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Minonk Talk introduces Tales from the Heartland which is a series of letters written by Virginia McBride to her family. Mrs. McBride writes about her life experiences in a unique and refreshing manner. We are grateful that she has given us permission to publish her letters.

The End

My Minonk Friends,

Can you believe it's September? Can you believe the summer has flown by so fast? Wasn't it just yesterday that I feverishly dug in my garden and flower beds hoping to get everything planted in time? I remember thinking I'd better hurry because the roots and bulbs have only 3-4 months to do their thing before frost. This last word is an ugly word and I won't say it out loud, it's the END! A month ago I heard an army of locust, cicadas, singing an anthem. You know what they say, ‘Hear a locust- six weeks until frost'! Now that's scarey! "A rule is not a rule unless it can be broken." We'll see! We've had a different sort of year, lot of rules discarded. There are not too many Augusts with enough precipitation to keep grass and weeds growing. Lawns need to be mowed every 5-6 days. Gardens are still bearing good produce, the tomatoes are the best we've had lately. They're big, firm and sweet, fun to can. My basement shelves are filling up, canned tomatoes look so pretty and thrifty lined up on a basement shelf.

Even if we didn't have a calendar we should know the year is progressing. Stores have Christmas items out. Each early morning an announcer on WMT radio says ‘Good Morning' ‘only 104 shopping days until Christmas.' Isn't that good news? Halloween has been evident in stores for some time now.

Speaking of rain, we've been blessed with rains at just the right time. I sometimes watered pots but seldom had to water the flower beds. The rains have been kind, one has only to watch the T.V. news to see what excessive rain can do, what misery a flood provides. It must be awful to go back into a flooded house and see the damage. Once on the farm, heavy rains early in spring backed up water into the basement. Teresa (child#7) was in the hospital very ill, the Mr. was running chores, the bus, the other children and while our back was turned potatoes in the bin, onions and carrots, kindling and fuel were covered with sticky, slimy, yucky water. It was disgusting but just a spit in the bucket compared to a major flood. It was most inconvenient not to be able to have a fire in the furnace but nothing lasts forever and the world didn't end.

I don't do much canning any more, no pickles because cukes don't grow well in our garden. Heinz makes good pickles- so! I can pears, the neighbors have a tree abundantly loaded. Our tree does the best it can. A bit of relish some salsa and I'm done. I freeze a ton of applesauce and devout my winter to coaxing the Mr. to eat some. He's the one who had to have apple trees on our lot (8), spends $$$ on tree spray, frets and stews about the fruit and then turns up his nose at humble applesauce. The subject makes good discussions.

Virginia McBride
Elma, Iowa