Sunday, June 6, 2010

Quiet Sunday

It seems to me that there are some few people out there who consider shelling peas something to be listed under "chores."  This I cannot understand.  Perhaps they were children living on farms, where acres of peas came ripe at once, requiring hours of shelling.  Or, more likely, they refer to black-eyed peas, which in my book are a kind of bean.

Beans as a chore, I understand.

But these sweet peas, or English peas, or whatever you want to call them, are never a chore for me.  Sitting down at the kitchen table with a big double handful of crisp plump pods is a quiet delight.  I look forward to having a few minutes to focus on nothing but popping the blossom ends, peeling the two sides apart from each other, and discovering what each pod has to offer.

I get particular satisfaction from these perfect, eight-pea pods, aligned evenly on each side.  I love to watch the peas pull apart, sliding out from between each other like military men in formation.  Sometimes I'll even open and close the pod several times to see how they fit together, marveling in nature's exquisite engineering.

Last weekend we had our first harvest big enough to serve peas as a side on their own.  While Miss Chef steamed them with some butter, I went to the garden to harvest some volunteer dill.  We planted dill three or four years ago, and haven't had to plant any since.  This year we've wrestled the dill weed population down to one plant.  Wish I could do that with the rest of the weeds.


I waged war on a small nest of fire ants by our front door this morning.  For the past week, I've been slowly weeding our front bed, which was turning into lawn.  Every weekend morning and some evenings--when it hasn't been raining--I plop my butt on the sidewalk and clear another two or three feet.  Last night I was almost done when I re-discovered those blasted ants.

This morning I used an old wives' trick of pouring boiling water on the nest.  It doesn't work instantaneously, I can tell you that much.  But it did distract or damage them enough to allow me to pull those last few weeds that remained.

Then, as I stood up, surveying my finally cleaned-up bed, I spotted the flower whose picture graces the top of this post.  I think it may be the most beautiful color I've ever seen.  How's that as a reward for a job well-done?


I haven't been able to settle to anything today.  There are multiple laundry baskets in various stages of cleaniness sitting in the living room; the kitchen counter is full of dirty dishes, we have a light swarming of fruit flies, and there is a lesson plan brewing somewhere very, very deep in my head.  But all I can think about is growing things.

So I took my camera back outside.

Here is an updated garden photo.  The peas are fading, and the radishes are flowering--oops.  We've harvested almost all the broccoli.  I made Miss Chef leave the plants for a second harvest--smaller secondary heads are already forming for one or two last meals on our table.  Beets and carrots are coming due, and now the garden almost seems to be holding its breath in anticipation of tomato season.

Miss Chef's herb garden in front, with our small beds behind.  They mostly have tomatoes, with a couple of fennel plants and some basil for company.

Speaking of basil, I love this boxwood basil Miss Chef bought this year.  We have several varities: sweet, purple, thai.  But this one's compact growth is a winner in our tightly-packed garden plot.  I think the neatness of its natural shape also appeals to my OCD side.  (And those weeds were pulled immediately after this picture was taken, lol!)

First tomato!  Well, no...actually, this is technically the third tomato.  I had already harvested two this morning, before I took this picture.  Sungold cherry tomatoes--most delicious ones out there.  Can you see my lovely black-eyed susans in the background?

Can you see them now?

What do you imagine is going on here?

Two years ago I planted a $1.79 packet of seeds next to our perennial echinacea patch.  Today, I have a gorgeous, self-sustaining (I hope) patch of wildflowers.  If you try enough different things in your garden, you'll eventually get lucky!

Rosie, my constant companion, is always excited about going outside, chilling by the jasmine in her own patch of shade.  But all this picture taking sure is boring.

Thanks for stopping by.  What's ripe or flowering in your neighborhood?


  1. Ahh, my favorite shade of blue!

    I remember "helping" my great-aunt Jane shuck peas in a long-ago time in PA. She was a very motherly farm woman, and when we visited I was thrilled to help her. How I would love to have some fresh peas now!

    Nancy in Iowa

  2. I remember shelling peas from the garden when I was a kid, and far and away the best part was eating the sweet, fresh raw peas. My vege garden is quite small - just enough room for some lettuces and silver beet.(Do you know it as Swiss chard?) But perhaps next season I will seek out some peas at a market and have fun eating them raw. Love the flower!

  3. Shelling peas and snapping beans are both kitchen "chores" that I love to do.

    I'd comment further but you've inspired me to head out and check on my own garden- perhaps I'll take my camera along before the sun sets. I do know- and am very excited- to have a couple of sweet banana peppers!!

  4. Ohhh, I envy your garden-- and the space to have one. I get our fresh produce at various farmer's markets-- the heirloom tomatoes are just starting to come and the strawberries have been amazing. BUt to be able to walk to the yard and pick something-- You are a lucky girl.

    Bon Appetite,

  5. Hahahaha! Nothing is ripe or flowering. Heck nothing is green anymore. We haven't had any rain since last summer and now we're dealing with this horrible heat wave. We don't get temps above 90 all summer, and here we are this early in the season dealing with triple digits and rain in sight!
    We don't even have an A/C! We've never needed it before. Thank goodness it's supposed to cool off later this week, so we're looking at temps in the 70's and 80s'.
    Now....THAT's more like it!

    I love that blue flower! And your photo is gorgeous!

    I grew up shelling peas and shucking corn for my grandparents. I'd shell and shuck for hours. I always enjoyed it, even though sometimes I got lazy and distracted and wandered off to sneak raspberries and strawberries from grandpa's garden. heheh!

    Your garden looks so tidy and so well tended. I'm glad everything is doing so well.

    Oh...and I won't even get into the topic of dirty dishes and laundry. It's too hot to work inside.....that's my story...and I'm sticking to it! hahaha!



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