ELMER HAS PERSUADED MRS. THOMAS TO GIVE US AN ARTICLE ON AFRICAN VIOLETS. SHE HAS BONE SO AND WE PROUDLY PRESENT IT. HER TITLE IS RATHER INTRIGUING AUNT LENE
MRS HAROLD THOMAS, R. D. 3, Box 87, Dwight, Illinois
LIKING AFRICAN violets, showing them, meeting people, and giving advice and ideas, and getting to do just that at the Threshers Reunion at Poniac, Illinois, the last few years, is the reason I call it 'My Vacation'. A friend had asked where we were going on our vacation and when told, he asked, 'Do you call that a vacation?' I do and maybe you'd like to know some of the things I tell them.
What a thrill it is when they come back the next year and tell how their violets grew and bloomed, after I answered their questions Some even brought plants and recipes for fertilizer etc., and everyone was happy.
The reason nine out of ten have bad luck is that they keep them too wet. Yes, they need to be wet but like yourself, they don't want wet feet all the time and they need air as well as water at the roots. Having several hundred, it is much easier to water them from the bottom with a hose, from the hot water tap, although they do need to be watered from the top once in a while to wash minerals down to the roots. Let them soak up good and then don't water them unt'l the soil on top feels dry and once in a while the leaves feel a little withered. Fertilize once a month.
They are grown in basement under fluorescent lights. and are on a timer being on 14 hours and off 10 hours a day. They are set in large pans sixteen inches below lights in a frame made by my husband and son from an old wind-mill tower. The pans have a drain at one end and a device to raise one end so they will drain well.
My, how they grow and bloom, and what a thrill to find new ones, single, double, frilled and spotted, in bloom each day, to bring upstairs where my friends and I can enjoy them.
I start them in small clay pots and leave them there as long as they bloom, as they need to be root-bound to bloom well. I put aluminum foil around pot when ringing them out of the basement so they won't dry out too fast.
This year a man came to me and asked, 'What do you do to make them bloom, bet you won't tell me?'
My first question to him was, 'What size pot do you have them in?' and that happened to be the right question for it was the cause of his problem.
These things I've learned from experience and I like to pass them on. There are no strangers among violet lovers.
To Earlene the School Marm, Co-editor of the IROM-MEN ALBUM, Pastor's wife, housewife, and mother of a lovely daughter. If anyone says you have not enough to do and need a Hobby, I'd say try it yourself. I hope I may call you my Dear Friend. I am the woman you took to the Fairgrounds at Montpelier from the downtown area. I was so glad to become acquainted with you.
My husband has been keeping the IRON-MEN Magazine at the office so I did not know about your going ahead with my suggestion of having a Woman's Page in the magazine. I had thought of it as a good ideait makes me think of the page the women had in the 'Old Threshermen magazine. I always enjoyed it and was delighted whenever they would print something I had submitted.
You suggest writing about hobbies as a leader for a subject. I have had so many and find that it is hobbies that help to make life interesting not only the work under production at the time but also it is a way of meeting new friends that are interested in the same things that you are.
At present, and for the last five years I have been doing oil painting My nephews wife gave me my first lesson. I had always liked to paint walls and furniture so that the handling of paint was always fascinating to me. After trying to work alone for a while I enrolled in an art school and still attend classes locally whenever we have them where I can attend. This is just to be near people and friends who think as I do. It is fun creating pictures. Sometimes I paint landscapes, sometimes still life, and then sometimes dreams. They are all fun to do.
This hobby has also opened up the privilege of meeting many great artists. One day while in Philadelphia I was looking at some paintings that were on exhibit at the time, and an old gentleman was doing likewise. He later introduced himself as Bert Philips. We discussed the pictures and he at the time, unknowingly, gave me a lesson in composition. Last summer while in Taos, New Mexico, I visited him at his studio and saw some of his beautiful paintings of the Indians. This was only one incident. I could tell you of many other artists I have met.
Of course, I do like my garden, especially I like to raise vegetables and flowers. But since I am not physically able to do too much digging around especially during hot weather, it was a good thing to learn to paint so I can still produce them even if it is on canvas. I have submitted to the art shows and it is always exciting to know that your picture was accepted by the jury and even greater if you can win ah award and I am still hoping to win a prize. I am anxious to hear about the women that run a Hobby Shop. Have dreamed some about that and it will be interesting to know how others have succeeded.
My regards to your husband and daughter
MRS. FRED (Margaret) HEIDE, 1307 Grant Street, Niles, Michigan