As I walked along Wildcat Boulevard one morning I was thinking how my back yard sometimes gets ragged. I know the yard would look better if I mowed it, but I hate to cut off those wild flowers which are blooming.

As I walked along Wildcat Boulevard one morning I was thinking how my back yard sometimes gets ragged. I know the yard would look better if I mowed it, but I hate to cut off those wild flowers which are blooming.
We have tiny white flowers, tiny four-petal blue flowers, white clover, some smaller yellow flowers, and many, many violets which bloom each spring. Some springs we have white star-like flowers, but I have not noticed them yet.
The violets are small and from four different varieties. We have white violets, purple violets, white ones with little purple blotches on the edge of the flowers, and some white ones with a tapering of purple. They are all small and beautiful.
Of course, we do have a few wild strawberries, henbit, and dandelions. These are not as attractive as some of the others, but they are still cool.
I recently read that it is estimated that American farmers will plant more acres into soybeans than corn this year. Usually corn is the biggest crop for the Midwest. Soybeans were not the choice of farmers where and when I grew up in Southwest Minnesota. My dad planted soybeans for the first time in 1947. He only planted a few acres and didn’t plant soybeans again for several years.
Soybeans were an unusual money crop then. Most farmers there had fields of corn and oats. Oats was used for animal feed and the straw used for bedding. Corn was also animal feed and if there was a surplus it was sold as a “cash crop.”
The main cash crop was flax. Flax seeds were sold to the elevator, and the seeds were  shipped off and crushed to make linseed oil. The flax straw was baled and sold in town where it was loaded directly into box cars to be shipped to the linen plant.
If there was lots of flax straw, the excess bales were placed in huge stacks and shipped out later in the year. These stacks were enormous. I knew a man who worked on stacking them each fall. He said that the company had a blue print on how the bales were to be stacked so they could be 20 or so bales high.
In those days of small family farms there were a variety of other crops raised, too. Some farmers grew wheat, some grew barley, and others had a small field(less than an acre) of cucumbers.
A neighbor grew cucumbers one year, only. He had a good crop, but the cucumbers matured during a rainy season and his family had to pick them daily and it was muddy. He said they made good money, but fighting the mud made for difficult times. The cucumbers were sold to a pickling plant not too far from where we lived. The pickling plant was unusual looking as it was mostly made of huge, ten foot or more wooden tanks in rows.
Take a walk, enjoy the wildflowers of spring, use your signal lights, always watch for pedestrians, remember that the crops grown by farmers can affect your billfold, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.  
   
 
 
  Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.