When Mab dug up her hill of potatoes, after she had picked up all there were in it, her father saw her carefully looking among the clods of brown soil.
“What have you lost, Mab?” he asked.
“I was looking for the eye pieces you planted when you made your potato garden,” she answered.
“Oh, they have turned into these many potatoes,” laughed Mr. Blake. “That is the magical trick Mother Nature does for us. We plant a piece of potato, with ‘eyes’ in it, or we plant a seed, and up springs a plant on the roots of which are more potatoes, or, if it is a bean, it turns into a vine with many more beans on it. And the seed—that is the eye potato or the bean—disappears completely, just as a magician on the stage pretends to make your handkerchief disappear and change into a lemon. Mother Nature is very wonderful.”
Hal and Mab thought so too.
The Summer was passing away. The days that had been long and full of sunshine until late in the evening were getting shorter. No longer was it light at five o’clock in the morning, and the golden ball did not stay up until after seven at night.
“The days are getting shorter and the nights longer,” said Daddy Blake. “That means Winter is not far off, though we still have Autumn or Fall before us. And that will bring us the harvest days. We will soon begin to harvest, or bring in our crops.”
“And then will we know who gets the prize?” asked Hal.
“Yes,” his father answered. “I’ll have to award the ten dollar gold prize then, but it will be some little time yet. Things are not all done growing, though they have done their best. From now on we will not have to worry so much about weeds, bugs and worms.”
“Do they die, too, like the potato vines?” asked Mab.
“Yes, though many weeds will not be killed until a hard frost nips them. But the garden plants have gotten their full growth, and are not babies any more, so the weeds can not do them so much harm. Most of the bugs and worms, too, have died or been eaten by the birds. The birds are the gardener’s best friend, for they eat many worms and bugs that could not be killed in any other way. So the more insect-eating birds you have around your garden the better. Even though the robins may take a few cherries they don’t get paid half enough that way for the good work they do.”
“How am I going to harvest my beans?” asked Mab. “There aren’t many more green ones left to boil, for Mother canned a lot of them.”
“What are left of your beans we will save dried, to make into baked beans this Winter,” said her father.
“And what about my corn?” Hal wanted to know.
“Well, your mother canned some of that,” answered his father, “that is the sweet kind. The yellow ears I will show you how to save for the chickens this winter, and there is another kind—well, I’ll tell you about that a little later,” and he smiled at the children.