A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Thursday, April 5, 2012

It is that Time of the Year

The mustard grass in the vineyards is in bloom. The mustard grass is planted in the vineyards as it puts valuable nitrogen back into the soil. I was 99% sure of this but I always like to check my facts before spouting off on this blog. In doing so for this post I came across this little gem of information:

There is an old farm reference about mustard grass still in use today. The image of death, wielding the large sickle to reap the dead, is also a reference to the last job you are given as you age into retirement on the farm. Since everyone works on a farm, in retirement you were handed the sickle and told to maintain the weeds around the house and barn. So when you saw the sickle coming, you knew death was coming as well. One was allowed to officially retire on the farm the year you could no longer “Cut the Mustard”, that is where the phrase originates.

I just love this stuff - learning the origins of phrases and words. Now had I not pulled off the road to take these pictures for the blog I may have never learned where that phrase came from.
Thank goodness for blogging!





17 comments:

  1. John, you are such a wealth of information! I am SO glad I found your blog! I didn't know the origin of that phrase either...I am now a little smarter today, thanks to you! The photos of the mustard grass are lovely too. Have a wonderful day - I look forward to your next post!

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  2. All right...now I can quiz my "knows everything" hubby to see if he knows where this phrase came from!! :)

    The vineyards bring back memories of when I was young, picking grapes with my sister at a winery in St.James, Missouri. I still have a scar on my butt cheek where I sat on the clippers while goofing off!

    Great post John!

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  3. Awesome shots, love the perspective... row after row! Beautiful!
    If I can remember, I'm going to post that tid-bit of info w/ my next Barn Charm! Thanks =)

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  4. Nice looking vineyard. What a great place to take photos.

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  5. You always have something interesting to tell us. ;-)

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  6. I love hearing where the expression came from. AND you photos today are perfect. Looks like everything is coming up roses there in the vineyards!

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  7. Yes, we learn something every day! Beautiful photos by the way. This bright yellow and green give me such a spring feeling!

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  8. really beautiful scenes. and appreciate the education, too!

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  9. Yes, TexWis sent me your blog post since were in sync today. My curiosity is such that if I find something unusual I usually try to figure out its history! Thanks for your history lesson on "cut the mustard." I'm also a word freak and my next project I'm looking into is "henpecked" because I have a great photo that I think will illustrate that term but I want to make sure of its origin.

    Happy blogging!

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  10. The mustard grass is in bloom in the hay fields here, too, but I think it is a lot prettier in the vineyards. And about the snow...I just pretend it does not exist. Growing up in Florida I learned how NOT to wear shoes...so I will, without thinking, go out into the nasty stuff barefooted. I never will learn. I do what I need to do in a hurry and get the heck back in the house. Snow is pretty when we get it for one day and then it melts. I cannot stand it when it hangs around and looks so nasty. I do not drive in it or on ice. I was not taught that in Florida and I refuse to learn. I am a horsey old gal! genie

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  11. Interesting facts on the origin of 'cut the mustard'. I've seen it growing out west, also canola fields are very beautiful in full flower. Good to know that it fixes the nitrogen in the soil, I hadn't known that either.

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  12. Gorgeous pics! Glad to learn about cutting the mustard.

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  13. Lovely images and an interesting piece of trivia. Good work.

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  14. Silly me, I didn't realize the mustard was planted. I thought it was just a local perennial that came up in spring. Love, love, love knowing the origin of phrases. So I thank you for this. I read somewhere that the Spanish expeditions into Alta California used mustard seeds to blaze the trail north. Do you think there's any truth to this? It's a cool image but would be practical only for a handful of years before the plants spread far and wide with help from the bees, birds, and wind.

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  15. Me again. Forgot to say that your photos are lovely.

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  16. Well, I say we all pour a nice glass of wine and raise it up in the hopes that we are all cutting the mustard for years to come.

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