Thursday, July 23, 2015

First red tomato by the 24th of July

Actually our 2nd Red Tomato, Cathy picked the first!
My father Robert Christensen grew up in the agricultural community of Richfield, UT.  While the family farm mostly grew sugar beats as a cash crop, he worked on the side hoeing neighboring farms and raising chickens as a young man to sell eggs to the neighbors.  My father was a fairly simple man in what he wanted in life and gained a lot of satisfaction out of working in his own yard and growing his own garden.  Our gardens were irrigated, even though we had a sprinkler system, because that's the way he did it back home.

Robert Christensen outside his Richfield home
in 1931, just over five years of age.
Dad also loved LDS Church history.  He was often called upon to relate stories, including at our bedtime from the past about Church history.  July 24th, or the day the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley as a group, was always significant to him in many ways.  Subsequently, Dad would always have a contest with himself, that he get his first red tomato by the 24th of July.  For as long as I can remember it was always the mark of success, yet I'm not sure how many times we actually accomplished it.  However I do remember when he would come into the house, and announce that we had a red tomato by the 24th!

Early family photo, with me sitting on my father's lap, between
my brother's Spencer and Brad
 As we have grown up as children, even moved away from Rose Park for some of us, there has been a friendly effort by my siblings to have a red tomato by the 24th and then of course to announce it to the others, so they can be reminded of their lack of success!  We have become more sophisticated in our efforts.  One brother has a greenhouse, another lives in a warmer climate more conducive to early planting.  My sister has a raised garden off a brick wall which seems to get strong amounts of sunlight encouraging the little plants along.  Anyway you look at it, I've never won the contest and seem to be weeks behind the rest.
Mom and Dad in front of their first Rose Park
home on 900 N, just off of 900 W.  Dad always
planted a garden, wherever we lived
Well this year, there were a number of tender mercies which opened the way for the honor to return to 810 N 1500 W, the rightful location of this honor for 2015.  It started out as an extremely warm spring, temperatures about 10 degrees warmer than usual.  Costco had these reasonably price, large tomato plants that already had small fruit on them.  We had an exceptionally wet May, causing foliage to grow extremely well and then a hot June, which kicked the tomato plants into gear.  You might ask, what are the chances that scenario might ever happen again?  Well, never in my lifetime!  However, a few weeks ago, when I sent out my news to the family email group, I'm proud to say, I had the first red tomato by the 24th of July.  To boot, it was about two to three weeks early!  I know you're not suppose to have pride, gloat and heavens knows I need humility, but you know that for this year, the bragging rights are mine!

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