Since I've been driving to Saugatuck for work a couple times a week this summer, I've had to watch as more and more Ottawa County farm land gets turned into shitty housing developments. Seriously, I'd rather live in an apartment my whole life than ever live in one of those places. I hate how people value cheap(ly made) houses with no character over having local food production. I can't say I don't understand why the farmers sell. Most of them don't make any substantial money farming, and it is pretty hard to convince the next generation to work long hours for crappy compensation when the Bluth Corporation is willing to buy their fields for tons of money.
Then I walk into my backyard and remember that good old Burton Heights was once amazingly fertile farmland. Last year the Neighborhood Association put a little piece in the newsletter about how good our soil is for gardening. Well, If I had any doubt about that, this summer's bumper crop has convinced me!
Ever since I was really little, I would come over to this house and pick grapes at the end of summer. My Grandma would cook the grapes and can the jelly so it would last all winter. Man, nothing tasted better than waking up to my grandma's fresh baked rolls and homemade jelly as a precursor to the Mickey Mouse pancakes on the griddle.
The backyard also has a quince tree and an apple tree. I've never eaten any of the apples (and I don't think the quince are edible), but the squirrels and raccoons seem to dig them.
My grandfather, an avid purveyor of old-timey crafts, loves to paint gourds so he planted a bunch here in town to see if they would grow. I was cutting away some weeds in the backyard and I saw a little gourd and realized I was about to chop down this long vine that has begun to ensnare the whole house!
The surprise of the summer though, is the corn! What?!? Where did the corn come from? I walked into the backyard and saw what looked like some corn growing back there. I touched it, and sure enough there was a little cob all wrapped up in my backyard! I called my grandpa up north to see if he had planted it on his last visit (which is probably when he planted the gourds). He said no and hypothesized that squirrels had buried some kernals at one point and the little stalks just came up on their own.