To help you understand a little bit about who I am, I will put the details in order of importance.
Most important is my faith, as a Catholic Christian, as it provides the framework and reasons for all I do and believe.
Second is my wife, children, and grandchildren, in that order. My wife and I have been married for nearly 38 years, have three wonderful daughters, and three great grandchildren. Our middle daughter is the only one who is married, and the grandchildren are the main reason we are living in this part of Minnesota. Our oldest daughter is also married and they live in the area, and our youngest is a supervisor in the costume shop at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Third is my service as a deacon in the Catholic Church. Deacon’s are part of the clergy of the Church, and are ordained to serve the poor. We can also perform baptisms, witness marriages, preach, and do funerals. Most of my time is spent teaching and preaching.
I grew up in small town in Minnesota, in which life was fairly simple, at least during the early 60’s. My grandparents, on my mother’s side, lived about a mile from us, and it’s from them that I learned to garden. Even though they had a normal residential lot, more than half of the backyard was a garden, in which they raised most of their vegetables, along with some great tasting raspberries. My grandmother would can all the excess vegetables and store them, along with the root vegetables, in a root cellar, located under the house.
The first real garden I put in wasn’t until after we were married. We were renting a duplex from my wife’s uncle and aunt, and got permission to put a garden in the back yard. The soil was heavy clay, and it took quite a bit of effort to get it dug up and turned into something that we could put plants in. The garden produced quite well, but with changes in our lives, was the last garden for a few years.
Once we moved to the Brainerd Lakes area, we had a garden and apple trees. The garden produced fairly well, as long as we kept ahead of the weeds. Eventually, I removed the fence and let the garden turn into grass, as we were busy with other things, such as camping, and didn’t have enough time to devote to the garden.
After spending a few years in Madison, Wisconsin, because of a job move, we returned to the Lakes area in 2008. The house we purchased had no landscaping, just sand and weeds. We had a local landscaping company take care of putting in the flower/perennial beds, and I had them add three 4×4 raised beds in the back yard. Since the work wasn’t finished until late August, we were only able to plant three apple trees, one for each grandchild.
In 2009 we continued work on the landscaping and garden beds. I added two more 4×4 raised beds to boost production. The raised beds produced quite well, but not enough to provide enough food to preserve for the winter. We also added two more apple trees, one crabapple, and two pear trees.
The spring of 2010 saw the garden expand significantly, about doubling in size. I raised all the plants from seeds, and learned a few things to improve on for 2011. The garden has produced quite well, although the pepper plants gave me very few peppers. Now we’re slowly getting the garden ready for winter and making plans for next year’s garden.