Jed, The Retired Farmer, Is A Popular Character
Due to Jed’s awe-inspiring rise in popularity among my readers, I have put together a collection of the many bits of advice, anecdotes, stories, and witticisms that my beloved neighbor has imparted to me throughout The Perfect Vegetable Garden. Enjoy the wisdom of Jed, the retired farmer, as well as his unique take on life. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, his rare humor inspires us all.
My Neighbor Jed
One of my neighbors, Jed, is an elderly farmer who loves to tell stories. One day, he told me a story about the day his wife, Millie, died years ago.
“She was quite a complainer!” he said.
Jed went on…
“She was always nagging and criticizing me about something…all day long…all night long. It was pretty much non-stop. Then, one day she brought me lunch while I was out plowing the field with my old mule…which was the only time I could get relief from her constant barrage of negativity.
As I stopped to eat, she started nagging again…on…and on…and on it went. Then…all of a sudden, my mule reared up and kicked her in the back of the head with both legs…killing her instantly.
At the funeral, the minister noticed that every time a woman mourner came to console me, I nodded my head “yes” in agreement…and, every time a male mourner spoke to me, I shook my head “no” in disagreement…
Well, after the funeral, that minister, being more than a bit curious, came over and asked me about it. He wanted to know why I agreed with all the women and disagreed with all the men.
And, I told him…
Preacher…I said…all the women came over to me and said how nice my wife looked, how well she was dressed, and how sorry they were about her passing…and I agreed with them wholeheartedly.
And, the men…well…they all wanted to know if my old mule was for sale!”
My Neighbor Jed
I was talking with my neighbor, Jed, the other day. Jed’s an old-time farmer and, as such, he loves a good story.
He told me about the time a young, naive city couple was driving down the country road close to his farm and their car got stuck in a very large water-filled mud hole.
“I watched them unsuccessfully trying to get their car out of the mud hole for a while, then, I ambled over to them.” Jed said.
“I offered to get my tractor and tow their car out of the mud for $20 and they gratefully agreed to my proposal. Several minutes later, their car was again on firm ground.
I told them that it had been a busy day because I had to help a half dozen other cars get out of that old mud hole already.
The husband looked out at my sprawling fields of corn and asked me if I had to work my farm at night since I was so busy towing cars out of that mud hole during the day.
Well, sir, I just told him that I didn’t have time to work my farm at night ‘cause that’s when I put the water in the hole.”
My Neighbor Jed
Old Jed has been my neighbor for quite some time now. He’s retired…but, for most of his career years he was a farmer. And, he loves a good story…
He had a pond nestled in a little valley on his farm and one day, as he was walking along the edge of the water, he spotted a frog.
He picked it up and as he started to put it in his pocket the frog said, “Kiss me and I will become a beautiful wife for you!”
Jed ignored the frog and continued to put it in his pocket.
“Didn’t you hear what I said?” The frog snapped at him.
Jed looked at the frog and said, “You know…at my age…I think I’d rather just have a talking frog.”
What to Do? What to Do?
As much as I enjoyed having bees around to pollinate my garden crops and eat the unwanted insects…and, truthfully, these wasps are excellent predators helping me out by eating the bad bugs in my garden…still…they were now threatening my peaceful existence by being in areas that could make them a danger to me and anyone else that came near enough to rile them up.
Enter my neighbor, Jed. You might remember that Jed has been mentioned at the end of several other posts I have published. He is a great story-teller! Take the time to read some of the things Farmer Jed has to say.
Plus, being an old-time farmer, Jed passes on to me a great deal of his knowledge about farming and life in general.
I explained my bee problem to him. And, without hesitation, Jed gave me:
The “Recipe for Success”
- Place markers close enough to the yellow jacket hole in the daytime to make the hole easier to find at night. Don’t get too close…you might stir them up. Just stick in a few stakes at opposing sides of the nest opening…top, bottom, left, and right…so that the top/bottom and the left/right stakes intersect at the hole.
- Don’t do anything else until after sundown. Wasps are less active at night and less likely to attack in force when threatened.
- Even at night there is still a possibility that wasps may attack when threatened, so, wear several layers of thick clothing, including a double-layer of gloves.
- Cut a three-foot square piece of window screen…I just happened to have a roll of screen on hand…drape it over a wide brimmed hat, and tuck the edges of the screen into your collar…making sure that no skin is exposed.
- Mix one part dish washing soap with four parts water…four gallons should be enough.
- Put two gallons of the concoction into the yellow jacket hole.
