August is the peak of fresh vegetables season in Upstate New York. Fresh tomatoes are becoming available, and corn is plentiful, sweet and delicious. Local fresh produce is abundant, and I am lucky to be able to make a quick drive to Harry A. Maier's bright green farm wagon and have my choice of the morning's picking! (love love love their corn) But the joy of growing your own vegetables in your backyard is a satisfaction all its own. I have a poster in my dining area that reminds of the time when growing vegetables was seen as an act of patriotism: the Victory Garden. In the early 1940s Americans were asked by the government to begin growing their own fruits and vegetables to offer some relief to the rationing situation brought on by World War II. Of course for rural families this was nothing new, but urban dwellers joined in and began planting small plots in their own yards. It was quite a successful program with more than 20 million gardens, producing as much as 10 million tons of vegetables! I think it is still a wonderful idea, and many urban communities have co-ops and neighborhood plots and will plant wherever they can, even rooftops and empty lots. A concept from the past that works wonderfully today (with a very different focus to be certain).
I love to collect fruit and vegetable themed anything, especially if they have faces. (I collect so many many things, as will quickly become apparent in this blog) This Victory Garden poster is a perfect example, I had seen it in a book and loved the colors and the determined expressions on the vegetables faces as they charge over the hill. (Look at the plucky little turnip in the lead!) My eldest daughter took notice and was able to find a reproduction for me as a birthday gift a few years ago, and it has hung in the dining area ever since. I recently started collecting (there's another collection) old rake and garden tool heads, so I hung them over the poster for a little garden-themed grouping. In the fall I will place tiny Jack Be Little pumpkins on the tines, and in the winter flameless tea lights, maybe dress the rake head up a little with some holly. They look a little menacing all naked like that, but have no fear, nothing goes unfestooned in this house for too long.
The silly wooden vegetable faces were once row markers in a long ago garden, maybe even someone's Victory Garden (at least I like to think so). My favorite is the gap-toothed acorn squash. Who would even think of such a thing? Now they greet visitors in the foyer with their goofy grins.
Now, to delay housekeeping chores just a bit further, with a trip to that wonderful green wagon!!!!