Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice Peas

My kind of morning! It's a little hazy, almost overcast, and I can truthfully say I've enjoyed the first morning of summer! I bought a gallon of peas still in the pods from the Amish, and they transformed into two packages of emeralds for the freezer. All blanched, plunged in ice water, and ready for that first snow. Yep. You heard me right. I don't always get to do this, but I love my tradition! Years and years ago when I had my own garden, I started the tradition of saving one package of peas for the night meal of our first snow. There is just something transformational in that...

During the hot summer, the whole couple hours it takes to shell the peas, my mind captures happy thoughts of how good these will be on that future, blustery-cold night. I picture them brimming with summer warmth and a little pepper, salt, 'n butter! Then next winter I always adore thinking about the day I put them up... Even best of all, this year when it's the first day of Summer... I feel like a Vegetable Princess! Well... Anyway, it's fun upstairs in my mind...

Preserving garden of any kind brings three women to mind... My mother, my Gramma Minnie, and my other Grandmother Iona, Ma. Gardeners extraordinaire they are, and my cousins have mostly kept that gift alive. I loved preparing the peas the most, although freezing sweet corn ran a close second. They always, always wore cotton dresses, sensible shoes... Or barefoot! and lovely aprons as they worked up their harvests. Mom, Gramma, and I usually had two five-gallon buckets, mostly-filled, and after the initial judgement on the quality and integrity of that year's crop, the conversation took many turns. We often worked outside under the trees, but here at home our garden work took place on the screened-in porch. Mom and a Gramma liked to set up a complete camp for every vegetable, putting everything else on hold. I liked snapping peas.. It was a job I did well!

At Ma's the vegetables were usually worked in small batches. The snapping moved into her porch inside..or even her kitchen. She usually worked alone or with my grandfather, I think... And she had row after row of nearly every vegetable to put up. But if I happened to be in her house in Excello that day, I could help. And at Ma's we took an occasional nibble of raw peas... Green as fresh hope... Slightly taboo with Gramma, I think due to her Pennsylvania Dutch practicality. "What we gobbled raw in the summer, we couldn't have next winter. Plain as day!" ------ needless to say, I nibbled this morning... Just a few.

My friend called me today with news of the Summer Rousings at Stonehenge... I'd love to be there even once. I've always wanted to initiate the practice of a Midsummer's Night party outside on the lawn... Trees alight with candles in jars. Huge beverage dispensers of cut citrus and lemonade... Little sliders or tea biscuits... Hey, why not music and sparklers? There needs to be mystery, magic, laughter... Something to dream about, along with the Winter Sledding Solstice party I've never had... That's too close to Christmas! ---- am I EVER that ready?

I hope wherever you are, whatever you are up to, you enjoy the change of seasons. Most likely, your thoughts aren't boomeranging around today like mine... Flashing between summer and winter. Have a beautiful summer's evening... And as Tennesee Ernie Ford used to say, "Bless your little, pea-pickin' hearts."


bj said...

Oh, they look wonderful....and don't we all love traditions. They are just part of family life that is so good for the spirit and soul.
I was a goooood pea picker. :)

Tessa~ Here there be musing said...

what a delightful tradition!!! :-)

and lovely memories, brought back, by doing this putting-up-some-peas.