"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Snappin' Beans; Shelling Peas

I sat quietly, reminiscing as I snapped beans. The sun was warm and comfortable. Back then, I would have been under the shade of the big, old locust tree. But I wanted to be in the warmth of the sun on this day. There weren't a lot of beans, just the first round. Nothing like there would have been when I was a kid. I can't snap a bean to this day without thinking of snapping beans back then.

Next would come my peas. There weren't a lot of those either. But enough for some new potatoes and peas tonight. It was a tradition at my house, the first round of peas would always be for new potatoes and peas. Today, however, I wasn't sure I would dig for new potatoes...I almost didn't want to take the chance of disrupting the plant, or it's growth. And we would have more benefit from full growth potatoes, a bit later. Awe, Age! Must you ruin everything? I should surely dig.

But as I shelled the peas and was almost done with my task, I paused for a moment to think about the summer. I am not sure I ever have given it much thought before. But the ripening, readiness, and harvesting is a very interesting thing. It seems it goes like this. First the rhubarb is ready, and I harvest as much as I can mostly making pies, but freezing some if there is enough. There wasn't this year. I don't think it got enough water, and there is a bush in front of it that is blocking sunlight, that I need to trim back.  I always give a rhubarb pie away as a "first fruits". Silly thing...but it brings me joy. This one went to my kids.

Then it is either the cherries or the hay that is ready. This year it was the hay. We spent probably a week cutting, raking, baling and storing hay. My husband had bought a swather last fall, so he picked up a few of the neighbors fields to hay. The tonnage was low, as some of the fields were not properly cared for and our own pastures are still coming back from work that was required to rid them of a bad grass. But the hay took all of our focus for a week or so.
Next my cherries were ready. Now I suppose my Bing cherries were ready before the hay, but for what ever reason it was a poor year for that Bing tree. Again as a first fruits thing, my neighbor took the cherries off of that tree. She only got about 9 cups, I think she said. I probably took 2 cups from it, and added another 2 cups from my pie cherry tree to make a pie for my husband who had patiently missed out on any pie during the rhubarb phase. How can anyone not like rhubarb???!!!

My Pie Cherries!
Then my pie cherry tree was ready. My neighbor got about 16 cups from that tree. And that was only because the cherries weren't all ripe before they were to leave on vacation. I think I got about 72 cups from that little tree. It just kept giving and giving and giving...maybe it was that first fruits thing...I don't know. I made pies for my husband, my kids, my great niece and her in-laws. Oh and one for the ladies I work with...and then I froze enough for about 5 more pies and gave a frozen 4 cup bag away to my kids to put in their freezer.

After the cherries, the raspberries were ready and I made freezer jam and some raspberry shortcake. It was delicious. I ate it mostly by myself. I don't think my husband likes raspberries.

The thing is, I find it so fascinating that everything is ready at different times. I mean just think if everything got ready all at the same time. One would never be able to keep up! I sure wouldn't anyway. So now it is the beans and peas. Next will be more beans, carrots, and most importantly cucumbers. I will spend August making pickles, as I do believe I will have a good crop this year.

I have already given away dill, basil and cilantro. I will have lots of dill when the cucumbers are ready. I have been busy freezing leaves of basil in ice cube trays. I like to preserve them that way, then as I cook I simply take out an ice cube or two and put it in my spaghetti sauce or whatever it is that I am making. These are simple tasks that will continue throughout the rest of summer.

I am disappointed with my self for letting my cilantro flower. I should have cut it back and I believe it would have produced longer. I have way more than I expected and I have not cared for it properly. Still we are enjoying it, sharing it, and there will still be some if I get tomatoes.

Salsa is usually on my agenda, but I don't think I am going to get many tomatoes this year. I LOVE my salsa and I used to always give some to my nephew before he got married. I just hope I am able to make some this year. I have jalapeƱos, cilantro, bell peppers and onions. I am rooting (in the sense of cheering) for those tomatoes!

The corn and potatoes will come last and there is no work in harvesting those. I like to leave my potatoes in the ground well into fall, like my mama did. It is pretty cool to just go out and dig some when you need them.

We have never gotten a whole lot of corn, as we have a short growing season up here. But we always get enough to have for a meal or two and to put some in the freezer.

When my carrots are ready, of course I will use them fresh and I will freeze some, but my very favorite thing to do is pull a few and feed them to my horses right then and there. They love them! And they quickly learn to come to the fence when they see me headed that way. It warms my heart.

Well there! I think that is mostly it. In between caring for horses, and mowing lawn, weeding flower gardens and vegetable garden, it all keeps me pretty busy. I just finally realized this year, it is all spaced out very nicely! I am pretty sure that is all for a reason. If things weren't spaced so perfectly, snapping beans and shelling peas might not be nearly so much fun.