A farmer is experimenting with new fertilizers
A story dedicated to my
just because I love her
THE BIG BUDAIDA
A fairy tale by Harlan snail
Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, there lived a very nice couple in a small cottage in the heart of the agricultural district of this region. The man’s name was, and probably still is, Bobbit Nimrill. Mr. Nimrill was, and most likely still is, a farmer. His wife, Ethyl Nimrill, a nice person she is, was the chief cook and bottle washer of the two-person family. She made the bread, the pancakes, the pickles, canned and stored tomatoes, green beans, all sorts of root vegetables and fruits of all kinds. Some of these food items were stored in the root cellar behind the little cottage and other food items were stored in the cottage basement. Mrs. Nimrill made loaves of bread and stored them in the coldest part of the root cellar. All in all, they had a lot of food preserved for the future.
The Nimrills also shared a lot of their food. Some people in the small community were less fortunate than the Nimrills and could not afford to buy much of the food they used. The Nimrills, along with several other families, pooled many food items into a sort of food bank for those who were needy. The recipients were grateful to the community for the food and the men of these needy families always made themselves available to do some kind of labor in exchange for the food and other supplies they needed and received. No one in the community went without food or other necessities.
Mr. Nimrill would plant a crop of vegetables in his garden and when the crop was ready to harvest, he would take the crops out of the ground, wash them at the back porch and Mrs. Nimrill would bring them into the kitchen and prepare them for canning. This was the system by which the couple worked and everything was going well. The husband and wife enjoyed their work and then in the evening, as they sat by the fire reading and studying the Holy Scriptures, they enjoyed each other’s company. The Nimrills had been married for many years. They had very nice neighbors in the area. When there was a special need that one of the farmers had, all the farmers came to the aid of the one in need.
Mr. Nimrill was a spry gentleman. He was very active at home and in the small community. His hair was a dark brown with just a little bit of gray at the temples. He had a very kind face and compassionate eyes. If you looked right at his eyes when you talked with him, you could feel his understanding and desire to help. As it happened, Mr. Nimrill had a very exclusive and wonderful talent. He was an inventor. He could make special tools for specific jobs and create things to make his wife’s work easier and more fun for her. He would make things for the neighbors and especially for himself. He truly enjoyed using the gift God had given him for the benefit of as many people as possible.
Mrs. Nimrill was not stocky and not slim. After all these years, she still had an attractive figure. Her face was beautiful to look at. She had very soft features that seemed to be rounded with a nose that had a slight turn up at the tip. Her lips were not fine-lined nor were they full. Mr. Nimrill loved her lips and he loved watching her face as she talked with him or with the neighbors. He would pay very close attention to her facial expressions when she spoke with anyone or just with him. They were a pair made for each other.
Now for some time, Mr. Nimrill had been working on a fertilizer that would help the plants grow faster and bigger. He had been working on this particular fertilizer for a few years. He experimented on just a few plants he planted in a separate area, away from his garden, so he could see how the plants would fare. He planted carrot seeds, celery seeds, beet seeds and potato eyes. He planted them far apart, enough so they could grow independently. He would apply some of the experimental fertilizer to each of the new plants and wait. It usually took about fifteen days to see any change in the way the young plants were growing for him to know if the experimental fertilizer was working. This he did after taking care of his larger garden plot, pulling weeds and watering. The experimental patch of ground was a completely different task for him. All the neighbors knew he was working with a new kind of fertilizer and if it worked as Mr. Nimrill expected, he would share his discovery with all the farmers in the area. Mr. Nimrill was that kind of man.
In all of his life, Mr. Nimrill put his wife first. She was the most important person to him. She came before anything or anyone else. And that included his pursuit of the magic fertilizer he was trying to create. He loved his wife of many years and she was his help-mate. Even though they had been married a long time, the Nimrills were not very old. They were just in their sixties. They had married in their late teens. They were in love then and very much in love now. Mr. Nimrill did everything he could to make her life as enjoyable as possible. And as important as his experiments were with the fertilizer, Mr. Nimrill never let his wife do without something or anything she needed. Her needs were his first priority.
During the evenings as they sat by the fire in the cooler fall months, she would ask him about his day and the work he was doing. When he responded, he left nothing out but gave her a report complete and significant. He told her about the garden area and how the plants were doing, that they were free of weeds, cultivated and doing well. He told her about his experiment with the new fertilizer he was compounding and if there were any results he could report. Then he asked her about her day in the house. Likewise, she did as he and gave him a complete report on what she had done. They shared ideas and prided each other on the work they each accomplished. They supported each other and each made the other proud to be a part of the team.