- Add the other two gallons of soapy water brew to my garden sprayer and thoroughly spray the hornets and their hives. Try to use only about a gallon because, most likely, not all the hornets will be eliminated on the first try and, a second application the following night may be needed.
- After the soapy water applications obliterate the wasps, fill in the holes with dirt and knock down the hives with a pressure hose. This will help prevent a recurrence of wasp home building in the same areas. Wasps, like people, try to do things the easy way and, the yellow jackets may try to use the same underground cavern once the soapy water dissipates to avoid the extra work of constructing a new home.
Jed is Back
My neighbor, Jed, the retired farmer, was knowingly nodding at me the other day while I was complaining to him about how busy I was right now during my harvesting peak. I told him that I had been busier than a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest!
He thought for a minute…then he took a deep breath…and said, “You know something, little Jimmy?”
He always called me that…maybe because he knew he was the only one who could get away with it.
Jed went on. “A one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest isn’t so busy. Do you want to know what busy really is?”
I should have known that Jed could “one-up” me…so, I asked him, “Well Jed, please tell me what busy really is.”
And, with his typical laid back Southern drawl, he said, “Son…when I was running a 40-acre farm with crops and animals…I was always busier than a mosquito in a nudist camp!”
Now, I have to admit…ole’ Farmer Jed knew the meaning of really “getting busy!”
Here’s Another of Jed’s Stories
One day…when I was asking Jed about garden hose repair, he went off on a tangent and, instead, recounted the time he was getting ready to retire from farming and move to a house in the suburbs.
“Jimmy…did I ever tell you about how I found homes for all my farm animals when I sold off my farm and land?”
I told him no…I hadn’t heard that story.
Jed went on…
“Well, I decided to go to all the other farms in the area and, if I found that the husband was the boss of the family, I gave them one of my horses. And, if the wife was the boss, I gave them one of my chickens.
At one house I stopped at, both the husband and the wife were outside working in the garden and, approaching the man, I asked him who the boss was in his family. The man proudly said that HE was the boss!
So, I told him that I have two horses left to give away…a black horse and a brown horse…and I asked him which one he would like to have?
The husband said that he would like to have the black horse.
Immediately the wife shouts out to him that she did not want the black horse…she wanted the brown one!
So, I gave them a chicken and moved on to the next farm.”
Well, that story certainly got a horse laugh from me! Jed sure knew who the boss really was in that family, huh?
Here Comes Farmer Jed Again!
Not long ago, I was looking for information on raising chickens. When I asked advice from my neighbor Jed, an old retired farmer, he immediately remembered a situation that happened to him one summer concerning his chickens.
Jed lived on a quiet gravel road way out in the country. But, one day the county came through and paved it. It wasn’t long before there were a lot more cars whizzing past his farm.
Ole’ Jed’s chickens were free-range. They went wherever they pleased…and they were used to crossing that road to eat some tasty vegetation on the other side.
Pretty soon some of the chickens were being run over by the speeding traffic…at the rate of several a day.
So, Jed called Sheriff Andy’s office, explaining how the cars were coming down his road too fast to avoid hitting his chickens…and, he asked the sheriff to do something about it!
Well, Andy called the county and they put up a big sign that read, “SLOW: SCHOOL CROSSING.”
Several days later, Jed called Sheriff Andy and told him that the school crossing sign had no effect…that the drivers were still zooming down his road and still running over his chickens! “Matter of fact,” Jed said, “The cars are actually coming by faster than before!”
So, Andy sent out the county workers to put up a new sign that stated, “SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY.”
And, believe it or not, the cars sped by even faster than they did with the “SLOW: SCHOOL CROSSING” sign!
Jed could see that the sheriff’s solutions were not helping so, after bugging him about it for a couple of weeks, he finally asked Andy if he could put up his own sign. Andy said, “If it solves your problem, then be my guest!”
Jed said he figured that Andy was getting tired of being bothered by him. That is probably why he relented so easily.
And, lo and behold…Jed did not call Andy back after putting up his own sign. After a few weeks, Andy was curious as to what happened so he called Jed and asked him how his problem was with those drivers. “Did you put up your sign?” Andy asked.
Jed told him, “Yessir, sheriff! And, not one chicken has been killed since I put up that sign! Gotta go, now…I’m pretty busy. Talk to you later.”
Well, Sheriff Andy was even more curious so, he decided to drive out to Jed’s farm and see Jed’s sign. If his sign really was working, it could be something the county could use in other areas to slow down drivers.
