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18. Crops
The gardens did well that summer, and in September the little crops were
gathered in with much rejoicing. Jack and Ned joined their farms and raised
potatoes, those being a good salable article. They got twelve bushels, counting
little ones and all, and sold them to Mr. Bhaer at a fair price, for potatoes went
fast in that house. Emil and Franz devoted themselves to corn, and had a jolly
little husking in the barn, after which they took their corn to the mill, and came
proudly home with meal enough to supply the family with hasty-pudding and
Johnny-cake for a lone time. They would not take money for their crop; because,
as Franz said, "We never can pay Uncle for all he has done for us if we raised
corn for the rest of our days."
Nat had beans in such abundance that he despaired of ever shelling them, till
Mrs. Jo proposed a new way, which succeeded admirably. The dry pods were
spread upon the barn-floor, Nat fiddled, and the boys danced quadrilles on them,
till they were thrashed out with much merriment and very little labor.
Tommy's six weeks' beans were a failure; for a dry spell early in the season hurt
them, because he gave them no water; and after that he was so sure that they
could take care of themselves, he let the poor things struggle with bugs and
weeds till they were exhausted and died a lingering death. So Tommy had to dig
his farm over again, and plant peas. But they were late; the birds ate many; the
bushes, not being firmly planted, blew down, and when the poor peas came at
last, no one cared for them, as their day was over, and spring-lamb had grown
into mutton. Tommy consoled himself with a charitable effort; for he transplanted
all the thistles he could find, and tended them carefully for Toby, who was fond of
the prickly delicacy, and had eaten all he could find on the place. The boys had
great fun over Tom's thistle bed; but he insisted that it was better to care for poor
Toby than for himself, and declared that he would devote his entire farm next
year to thistles, worms, and snails, that Demi's turtles and Nat's pet owl might
have the food they loved, as well as the donkey. So like shiftless, kind-hearted,
happy-go-lucky Tommy!
Demi had supplied his grandmother with lettuce all summer, and in the autumn
sent his grandfather a basket of turnips, each one scrubbed up till it looked like a
great white egg. His Grandma was fond of salad, and one of his Grandpa's
favorite quotations was
"Lucullus, whom frugality could charm,
Ate roasted turnips at the Sabine farm."
Therefore these vegetable offerings to the dear domestic god and goddess were
affectionate, appropriate, and classical.
Daisy had nothing but flowers in her little plot, and it bloomed all summer long
with a succession of gay or fragrant posies. She was very fond of her garden,
and delved away in it at all hours, watching over her roses, and pansies, sweet-
peas, and mignonette, as faithfully and tenderly as she did over her dolls or her
friends. Little nosegays were sent into town on all occasions, and certain vases
about the house were her especial care. She had all sorts of pretty fancies about