granpie's garden


As I slowly put together a new field piece, I remember the first field that I loved. My “Granpie” Silvis’ vegetable garden covered an acre (or so it seems to me) on his land that fronted Sugar Lake in Minnesota. That land, the vegetable garden, and the times spent at “The Lake” are my best memories of growing up. We lived about an hour from “The Lake” and would spend countless weekends there with my cousins, aunts and uncles. With six aunts, five uncles, and 23 cousins, that was often a crowd.

The best times for me were waking up early with my “Granpie” before anyone else was up. We’d walk down to the lake to go fishing as the sun rose. We’d often catch enough Sunnies to feed everyone at lunch. If we caught catfish, he said they made the best garden fertilizer and we’d save a few for that. After cleaning the sunnies, we’d bury the remains and the catfish “where the garden needed a little help”. Then we’d walk around the whole garden pulling a few weeds here and there as we went. He used to say, “Gardens don’t take a lot of work but they take a lot of looking.” By then we were hot and we’d race to the lake for a cool dip. All this happened before most of the household even stirred. It’s probably why I love early mornings so much.

It’s left me with the sense of wonder about what is buried beneath the earth. I wonder what is growing in his old garden now and if the remnants of his old rows still show through on the contour of the land. And what about the decades and centuries before he farmed that land?

As I work on my field pieces, I want to honor those prior happenings on the land.