Well my fruit crop is in. Figuring in the cost of water, bird netting, time, and a tiny bit of organic fertilizer, I estimate my blueberries and cherries cost me about a dollar a piece. But there is something priceless about fresh, garden to table food. I got about two average store size containers of blueberries but only a handful of cherries. When the cherry tree was blooming we got a very heavy rain and only a few fruit set. I had enough for blueberry shortcakes, and someday I'll do a very special blueberry - cherry pie. I think I'll scour the nurseries for end of season, marked down, peach and plum trees to add to my dooryard orchard.
This is a photo of my grandpa Charlie, kneeling front center, with his peach picking crew in 1935. Yep, I'm named after him. Some of the crew look like the hired hands in The Wizard of Oz. My mom (sitting on the truck) used to say they did well enough, they barely knew the Great Depression was on. Grandpa specialized in peaches and dairy cattle; but he also raised hogs, chickens, apples, corn, barley, wheat, strawberries, and a big kitchen garden. They even tried sheep once, too much work at lambing time.
Grandpa always shared his bounty with less fortunate neighbors, the nuns at the hospital where I was born, and an African-American sharecropper family living nearby named Weiss. That was his name too. I would love to know the story there.
Before the Civil War, Missouri was a Border State, it had both slaves and Free Blacks. Some of the Free Blacks, like Dred Scott, found themselves at the mercy of the slave patrols. I had a few relatives in the Civil War, one died at Vicksburg (we never knew exactly what happened to him, probably disease), some were "Bounty Jumpers" (essentially deserters, I think one might have collected the enlistment bounty twice). Most were with the Union, but there was one Masters (my grandma's family) who was a fairly well known officer with a bunch of Confederate raiders near Kansas City, where Jesse James and Quantrill's Raiders hung out. I haven't figured out if that person was related to us or not. We only had one big battle in Missouri, Pea Ridge, but we had lots of nasty, guerrilla skirmishes.
I just heard a fascinating presentation by historian Peter Carmichael who wrote a book called The War for the Common Soldier that completely changed my perspective on "deserters". They were often poorly trained, poorly led, poorly equipped, and poorly fed. It often seemed like the folks back in Washington or Richmond were clueless (sounds familiar). Loyalty to cause was often less important than loyalty to family or loyalty to comrades. The "Cause" was often unclear and shifting. It would be so easy to get a furlough and just not return to the mess. I honestly don't know what I would have done under those circumstances. (6/23 update)
Both my grandparents' families had been in southeast Missouri since the 1830's. I hope one of them didn't pull a "Thomas Jefferson". I've had enough surprises in my Family Tree lately.
#ello_history, @puyp, #dooryard_garden, #locavore, #eat_local, #Civil_War, #loyalty, #family_history