vegetables from my mother’s garden. I had no idea that a Walmart could feed me. Our food was from the soil of our farm and the toil of our hands always aware that ultimately, we were fed by the grace of God. Though material poor in other areas, I consider my childhood as being one surrounded by abundance.

Fast forward 74 years and the garden has not moved. Thanks to tonnes of manure spread over the years and a good water supply, it still produces abundantly. In the interim, I have become the “boss”. Though that is under constant attack by my wife Del’s superior foresight.

Potatoes have generally taken up the majority of garden space. They also leave me with negative memories. Potato bugs were a constant menace which required us to hand pick the smelly little fellows off the plants during the summer. I don’t know if those bugs were an Egyptian-type plague rained upon us for sins committed and subsequently withdrawn or we luckily captured the last mating pair, but the bugs are no more.

We have for years planted a surplus of potatoes to share with family and friends. This year was no exception. The crop was exceptionally bountiful and after digging about a third of the plants, we had enough for our needs. We came up with the idea of publicly advertising the rest. The posting on our local Facebook looked somewhat like, “Potatoes! Come and dig them and they are yours”. The response was immediate and overwhelming. I had no idea that a small bag of hand dug potatoes could create so much joy. Some claim that our free potatoes negatively affected the Canadian potato prices momentarily. I’m not sure if that is true.

Personally, we found the experience to be heart-warming. I suppose we could have sold the excess and giving them away isn’t heroic. It simply feels like one is a participant in the Kingdom Come. To paraphrase John’s beautiful vision of the age to come: “Come, let them who are hungry, come. And whoever will, let them dig and take potatoes freely”.

 Looking forward, next year’s potato patch will be bigger yet and again there will be an invitation to come and dig.