Mr. Nimrill did not work on his magic fertilizer experiment every day. After he had planted the experimental vegetables in the small patch of ground, he would watch them fastidiously. Keeping the weeds out, measuring the growth from the plant tops and assuring himself that the experiment was going according to plan. Now and then Mrs. Nimrill would come out to see his experimental garden and he would show her the results. She loved the garden he planted and how the vegetables were growing. She said it was a miracle the way God made everything happen on His Earth. God had given man the wisdom to make and improve all the things on the Earth. He gave Mr. Nimrill the intelligence to know how to make the fertilizers with which he was working. Mr. Nimrill loved God very much.
One of the interesting characteristics of the people in this small community of farmers was the way they talked. Somehow the accent with which the people spoke had been passed down from generation to generation. The people had a funny way of pronouncing the names of the trees and shrubs and all the vegetables. I say it was funny, because we had never heard of the way they called many things. And the funniest was the way they called the potatoes. They didn’t say potato, they said, “budaida,” with the emphasis on the ‘ai.’ They would call the red things that grew on vines, “shumaidas” instead of tomatoes. Squash was “squawrsh.” Peas and carrots were the same as everybody else on the planet. And there was punkins instead of pmpkins and yapples, pez for pears and a host of other fruits and vegetables that had strange names.
The small patch of ground Mr. Nimrill dedicated to his experimental fertilizer was a stone’s throw from the house and the larger garden. It was far enough away so nothing could contaminate the experimental garden. He wanted to make sure the fertilizer he was creating was the real thing and that nothing else would influence the growth of the plants. Just the sun, ground, water and fertilizer. He could compare with his other garden to determine what influence the magic fertilizer had on his special plants… that is, if the magic fertilizer had any influence, at all. Mr. Nimrill had faith that the mixture he was concocting would have a positive effect on his garden plants. As yet, he just didn’t know how much effect or what kind of effect it would have.
With any of the usual chemicals that any kind of fertilizer had, the usual time frame of the development of vegetables was six weeks. But if there was anything out of the ordinary happening in the ground, he could see the change within ten days. So far, there was nothing unordinary about the growth of the veggies he planted in the experimental patch. But he kept working on the mixture and trying different applications to be certain that the desired effect would finally happen. Mr. Nimrill was a patient man and he worked tirelessly at his project, knowing that one day he would finally see the results he could imagine. And guess what. That day finally came.
Mr. Nimrill had mixed a new batch of fertilizer late one morning. He harvested the few vegetables from the experimental patch and tilled the soil. After tilling, he mixed some of the new batch of fertilizer in the soil, raked it smooth then made four holes with his hand trowel. In three of the holes he planted one vegetable seed. In the fourth hole he planted one potato eye. He covered the holes and once again raked the small patch smooth. He sprinkled a misty spray on the patch, dampening the soil and then went his way. It was mid- afternoon when he finished. It was time to call it a day. After he went into the house, he washed up from his labors and sat down to relax. Mrs. Nimrill was in the kitchen finishing the preparations for dinner. She brought him a cold drink and they talked a few moments about his work outside. He never asked about dinner because she had never disappointed him in all the years they were married. She was an excellent cook and he loved what she served him.
She asked him about his latest batch of the magic fertilizer. He told her about removing all the other plants, tilling the soil, again, and replenishing the new fertilizer in the ground before planting the new vegetables. He explained to her about the new batch of fertilizer, how he had altered some of the ingredients. The three main ingredients for any ordinary fertilizer are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. It is possible to add more things, depending on the specific need of the plants. The soil requirements will also determine the amount of the three main ingredients. But Mr. Nimrill had created something new and added it to the usual fertilizer, creating something he frequently called a “magic mix.” So far, the mix had no extraordinary results. He was patient and kept changing the mix and trying it in the experimental patch.
After dinner, Bobbit and his wife Ethyl retired to the front room and read the Scriptures for about an hour, prayed and then made themselves ready for bed. For some unknown reason, Mr. Nimrill had a high expectation of the morrow, that something very different was about to happen. He had no idea what it was but when he went to bed, he was smiling about something. His wife asked him why the smile. He told her that tomorrow was going to be a different kind of day. He just couldn’t tell how it was going to be different, he just had an idea that it would be. As they snugged under the covers, Mr. Nimrill turned off the lamp. In the darkness of the bedroom, they spoke a few moments and then drifted off to sleep.
