Friday, July 24, 2009

Sunbathing In The Victory Garden

Sunbathing in the Victory Garden
8.5" x 11"
I started this one in my sketchbook while I was on the deck, taking my morning sun.
I didn't know that one could be "low" in Vitamin D, especially at my age. Well, I never really thought about it. I assumed that, after all those sunburns and water blisters, when I was growing up and trying to get a good tan, I had enough Vitamin D to last me forever. Besides, it is in things like milk, these days.
My doctor told me that I was extremely low in vitamin D, so I got some more pills and was told to get at least 15 minutes of sun on my arms a day.
I remembered all those sunbaths we used to take, and how, in recent years, we have avoided sun due to the possibility of sunburns and things like skin cancer. My latest idea was to go out on the deck, in the morning, before it gets so hot, and take a little sunbath.
I thought that, instead of just getting sun on my arms, I would put on my shorts and sit on the deck, soaking up rays, on my pale legs, as well as my arms. I've been taking my lawn chair, a stool, a bottle of water, sunglasses, floppy hat and sunglasses, sketching materials and watercolors out on the deck. I would think it would be nice to sip coffee out there, but I'm not a coffee drinker, so I left that off.
After I take my sunbath, I go for a little walk. That is supposed to be from 15 to 30 minutes. It was taking me 15 minutes to get to the corner. Now, it is taking about 10 minutes, so I have to look at walking further. I think about walking in the evenings, but it has been either too hot, or storming, almost every night.
I try to go out before the temperature hits 90 degrees and, then, wait until it cools down below 90 in the evenings. Of course, lately, it seems that, instead of cooling down after 4 p.m., it gets hotter after that time, and doesn't cool down until really late at night. Or we have had a couple of thunderstorms at that time.
One morning, I was remembering when I would go out in our back yard in Calvert to sunbathe. I would put a quilt down near the Victory Garden and take a bottle of baby oil, that might have a little iodine in it, for a better tan. So, this is the sketch above.
With people still trying to recover from the Depression, and all of us worried about the War, a lot of people in town planted a garden-a Victory Garden. Daddy had a man come plow up part of the back yard, and I got to plant and tend to the garden. I thought we should have one!
I had carrots and radishes on the north end of the garden, potatoes just south of those, and, further to the south, I planted watermelons, corn and tomatoes.
The land slanted to the south, so water ran down to the lower south side and often left a big puddle there. Nothing I planted there came up, but I did have some tiny potatoes, carrots, and radishes, and some tiny watermelons. It wouldn't have fed us, if we needed it, for sure. I think we only tried the Victory Garden for a couple of years. It was a lot of work. And, of course, during years of drought, nothing much was growing. It would have been a waste to water it.
Now, across the street, "Toot" always had a garden going beside her garage. She worked in her yard a lot, and it showed.
Besides the garden, in my picture, you can see the garage, with the horse pen, and a shed Daddy built to house the truck he built. Also there is a three tier cage where Mama had some chickens. Daddy bought her some baby chicks to raise, and they were so cute. However, when the chickens were big enough to eat, Mama took one out and tried to kill it. It wouldn't die. Mama ended up in tears after trying to wring its neck with her hands, then wire from the clothesline. Daddy told her to get a hatchet and cut its head off. She just looked at the chicken and cried. She could not kill that chicken. So, she opened the doors to the cages, and shooed the chickens away from our yard.
Daddy had us all trying to catch chickens, all over the neighborhoood, when he got home. He was not happy!
Of course, we didn't catch any chickens. If we saw one, we would shoo it the other way. We didn't want to kill those chickens either.
For years, there were white chickens roaming around the neighborhood.
Another feature in our back yard were some posts that Daddy put up for a swing for us. He painted those white. We preferred to play on the swings at the school, just 1/2 block away. Those were some nice metal ones, that we grew up with.
We couldn't put a quilt down on the ground to sunbathe today. Fire ants would put a quick stop to that!
Today, I had blood drawn. I guess I will soon know if my sunbathing and pills have helped. I wonder if I will have to continue my routine, or if I can go back to being an indoor person.
It is kind of nice to go out and sketch. I don't care much for walking. It's kind of boring, and tiring. If it weren't for a pasture where I can see changing clouds, it would be really boring to just walk down the street.
Oh, well. I've been thinking that I am lucky to be able to walk anywhere at all. Boring or not.

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