We are WAY overdue for a reader column!
After I wrote about the census, Jeanne Flanders sent a story about her mother, Iola Rutherford. Iola was a census taker back in 1950 when all information was collected by enumerators who visited people in their homes.
During one daytime visit, Iola noticed the children of that particular household were all at home instead of being at school. Although curious about that, she kept to her job and didn’t ask why.
About a week later, the reason the children were at home became clear as Iola’s jaws began to swell. The kids all had the mumps!
Iola spent the following week doing what she could to feed her family while lying on their davenport.
After the Pukwudgie column ran, Sue Macy told me her late uncle, Paul Startzman, wrote several books, including “The Puk-Wud-Jies of Indiana,” which she loaned me.
A native of the Anderson area, Paul had a life-long fascination with Pukwudgies that began with an encounter he claimed he had with one of those little people in 1927 when he was ten years old.
While the book doesn’t contain any actual Hamilton County Pukwudgie sightings, Paul does write that one of the Pukwudgies’ sacred places, which he calls a “fairy ring,” was discovered near Cicero Creek on his great-uncle’s farm, east of Arcadia.
He also mentions interviewing people who’ve reported stumbling across tiny huts along White River, south of Noblesville. The huts are said to be used by Pukwudgies for temporary shelter and storage.
I don’t remember the old Noblesville city dump that I mentioned in the April Fools Day column, but Pam Ferber does. She said it was in that low lying area south of Carbon Street and west of Tenth Street. Several businesses are located there now.
Pam recalled going with her father to take trash to the dump in the late 1950s. She said they put their trash in a paper bag and paid a man 10 or 25 cents (she wasn’t sure which) to take it.
When I was trying to gather information about local Earth Day celebrations during the early years, I asked Bonnie Zarins what she remembered since she was teaching at that time.
Bonnie said her school as a whole didn’t make a big deal about Earth Day. Any observation of the day was usually left to individual teachers. She did, however, recall the school handing out pine tree seedlings to students and one year the music teacher dedicated the annual PTA music program to Earth Day.
My South Bend Friend pointed out that you really don’t need anything fancy to make compost to feed your garden. She said she’s had plastic composters and compost corrals made from old wood pallets, but these days she just picks a spot in her yard and makes a pile.
She recommends locating your compost pile near your garden. That way you can easily toss weeds and any plants thinned out of the garden into the compost. Also, you don’t have far to transport the finished compost.
Marilyn Conner wrote that she’s been gardening in containers for a few years.
She raises lettuce and says if you only cut off some of the leaves at a time, the lettuce will grow back, allowing you to harvest it the entire growing season. She recommends trying some of the red leaf varieties for color.
I will add here that the speckled and bicolored kinds are good, too. I’m rather fond of a bicolored butterhead lettuce called “Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed.” I originally planted it just because I liked the name, but I discovered it tastes good, too.
I hope you didn’t plant your tomatoes before Mother’s Day!

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears each Wednesday in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com