Mertrock in Iowa


When I read your article about Bert Mangel it brought to mind that I had gotten some used power hack saw blades at work that were being thrown away.  I asked the management if I could have them and they gave me a pass to get them out and we brought them to Kermit when we came for a visit.  He was soooo good with making things like that and fixing things I was glad to get them for him.... Keep up the wonderful work. (This was from a message from Uncle Mert to Nita)

07-25-05 (It's a funny joke:)

A burglar enters a darkened house and stops until his eyes adjust to the surroundings.  A voice said, "Jesus is watching you".  Finally he spots the parrot that had spoken and asks what its name was. The parrot replied that his name was Clarence.  The burglar said who would name a parrot Clarence.  He replies: the same one who named that rottweiler Jesus.



I planted four tomato plants in big pots and we are getting all we can use.  That is the only garden we have apart from the flowers in pots and in the ground.


When we had the greenhouse business I mixed my own growing medium. One part sharp sand, one part top soil, one part Jiffy Mix and one part perlite.  I sterilized the soil and sand by heating them to about 180 degrees for a half hour and then let it cool before mixing with the other two materials.  I used an old propane stove oven and kept it going all day long every day so that there was always enough mixture to keep our ladies busy transplanting.  The seeds were sown in straight jiffy mix and some seeds were covered that need darkness to germinate and some were left uncovered that need light to germinate.  The commercial seed catalogs usually printed which needed light and darkness.

  (I am going to put this in the Outdoor Gardening section, too.)


  We bought an acreage in 1958 and the next year built a small greenhouse.  Then each year we make it bigger and finally bought an aluminum frame greenhouse and erected it ourselves, put in four foot ventilation fans,  hanging gas heaters and got in to business big (for us).  After twenty four years we sold out to a big operator.  It was really a very interesting and profitable enterprise.  We had the Quonset that was 28 by 100 feet and also we had a 20 by 100 foot house that we covered with one year plastic every fall.  The Quonset we covered with two year plastic. 

  I worked for the John Deere Manufacturing  Plant in the Des Moines area for 27 years as a machinist and tool maker. We had a small patch of strawberries for our own use. We raised bedding plants both flower and vegetable, trees, shrubbery and some chemicals.  Also raised geraniums and other potted  plants.  We had the Earl May Seed companies seed rack and sold onion  sets and some bulk seeds that we packaged ourselves.  We did that until  we sold the acreage and greenhouse in June of 1983.  

(I also asked about getting watermelons to taste sweet:)

  I am not sure about any variety of watermelon that could be said it was the sweetest. I used to raise watermelon and cantaloupe plants in the green house. The variety of watermelon was Charleston Gray and the cantaloupe was Burpee's hybrid. Both turned out good for us. I filled peat pots with soil and pushed a couple or three seeds in each pot. When they germinated the roots would grow through the pots and we planted pot and all in the ground after the weather warmed up. We sold a lot of them and people had real good success with them. A friend of ours had one cantaloupe that was at least eight inches across. I also was produce manager in a big supermarket and we bought black diamond melons that came out of Oklahoma and Texas and they seem real good tasting also.


Along Poetic Lines


There was an old lady from Galt

Who ate everything but salt

So to flavour her food

To make it taste good

She added a big pinch of malt.


  A big family lived in Sheldahl

A town with nary a mall

So to get good things to eat

Like vegetables and meat

They went to town every fall.


  We buy our paper by reams

From the printer it comes out in streams

With the news of the day

From near and away

If it is good we think it's our dreams.



I would rather have one little rose

From a garden of a friend

Than to have the choicest flowers

When my stay on earth must end.

I would rather have a pleasant word

In kindness said to me

Than flattery when my heart is still

And life has ceased to be.

I would rather have a living smile

From friends I know are true

Than tears shed 'round my casket

When to this world I bid adieu.

Bring me all your flowers today,

Whether pink, or white, or red;

I'd rather have one blossom now

Than a truckload when I'm dead.

Author unknown.


Perhaps you sent a lovely card
Or sat quietly in a chair.
Perhaps you sent a floral piece,
If so we saw it there.
Perhaps you spoke the kindest words,
As any friend would say;
Perhaps you were not there at all,
Just though of us that day.
Whatsoever you did to console our hearts,
We thank you so much for whatever the part.


I never made a fortune, and it's probably too late now,
But I don't worry about that much 'cause I'm happy anyhow,
And I go along life's way, reaping better than I've sowed,
I'm drinking from my saucer 'cause my cup has overflowed.
I ain't got a lot of riches, and at times the goings tough,
But my friends and family love me and that makes me rich enough.
I thank God for His blessing and the mercies He's bestowed,
And I'm drinking from my saucer 'cause my cup has overflowed.
I remember times, when things went wrong,
And my faith got kinda thin, but all at once
The dark clouds broke and the sun peeped through again.
So Lord, help me not to gripe and the tough rows I've hoed
"Cause I'm drinking from my saucer, 'cause my cup has overflowed.
So If God gives me the courage when the way grows steep and rough
I'll not ask for other blessings, I'm already blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy to help others bear their load,
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer, 'cause my cup has overflowed.
Author of these poems unknown.