Friday, April 16, 2010

Travis-less Tractor

We went to Mamie’s to harrow the fields in preparation for planting. I set up camp chairs with umbrellas for me and Mamie to sit like ladies of leisure while Richard traversed the fields with Mamie’s tractor. The only problem was that we couldn’t figure out how to disconnect the plow and attach the harrow.

Mamie’s tractor is an oldie-but-goldie from the nineteen-fifties. There are several peculiarities to starting it when it has gas, but it was out of fuel. Richard remedied that situation with fuel from home, and returned ready to remedy the problem.

He was able to move the tractor into position for swapping the implements, and Mamie was sure that it was an easy fix to change them out. What had been easy for her son Frank and was still easy for her grandson Travis wasn’t so easy for those of us who had never done it. Richard decided to wait on Travis to tutor him in tractor transformation techniques; and Travis has a full-time job an hour away. So much for our plan du jour.

Mamie and I decided to run the roads together in search of seeds for our garden. She keeps seeds from year-to-year, but there are some vegetables from which she doesn’t collect seed, so we have to buy them every spring. We started at the hardware store in Tellico Plains, and made our way all over Monroe County from there.

Mamie is old school, from a depression-era economy. She doesn’t believe in paying for packaging when loose-pack seeds are less expensive. It doesn’t matter that we may have to spend all day and a tank of gas to find these bargains. It also doesn’t matter that we need very few seeds of any single vegetable for the three of us eating from our garden. A deal is a deal.

I was looking for lettuce of the romaine variety, and Mamie craved carrot seeds for extra large carrots. Our local hardware store had neither, so we set out for Sweetwater.

We did have a lovely day together, enjoying the roadside scenery on the way to Sweetwater. Mamie insisted on stopping for lunch at her favorite seafood place, Captain D’s. She grew up with fresh seafood on the Gulf Coast of Texas, and still craves seafood, even if it is from Captain D’s.

The Sweetwater vegetable market was bursting with colorful plants and so many seed varieties, but we couldn’t find carrot seeds. It was time to loop over to our last resort, Wal-Mart garden center. Success was ours at last. We headed home, but not without a stop on the way to pull up clumps of fern from one of Mamie’s properties for transplanting into our yards.

There are no dull days with my Mountain Mama Mamie. At ninety, she’s still up for adventure, and enthralled by all of nature and humanity. She’s proud of the fact that she only takes two pills per day. We should all be so successful at life.

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