A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


Spring, the real spring with warm weather and budding tree leaves, is just a few moons away.  On the farm we would start to listen for the peepers as soon as the weather warmed.  We had a few frogs in the pond by the mailbox, but the loudest peepers were in the pond just over the stone wall in McNutt’s pasture.  It was like an amphibian symphony when they would all sing at the same time.

When we first put the cows out to pasture in the spring, their milk would taste different for the first few weeks.  I said that the milk had a green tinge to it because of all the new grass the cows were eating, but most of the people on the farm thought I was crazy.  I swear, though, that the milk had a funny taste when we fed them turnips too.

After a long, hard winter, the farm seemed to come alive in the spring.  The farmers studied the fields so they would know when it was warm enough to plant. Then we would get the 1955 Farmall out and attach the plow.  The soil was a rich color when it was first turned over.  Next we had to use the attachment (cultivator, I think) that tore the sods apart and that was not a once over the land kind of job.

The fertilizer spreader and the hoe to make the rows came next and finally the planting.  (Sometimes the fertilizer was the chemical kind and sometimes it was just plain old manure.) That was a tricky time because we usually had a frost in May and another in June.  The seed could be in the ground and be safe but if they had started to grow through the ground, they might freeze.  This frost was a problem for the strawberry blossoms too.  If we had a frost after the blossoms came, the berries would have frostbite.  That frostbite would manifest itself by having hard, dark ends on the otherwise good strawberry.

Now I expect that real farmers would have another schedule of chores for farming, but I was looking at the activities through the eyes of someone who wanted to get home to read a book and this is how I remember it.  After the book business, the next business was, “What’s for supper?”

Supper for this night was Baked Spareribs with Barbecue Sauce.

Baked Spareribs with Barbecue Sauce


Two pounds pork spareribs lean

One garlic clove minced

Three tablespoons vinegar

One eight-ounce can tomato sauce

One-half cup shopped onion

One and one-half teaspoons chili powder

One teaspoon salt

One-fourth teaspoon pepper

One-half teaspoon oregano

One-half cup water


1. Trim excess fat from ribs.  Cut into 6 serving portions.  Place in baking pan.

2. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over ribs.  Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. Bake covered for one and one-half hours.

5. Remove cover; baste; bake one-half hour.

6. Spoon off excess fat before serving.

This recipe is from the Cookbook for Diabetics.  The exchanges are meat, high fat 2, vegetable 1 and fat one-half.