When Andy got to Jed’s farm, he saw a big 4 foot by 8 foot plywood sign painted white…and in huge black letters were the words,
SLOW: NUDIST COLONY
Jed Comes Up With Another One
My neighbor, Jed, a retired farmer, once told me about a time when he was awoken in the middle of the night by a knock on the door.
When he opened the door to see who it was, there stood a Hindu priest, a Jewish rabbi, and a lawyer. The lawyer tacitly explained that they were on their way to a conference at the state capitol and their car broke down.
Jed, realizing that they wouldn’t be able to get a mechanic to fix it until the next day, offered to let the three of them spend the night. “But,” Jed said, “I only have one spare room and it only has two twin beds. So, one of you will have to sleep in the barn.”
The three talked it over and the Hindu priest volunteered to spend the night in the barn.
A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door. It was the Hindu priest and he said, “There is a cow in the barn and, since cows are sacred in my religion, I could not possibly sleep under the same roof with one of them.”
So, the Jewish rabbi decided that he would go to the barn for the night.
A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door. It was the rabbi exclaiming, “There is a pig in the barn and, as an orthodox Jewish rabbi, there is no way I can sleep so close to pork.
So, finally, the lawyer said, “All right! I’ll sleep in the barn!”
A few moments later, there was a knock at the door…
It was the cow and the pig!
Here’s a quote from my neighbor, Jed…the retired farmer:
“Women are like fine wines. They start out fresh, fruity, and intoxicating. Then, they get full bodied with age. Finally, they go sour and vinegary…and give me a headache!”
You could get all scientific and “exactly” measure moisture content by weighing a moist portion taken directly from the compost pile, drying it out and weighing it again…then divide the difference by the dry weight.
Example – The moist portion weighs 5 pounds. The dry portion weighs 3 pounds. The difference is 2 pounds. Dividing the difference by the dry portion (2 lbs / 3 lbs) equals a moisture content of 67%.
My neighbor, Jed, a retired farmer, taught me a much simpler way…
He said, “Jimmy…grab a handful of that there compost and squeeze it. If it falls through your fingers, it is too dry so, add some water or green stuff. If it clumps up…and your hand is a little wet…then you got the right amount of moisture in that pile. But, if the clump drips water when you squeeze it, you’re gonna have to either fork it a bit or add some dry, brown stuff…or both…to get it right.”
My takeaway from Jed’s advice is…if the compost has about the same moisture content as a wrung-out sponge, it is right-on-the-money.
Now, doesn’t that sound like a trouble-free way to check for moisture?
And, Then…There Is Jed…
My neighbor Jed stopped by to see my garden the other day. Jed was a retired farmer and he always seemed to have a new and fresh story about his many years on the farm.
On his farm, he had cows, horses, mules, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, and bulls, along with fields of corn and wheat.
On this occasion, he recounted the time a tornado came through and demolished his farmstead.
He said that he was able to get his family into the storm cellar just before the tornado struck. The twister seemed to last forever. But, when it was over, he peeked out and saw that both the farm house and the barn were completely destroyed.
Jed then checked on his farm animals and saw that the cows, horses, mules, chickens, sheep, goats, and pigs were all lying flat out on the ground…not moving. Sadly, he realized that they had not survived the terrible storm.
Then, Jed looked on the other side of the barn and saw that all of his bulls were still standing which completely amazed him!
He walked over to them and asked how they were able to remain standing when all the other animals had fallen to the ground?”
The bulls replied, “We bulls wobble…but, we don’t fall down!”
Jed’s Lost Prize Bull
It seems that one day, when the train passed through his farm land, Jed’s prize bull went missing. So, he sued the railroad for fair compensation…feeling that they were responsible.
When the court date arrived, the big city attorney sent by the railroad, took Jed to the side…trying to get him to settle out of court.
Using all his best lawyer talk, he finally convinced Jed to take only half of the money he was asking for.
Jed signed a release and the young lawyer gave him a check.
When their business was finished, the lawyer just had to gloat saying, “You know, old man, I know I couldn’t have won this case. The engineer was sleeping and the conductor was otherwise occupied when the train passed through your farm that morning. I bluffed you real good!”
To that, Jed replied, “Well…I just have to tell you, young feller…I was actually some worried about winning this case myself! You see…that blasted bull came home this morning!”
Jed Stopped By The Other Day
My neighbor, Jed, the retired farmer, stopped over while I was measuring my yard and garden stuff in the driveway – trying to gauge the size of the storage building I needed.
We exchanged pleasantries. Then Jed, seeing that I was thinking about putting up a storage shed, said that it jogged his memory about a discussion he once had with his wife.
