Bright Beauty from the Garden
My son and I worked again with the gardener at the church, and this time my son planted 576 seeds in flats, all winter vegetables, like cauliflower, broccoli, chard, cabbage and kale.
For our efforts, we brought home Swiss chard, to try for the first time. It was delicious! I am a big fan of greens, lately--a big fan of anything fresh from the garden, actually.
Speaking of which, we ate a carrot that had only been out of the ground a few moments. It was better than chocolate, and I never thought I would say that about a carrot.
Anyway, this Swiss chard was "Fiesta" variety and here's why:
A Blanket the Color of his Eyes
And while I am sharing, here is a pic of the lambswool afghan I crocheted for my other son, who will graduate from high school this year. This project took about 2 weeks, while the last one took months. Not sure why...
Pretty Flowers Anyway
My internet access has been spotty and unpredictable all month, so I also never got a chance to show you the roses I received for Valentine's Day. They aren't as meaningful as you might think, but that's not their fault. They were lovely.
Stories Between the Lines
And finally, my Swedish friend has found out a bunch of interesting genealogical information about my family by reading old church records from the mid 1800s. The records look like this, but my friend can decipher them:
So here is a little story about this woman, Augusta. She was my great grandmother:
Augusta was born in a tiny hamlet in southern Sweden to a farming couple. She had an older brother Bengt and a younger brother Algot.
Bengt was adventurous and went away to America in 1882 when he was 24, because the American government was promising land to immigrants.
When he got there perhaps he wrote letters home saying it was good, because five years later in 1887, Augusta, 25, and her little brother Algot, 23, packed their bags and sailed for America.
They all three settled in Kane, Pennsylvania. Augusta never learned to speak English; I don't how she made her living.
Soon she married Johan, a young man who was also a Swedish immigrant from the same area her family lived in. Perhaps they already knew each other.
Johan was the son of a farmhand and he had come to America seeking land of his own. He came first to Illinois, but wound up in Pennsylvania where he married Augusta. They had a bunch of sons, including my grandfather, and lived happily ever after.
Augusta's brother Bengt, however, had a more eventful story. He married, and he and his wife had two sons. But soon Bengt's wife became mentally ill and had to be committed to an asylum.
Perhaps Bengt was overwhelmed caring for his two young boys alone, grieving about his wife. Perhaps his mother offered to help. In 1900, Bengt decided to return to Sweden with his ailing wife and his two sons who were 12 and 7. The family moved back to the farm with Bengt's aging parents.
Bengst's wife never went back into an asylum, but after her sons were grown she ran away from Sweden and returned to America in 1915. This secret act was recorded by priests in The Book of Nonexistence.
Bengt eventually remarried, took over the farm after his parents' deaths, and then died in 1926.
This story is written between these spidery lines on yellowed paper. There are giant stacks of these papers. Imagine the stories.
My story would be so incomplete if you tried to piece it together from official records.