Mildred Viola Baysinger
April 18, 1918 – January 3, 1993
Mildred was the mother of seven children, three girls and four boys; the grandmother of 13. She was the wife of Harley. She was my mother-in-law and my best friend.
When my first daughter was born Mildred tried to give me words of wisdom and guidance but I just saw her as a meddling old mother-in-law. How could a woman, 61 years of age who had raised seven children and buried one, know anything about raising kids? A couple of years passed and I tolerated her as my husband’s mother and someone to cook Sunday dinner so I didn’t have to. I was soon to learn some lessons from this lady.
I was trying to wean my daughter and it was not working. Kacey was stubborn; but no more so than I. Mildred said one day, “The moon’s not right.” “Excuse me.” She got her worn copy of the Old Farmer's Almanac and turned to a page called “Calendar for (the year), Ruling Periods of the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac and their Relation to the Body”. She said, “See, the moon needs to be in the knees but before the head. When it is in the head or the stomach, they’re stubborn.” So I asked her to explain it to me. The next day I bought a copy and calculated the right time. And it worked. After that I began listening to Mildred.
It wasn’t long and we were spending more and more time together. After her husband and mine had gone to work each, she would drive out to get my girls and I and off we would go.
Mildred taught me how to garden, how to cook and quilt and how to can foods She loved all children. All children were all her grandchildren. She sang to them, “I see the moon, the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me.” She took names off the Angel Tree each year at Christmas and bought a multitude of presents for the children.
I “inherited” my love for gardening from her and she taught me about gardening by the moon’s wisdom. There are two different approaches that can be used or they can be combined. One is following the moon’s path through the signs and the other is following the phases of the moon. The first choice for planting is when the moon is in a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). This is even a more favorable time here in the Southwest desert. The second choice is when the moon is in an Earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) with Virgo being the last choice. Air and Fire signs should be utilized for preparing the soil, weeding, cultivating, etc. but not for planting. With one exception, Sagittarius is particularly good for planting onions, radishes, garlic and peppers.
The first and second quarter moon is the time to plant anything that has the edible part growing above ground. The third and fourth quarter is for planting plants that has the edible part growing below the ground.
In 1991 Mildred and Harley, her husband, decided they would sell their home and move to Arkansas. Remember she was a gypsy and she loved to move to different places and see the world. Off they went. They bought a home with acreage and raised cows and chickens, and of course, a garden.
They came home for Christmas in 1992. When Mildred got off the plane, we knew something was not quite right. She didn’t have the quickness to her step and her smile was strained. We took her straight to the doctor and he immediately called an ambulance to take her to the emergency room. He suspected a heart attack. She was admitted into intensive care on December 24, 1992. She said she had indigestion two days earlier; thought it was the onion on her sandwich. She was put on life support on December 26. On the 27th when we went in to see her, she tugged at Harley’s shirt and held up three fingers. She was telling him it was time for him to shower and change his clothes. It had been three days.
Mildred took care of her family. They were her pride and her source of joy. She was a steward of the Earth, nurturing and respecting our Earth Mother’s resources. She passed over on January 3, 1993 and I miss her to this day.
For everything there is
Mildred was an incredible cook. She could whip up a feast in what seemed like to me a matter of minutes. One of the family favorites was chile rellanos. This is her recipe.
12 large chiles with stems
Blister chile and peel, open small slit below the stem and remove the seeds (Canned or frozen chile may be used but I have only used fresh.) Fill the chile carefully to avoid ripping. Dip stuffed chile into batter and deep fry, 360-365 degrees F, until golden brown. Six servings.
1 cup flour
Sift together dry ingredients. Combine eggs and milk. Add to the flour mixture, stirring enough to mix. I always add about a tablespoon of the heated oil to the batter and stir in. The batter needs to be fairly thick to stick to the chile. Dip stuffed chile in the batter and deep fry until golden brown.