As for the gardening, I learned what we do today from John Thunder Hawk. We till the ground around our plants and I hear sometimes that isn’t the best practice. I also sell pickles at our store – I buy them in 5 gallon pails. Last year, I cut the bottom off of 90 buckets and covered all my plants except for the ones with vines (melons, cucs, squash, etc.). I thought this would be an easier way to garden, less tilling and less weeding, less work. I didn’t till, I mowed and I only weeded inside the buckets. I got the veggies but they weren’t as lush and I got a lot of stickers, probably the most stickers ever. I am still getting stuck this year. I went back to tilling up the garden. We grow everything; radish, onions, beats, tomatoes, corn, watermelon, muskmelon, all the squash, potatoes, celery, green beans, peas, rutabaga, cabbage, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc… My wife Nicole (John’s daughter) likes to can tomatoes and beats so we try to put a lot in. I like to pickle cucumbers but everyone eats them before I can harvest enough. I like to make potato, green bean, and salt pork soup. I only like planting the vegetables – I don’t care or want to plant flower or grass gardens. My wife enjoys the flower/grass stuff.
When I was a young boy, my dad put in a garden and my chore was to weed it. I thought it was to dumbest program ever. Since that time, I was always turned off to gardening. I never understood why my father-in-law would put in a garden every summer but over time as I watched him, I started to help him. It was funny because every row had to straight, he had a string and he would step off evenly ever spot for each plant. He would be out there all by himself. I would peak outside and watch him, he would take breaks and sometimes fall asleep watching the dirt in the hot sun. I started going out there, asking him if he needed help and just doing what he said. I couldn’t till too fast, it had to be at snails pace. We pulled weeds around plants and put the weeds in buckets for disposal away from the black dirt. The garden was behind my house, so when it came to watering we would soak sections and make sure every section got an abundance of water. He would call every night and make sure we turned the water off so he could rotate the water in the morning. John past away in August 2005, that year, I remember stepping out into the garden and crying because it was one of the most beautiful and lush gardens ever. And it seemed like he was still there. I think that is why we garden today, because we all miss John and seeing his garden lets us know he is still here watching over us. Since 2005, some years the garden was put in and neglected and some years we did good. Every years is different and we try different strategies, seeking an easier way to garden. I am just so grateful for all that John shared with us, all his lessons that taught us what work is and that there is no way around it. I loved that man. There is nothing better then eating fresh veggies right out of the garden.
Dave Archambault II,