“This reminds me of the time my wife, Millie, and I were eating breakfast and I asked her for a favor. She said that she was always ready to do me a favor no matter what it was.
So I said, Millie, when I pass away, will you sell all my stuff that I have stored in the garden shed?
Millie asked me why I would want her to do that?
Well, I told her that I didn’t want just any old jerk using my stuff!
Then Millie said, ‘Don’t worry honey. I won’t marry a jerk again!’
Now, what do you think she meant by that?”
I didn’t have the heart to tell Jed exactly what I felt that Millie was driving at – so I pleaded ignorance!
On A Lighter Note…
My neighbor, Jed, was watching me plant some potatoes the other day and he told me just about the corniest story I’ve ever heard.
He related a yarn about Mr. and Mrs. Potato…
Shortly after Mr. and Mrs. Potato got married, they had a little sweet potato called, Yam.
When she was old enough, they sat her down to educate her on the facts of life. They warned her against going out half-baked, hanging around with a bunch of tater tots, and possibly getting smashed. Because, they didn’t want her being labeled a hot potato.
Yam assured her parents that there was no need to worry. She said, “No spud would get me into the sack and make a rotten potato out of me!”
Furthermore, she espoused, “But, then again, I don’t want to stay home and become a couch potato either. And, I will get plenty of exercise so I don’t get as skinny as my shoestring cousins.”
It wasn’t long before Yam grew up and wanted to see the world. Before she headed to France, Mr. and Mrs. Potato warned her to watch out for France’s greasy gang called, the French Fries.
After her European trip, Yam told her parents that she was going to head out into the wild, wild west and they told her to watch out for hostile Indians. They didn’t want her to get scalloped!
Yam said that she would be careful and she also wouldn’t be swayed by those high class Yukon Golds or associate with any sweet potatoes having loose morals – from the wrong side of the tracks – who advertise themselves on trucks that say, Frito Lay.
When it was time for college, Mr. and Mrs. Potato sent Yam to I.P.U. (Idaho Potato University) and when she graduated, they were certain that she would be in the chips. Yam wanted to go to college but, she wasn’t sure if she should go right away – or wait for a while longer. She had become quite a hezzi-tater.
But, once she got to college she really liked it. Her roommate was very spiritual and taught Yam how to be a medi-tater.
She majored in mathematics and very soon was an accomplished compu-tater.
Yam went to all of IPU’s football games and loved being a spec-tater.
She even joined a radical social justice warrior group – becoming an agi-tater.
One day Yam came home and announced that she was going to marry Tom Brokaw.
“You’re not serious are you? Tom Brokaw? Of all people!” said Mr. Potato. “After everything we have done for you and you go out and marry someone who is just a common-tater?”
And Then Came Jed
Many of you have heard about my neighbor, Jed, the retired farmer. Jed is always offering up advice, stories, and anecdotes about his many decades of farming expertise.
The other day, he was admiring my germination station and was relating a story to me about a day when his neighbor’s son overturned his tractor while getting ready for spring planting.
Jed goes on…
“I heard a noise while eating breakfast one mornin’ and, I looked out the window and saw that Jasper had overturned his father’s tractor while plowing their fields. I yelled out asking if he was hurt and he said, ‘No.’
So, I told him not to worry about it and to come on over and have some breakfast with me. Then, after breakfast, I would help him get the tractor turned right side up.
Well, Jasper said he appreciated the offer but, he didn’t think his Pa would want him to take time out for breakfast. I told him not to worry about it and he said, ‘Okay…but, Pa won’t like it.’
After a nice big breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, grits, and lots of coffee, Jasper thanked me for the meal and said he felt a whole lot better but, he said, ‘I know Pa is going to be really upset.’
I laughed and told him not to be so silly and I asked him where his Pa was?
Jasper said, ‘Under the tractor.’
I sure did stick my foot in my mouth that time, didn’t I?”
Jed never was a fan of my container gardening. He divulged, “Container gardening for me is trouble-free. I plant myself firmly in my favorite container – that would be my comfy reclining chair – and consume frequent doses of liquid refreshment!”
While looking over my straw bale garden the other day, my neighbor, Jed, the retired farmer, asked me if I knew what a scarecrow’s favorite fruit was?
His question left me speechless – since I had never thought about a scarecrow’s desire for food – and then he told me the answer:
Straw – berries!
I went from speechless to dumbfounded!
Stay tuned for more to come. Comment below or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know your favorite Jed story!
Jim, the Lifelong Gardener