I enjoyed watching the plants come up. I would look for the tiniest of shoots to poke through the ground, knowing that I had helped plant seeds in that exact spot ten days earlier. I would stand on a row of corn and see if I could make out a line of sprouts. Sometimes I dug down an inch to find a seedling about to break through the ground. If stalks were thwarted by a small clump of dirt, I was told, “Leave them alone. They will come out on their own.”
We helped set out tomato plants and stake them up with binder twine. We spread corncobs among the rows of raspberries to keep the weeds down. We hoed weeds in the sweet corn, onions, and beans. The job I hated most was pulling weeds in the strawberry patch.
We grew lots of cucumbers. Pulling the weeds and harvesting cucumbers was back-breaking work, but it had to be done. A few cucumbers would be missed when harvesting and grew to huge sizes. We gutted the insides of those giants and carved them into boats. We had fun floating them in the cow tank.
Phillip, Bob and I fashioned sails for our cucumber boats and carried out naval warfare in the watering tank. Sticks were used for masts and pieces of tar paper, left over from shingling roofs, made functional sails. Truth be told, those sails were quite useless. We found that the best way to win a naval battle was to simply ram your cucumber boat into your brother’s boat.