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Archive for July, 2012

We received some exciting news regarding a new addition to our garden team today, as Mike Boyle sent an email to fellow volunteers introducing “Johnny Pat Putt-Putt…” Johnny Pat, as it turns out, is an old John Deere tractor that has been in the Boyle family since Mike was a kid. And while Johnny Pat may look a little rough now, he’s had a productive and exciting life; with more bright days to come.

For those of you who don’t know Mike Boyle, he is the life-blood of Hardacre Community Garden. Mike devotes untold hours to the garden (not to mention many other community activities) and though he would insist on highlighting the efforts of others, truth be told our project wouldn’t be what it is without him. Mike often lists continuation of our horticultural legacy as a key benefit of the garden, and enjoys teaching techniques that his own grandparents shared with him. It seems only fitting that this important piece of Mike’s heritage would also find its way to the Hardacre farm.

Here is what Mike had to say…

Good Morning,

 We have a new resident at the Tipton/Hardacre Community Garden named ‘Johnny Pat’ Putt Putt.

 Yes, indeed it is a John Deere tractor, one that I personally have many fond memories of growing up. This was my Dad’s (Pat) tractor, the first tractor I learned to drive.

 Many years ago ‘Johnny Pat’ had a major role down-on-the-farm planting corn & soybeans, pulling in loads of baled hay and wagon loads of grain. As the years rolled by ‘Johnny Pat’ became weak and worn having survived the May 15, 1968 tornado that completed turned the tractor & four row planter a complete 180 degree turn.

My Dad had been planting soybeans that afternoon and with storm clouds looming overhead he left the farm equipment facing east in the field. In those days we thought it best to ‘out run’ tornadoes so as a family we all got into the family car and followed my grandparents who were in their car and headed toward the 7 funnel tornadoes’. My memories of this is forever imprinted on my mind.

 Needless to say by the Grace of God our lives were spared, as we returned to our home the devastation from these tornadoes completely destroyed our neighborhood. The Boyle farms did not receive major damage like the neighbors homesteads although it did uproot trees and completely destroyed all fences on the farms. ‘Johnny Pat’ putt putt and planter changed directions and was now facing west, a 180 degree turn from the east position it had been before the storm.

 We hope ‘Johnny Pat’s ‘ current inoperable condition will soon change and having a new home and a little love & TLC will bring it new life.

I grew up with this tractor and had never tagged a name to it until it came home to the Hardacre acreage.

 Seemed so fitting to name the tractor after my Dad and it being a John Deere tractor Johnny was appropriate too. But with the young grandson (Johnny) of Bob & Sandy Harmel taking a likening to the tractor, Johnny just fit as the first name.

 Johnny Pat’s picture is attached. Wouldn’t it be nice to see it putt putt around the acreage and perhaps pull a hay ride full of people…….

 Imagine being nameless all those years.

 Josh, please post on the garden site.

 Thanks.

 Mike

 

We can all relate to objects that trigger memories, sacred in our minds. The fortunate among us are able to resurrect these in adult life, maintaining a connection to our past. And greater blessings still; to revive them with true purpose, the intent of helping others and contributing good to the world…

 

Welcome home, Johnny Pat.

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To begin with this evening, let’s take a look at some photos from not so long ago…

 

These were some of the first pictures taken of the garden this spring. The time was early April. Our young onions were just beginning to sprout, and with shorter days we worked through the hours of dusk to get all those potatoes in the ground.

 

A few weeks later, on May 15, this was the scene at the Cedar County Historical Society’s Prairie Village…

 

In a demonstration of historical technique and an exercise honoring our agricultural heritage, volunteers and historical society members gathered to plant sweet corn the old-fashioned way, with draft horses and an antique planter.

 

Now let’s fast forward a few months (or several decades, depending on how you look at it) for some of our more recent images.

 

These shots were taken last Saturday morning, July 21, as a group of local volunteers delivered potatoes and onions harvested from Hardacre Community Garden, and sweet corn picked from CCHS Prairie Village to the Bread of Life Food Pantry in Tipton. The produce will be donated to needy families throughout our area, providing them with nutritious locally grown food while alleviating some financial strain and allowing them to further stretch their budgets.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, just a portion of the total offerings that will be made available to our neighbors this year. It’s sometimes hard to believe what a garden can produce in the span of just a few short months. Rest assured, a lot of hard work has gone into reaching this point; much commitment and dedication was needed to get us from then to now. However, the point of this reflection is to consider how those efforts started- with the care and compassion of volunteers who had the vision to put a few seeds in the ground.

Now the actions of those few will have a significant impact on the lives of many.

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

 

July 21 Volunteers Pictured, bottom photo (from left): Mike Boyle, Mike Bixler, Trent Pelzer, Cindy Pelzer, Ken Reichert, Matt Pelzer, Scott Pelzer, Sandy Harmel.

 

Draft Horse Photos compliments of Mike Boyle… July 21 Bread of Life Photos compliments of Kris Clark.

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Well, that old rooster is crowing pretty early these days so I don’t have a lot of time for commentary tonight, but I do want to share a few photos taken around the garden last week. Despite the drought (and once again, this evenings storms hung to the north- though there seems to be something now brewing south of us) things are still looking pretty good thanks to tireless watering efforts by our volunteers. It’s getting to be harvest time for several of our vegetables, and the big project this week has been the digging of potatoes for distribution by the Bread of Life food pantry this weekend. These folks do wonderful work for our community, and this is the time when all of our toils pay off and we get to experience the joy of sharing in this worthy effort. Mike and the crew will be back out at the garden site tomorrow night (July 19) around 7:00 pm harvesting more potatoes and onions for this donation, and if anyone is interested extra hands are always appreciated.

You will notice in these photos a few examples of our continued effort toward sustainable practice at the garden; in this case through the reuse and reclamation of scrap materials. See if you can pick out and determine the purpose of these items. There’s a little further explanation in the July 2012 album on our facebook page, and watch for a blog entry with a comprehensive look at these efforts coming soon.

Speaking of which, thanks to the generosity of garden friends we’ve managed to gather some steel posts with more to be picked up soon. However, if you have any that you would like to donate we are still definitely interested. Also, we’re still looking for old hay or straw bales that people may wish to get rid of, which we will use for mulch. Leave a message here in the comments or on our facebook page if you can help or have any questions.

Enjoy the photos, try to stay cool, and keep praying for rain!

The south garden, home of sweet potatoes, mini pumpkins, cucumbers and other vining plants.

Also in the south garden… sweet corn!

Green beans.

The flower garden is just exploding with color right now.

Overview of the east garden.

(Soon-to-be) Red Bell Pepper.

The area Mike has dubbed “Cannery Row.”

Almost time!

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