Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Cottage

I'd like to thank Pencil Lines for helping me know what to do with both the lace paper and corn pattern paper. I'd been looking for the perfect Sketch for about three months. Thank you for the inspiration!

My Dad's Parents, Granpa & Granma, lived in Euclid, OH. In the summers they moved out to their summer cottage on the Geneva River. I loved spending time at "The Cottage," as the family would call it. It meant spending time with my Uncle Bob and Aunt Carol as well as my cousins Lynda and David. Funny how Granpa and Granma were Papa and Nana and David is now Dave. As Lynda, Dave and I reached teenagers the names changed.

I know we spent even more time at The Cottage when we lived in Niagara Falls. Yet I remember, being there when we lived in Delaware for two weeks each summer. There I learned to love my Granpa's garden. There was the main 1 acre vegatable garden, a small raspberry patch, and then smaller flower beds scattered about the lawn. The vegatable garden was off limits to the kids unless we were an adult. Now that I look back on that rule I can understand it would be a diaster if five kids went running down the rows. That one acre garden provided enough vegatables for my grandparents and my Aunt and Uncles family for almost a year. They only bought vegatables four to six weeks out of the year before the vegatables started to come in. My Granpa kept three compost bins. One for the current gardening year, one still a work in progress and one that all the current organic matter was going into. There were wonderful grass paths through the garden kept edged to perfection. Three pound coffee cans with holes punched in the bottom for water to drain strategically placed so if Granpa found a stone it went in the can...and no stone throwing by the kids.

I'd spend about five minutes at a time with Granpa in the garden before leaving to run play somewhere else. During that time he'd show me how to weed, how he cultivated the vegatables, or maybe add some compost. Granma always called me to go out to pick whatever vegatables would be on the table for lunch and dinner. I learned so much from her. She taught me how to tell if an ear of corn was ripe without peeling the husks back. I've in turn have taught my children. She taught me how to tell each vegatable was ripe. She had a rule about cooking corn. Put the pot of water on to boil before going out to the garden. Pick other vegatables first, then the corn. Head straight for the compost pile and shuck the ears right then, then head for the house. She'd rinse the ears and put them in the now boiling water. Less then 5 minutes from picking to the pot. I can still taste the wonderful sweet corn my grandfather grew. I've never had any better. For two weeks we would have corn two meals a day every day. I was in heaven. I found it crazy that my grandparents wouldn't let us have another ear of corn until the cob was very clean. I'd eat two or three ears every meal, and by gosh I cleaned those ears the first go round. It was so ingrained in me my husband commented to me how in the world did I get ears so clean about five years into our marriage. I chuckled....when I actually thought about it. For the first ten years of my life the only time we ate corn on the cob was at Granma and Granpa's. My grandparents were ones who wasted little and expected the rest of the family to conform to that concept. As an adult I understand...1) they were Bohemian and 2) they lived through the Great Depression as a young married couple with young children. To this day I am surpised my Granpa held his job in Cleveland Bank and Trust through the Depression. He must have been a very productive employee. I'm sure he was terrified of loosing the job.

I remember at least twice a week my Granma and Mom would be in the kitchen all afternoon after picking vegatables just after lunch dishes were done. They would be freezing or canning the vegatables. Then once a week they would head for Euclid to their home to put the vegatables up in the freezers or shelves in the basement. If my Aunt was at The Cottage all three would be in the kitchen. We were not allowed in the kitchen while they were working. For the most part it was because there was barely room for one never mind add one or two more in the kitchen. They had the time of their lives in the kitchen. I remember hearing them talking and laughing.

Some of the other fun things to do at The Cottage. Dave and I would see how far we could jump. The favorite thing to jump over was the flower beds. We looked like little deer flying over a six foot round bed. I think our Granma was about to die as she screamed at us. When we made it she disappeared in the house. That evening she told us to show our parents what we could do. They were sitting under the trees near that bed talking while we were running off dinner. I loved the summer evenings falling asleep as the three of us kids always slept on the back porch. What fun to listen to the night sounds as we fell asleep as it would always be quickly. We'd also swim in the Geneva River just out the back door of the cottage. At my Grandparent's place it was a very small meandering river. We would swim across the river and use their neighbors rope swing from a huge tree to drop into the river. The bank was steep and we were never allowed down to the river without the adults. Then each trip my Granma and Mom would take my brothers and I to a local riding stable where I was given the gift of a ride on a pony. I loved that day. Somewhere there is a picture of me on one of those rides.

I always hated to leave and go home. My brothers and I would have to give up space in the Station Wagon for some of those wonderful veggies coming home with us. I never minded because they were so good.

Flooding memories of the my time at "The Cottage" came back when I started scrapping the LO. I didn't name it, "The Cottage," because it was pictures of my Granpa and Granma for my "About Me" album. My love of Agriculture comes honestly through my grandfather. The knowledge of ripe fruit and vegatables comes from my grandmother. I consider those the greatest treasures they gave me. I remember the very moment I told my Granpa I was going to major in Agriculture (by then they were living near us in Texas). There is a picture in my Mother's Wedding Album of my Granpa and Mom dancing with this wonderful huge smile on his face. That smile was the same one he gave me. I became grandchild #1 in an instant. From that point on any time I came home I was required to arrive at his house within 24 hours to let him know what I'd learned since the last time I saw him. He loved it! I always tell Larry my Grandfather is smiling down from his pink cloud and telling me I did good in choosing my husband. Larry loves Agriculture as much as I do.

What wonderful memories this LO has brought back.


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