Our potatoes: they’re Norland Reds and they were developed in the Dakotas in the 1950s. So our fears about them when they sprouted at the May end of April, when they were accompanied by a planting direction that they be planted eyes up, not just any old way, when they came from balmy California to grow on the Prairie – all those fears disappeared in June when we dug a few. Delicious. Firm. Quick to mature. It was quite wrong to think of them as pilgrims to a harsh and unforgiving climate; any reasonable potato coming to Kansas from the Dakotas would consider itself fortunate.
After the June harvest, we still had six rows of them, anticipating the arrival of our grandsons in August and the excellent Object Lesson to be gained.
Lads, you can eat what you dig. July came on hot and dry – no surprise there – but at the end of the month it began to rain. In two weeks we had something like 12 inches, most of it gentle. Not an ark-building situation but very much a surprise. Towards the beginning of September, the corn is just now turning yellow, the Big Bluestem has put up an enormous array of seed heads, and those of us who put up alfalfa and prairie hay are exasperated because even when the hay has been rolled over and rolled over again, it still feels too wet to bale.
So we had to weed the Norlands heavily to get at them. The grandsons realized that they could eat maybe six potatoes each, so the excellence of the Object Lesson tailed off a bit after six and adult participation became necessary, but they were as tasty as in June. As you see, we have an abundance of eating potatoes, and in addition we got a lot of little fellows, the size of marbles, so we hooked up our two-bottomed Lister (a plow that opens the soil but doesn’t turn it) and planted the marbles, any which way. So maybe, come Thanksgiving . . .
The sun is down the sky, the lambs are so woolly they need shearing so they can get through the creep gate into their manger, and we moved the rams away from the ewes so lambs will come in April, not January. Fall is upon us.
© Jerry Wigglesworth, August 2013