Ethyl Nimrill was usually out of bed first to make the coffee and prepare breakfast for her husband and herself. They had scrambled eggs with chopped onions and ham with pan-fried potatoes. Mrs. Nimrill would change the breakfast each day and present her husband some variety. One day would be pancakes with pork sausage, another day would be French toast. He loved the variety and she knew how to please him. But on this particular morning, Bobbit Nimrill went outside to inspect the experimental patch before breakfast. Ethyl Nimrill could not imagine what the noise was that she heard. It sounded like her husband was calling her for help or just yelling her name. She dashed outside to see what was the matter. She looked at him and shrugged her shoulders, spreading her hands out to the side, silently asking what was wrong. He pointed to the small experimental patch of ground.
It looked like a small brown hill with a single tree on it coming up out of the ground. She couldn’t believe her eyes. The potatoes growing underground have a small green plant above ground that grows to about fifteen inches high and about ten inches in diameter. The green plant indicates that there is a potato underground. But in this case, the potato was coming out of the ground and pushing everything out of its way. The exposed part of the potato was big. It had to be six feet across and sticking up already between two to three feet. It didn’t take Mr. Nimrill very long before several of the neighbors were standing beside him gawking at the enormous shade plant poking out of the ground. They were clapping Mr. Nimrill on the back and the shoulder, congratulating him on creating the perfect magic fertilizer. But you can bet that most of them were wondering how this new plant food would affect their crops and should they use it. Well! This certainly did present a dilemma in the neighborhood.
Mr. Nimrill and his admirers left the experimental garden patch and went back to work, doing what they had started out to do this fine fall morning. Mrs. Nimrill got the camera and was taking picture of the massive potato poking out of the ground. By noon, however, the potato had grown even more and was now out of the ground by at least twelve feet. The green plant on top of the fruit looked like an ancient oak tree, it was so large. Before some of the neighbors left, however, they had already titled the wondrous plant, “The Big Budaida.” Someone had contacted the local news paper and a reporter had come to the Nimrill front door, asking if he could take pictures of the Big Budaida. Yes, he was invited to come in and go out back to photograph the absurdly large shade plant. Truth be known, if you stopped and just watched, you could actually see it growing and pushing its way out of the ground. By that afternoon, the potato had grown out at least twenty feet high and some twelve feet across. Mr. Nimrill could only make haphazard guesses as to the exact size of the plant. Now he wondered just how much more it would grow.
The local story of the Big Budaida didn’t stay in the community. It had been broadcast to the entire state on television and in the newspapers. People were coming from many miles away to see the large plant which had now grown to about thirty feet long and some eighteen feet across. No one could guess the thickness of the plant though it appeared to be some ten to fifteen feet thick. Because it was so huge and heavy, it had fallen over and was lying on its side. With the help of some of his neighbors, Mr. Nimrill had severed any underground connections to the plant so it was now free from the soil. There it was, about thirty feet long, some eighteen feet wide and maybe ten to twelve feet thick. Some potato!!
Mr. Nimrill gathered all the farmers in the community together to figure out how to divide the large potato. Someone suggested a great big wood saw. Somebody else suggested using a couple different power saws, working at the same time to cut the large thing in pieces. They talked about it for quite some time. There was no way they could put the large potato in the root cellar. Besides, it was much to heavy to move. Finally, they agreed on a plan to buy wedges. Most all the farmers had a long-handled sledge hammer, so they could drive the wedges down into the potato meat and divide the large piece of fruit, a little at a time. The whole lot of farmers calculated that they could most likely feed the entire county from just that one potato.
If they could drive the wedges in and split the big thing, they could make smaller pieces from the large pieces that came off. So they all set to work. Instead of buying the regular size wedges, they went to the machine shop in town and asked the owner to make them some wedges, longer and wider than the store-bought kind. When they had about six of the new wedges, one person prepared to climb up on the potato and begin pounding the wedges into the large piece. In order to do that, he had to drive a metal stake into the potato then tie a rope around his waist and secure the other end to the stake. That way he would not fall off the big thing. The work went along well and the men traded off driving the wedges. By the end of the first day the men had succeeded in cutting off one end of the potato.
In the meantime, there was a van from the local television station with a reporter and a cameraman at the Nimrill’s front door. They came through the house and began filming the large potato from all angles. They even stayed to watch the process of pounding the wedges into the potato to chip off smaller pieces. All the women got together and made French fries, hash browns, fried potato skins and all the other ways to serve potatoes. The television crew ate heartily with all the farmers and their wives and children. Everybody was having a good time with the big potato.
And that’s the way life should be; neighbors helping neighbors and enjoying each other’s company. Don’t you think the world would be a much better place to live if big potatoes happened all around the world, in every neighborhood and the whole countryside, everywhere? God bless Mr. Nimrill and his magic fertilizer for making the