Monday, June 13, 2011

June Blessings

It is so hot here today, and the winds are gusting up to 30 mph. I mowed and thought I would die in the heat. Even the grass is beginning to get crunchy, looks and feels like August and not June! As a kid, I loved June because school was out and storm season was almost over. How I dreaded those Kansas twister nights and by the middle of June I could see July and the downhill slope to autumn. Spring storms to dread would be a long ways away.

June brings freshly mown hay and the beginnings of wild flowers along the roadsides. Already this year the heads of Queen Anne’s Lace waves in the hot breeze. Is there anything nicer than brand new, unsullied hay bales? Of course, when I was a kid the hay bales were oblong ones, not the huge round bales of today. As a teen, hay season also meant those cute farm boys in Levis and Wranglers, brown as a berry, and wearing shirts smudged with hay dust and honest sweat.

Today I had to go snap a picture of these hollyhocks planted by fence near a Hispanic church housed in an old warehouse. I remember hollyhocks from my childhood too. Grandpa had them growing by the chicken house. A friend had them growing in the yard and taught me to make little dolls with hoop skirts out of them. I hadn’t seen any hollyhocks for a long while, and they are such a cheery flower. I wonder if I could find a place around my house for planting some? Do they grown from seeds, from bulbs? Do they become a nuisance?

At one time here, we had a fair amount of stands at our farmer’s market. Then for various reasons, including some snarly merchants, the people on the square faded away. One vendor has stuck it out and continues to come every week. I have noticed a Vietnamese farmer coming a couple of times this spring. I hope the market business builds back up as there is something so wonderful about buying fresh produce from local people. Already this spring lettuce, onions, zucchini, and crooked neck squash have shown up along with early tomatoes and lots of flowers. I love it when they pick the little crooked neck squash while they are small, before they get bigger and a little tough. These small ones have been ambrosia to fix.

I learned to cook crooked neck squash from my mother-in-law as I had never seen them before. She browns them in a little butter, with salt and pepper and adds a wee tad of sugar to bring out the sweetness of the vegetable. It works. She also taught me that a cucumber doesn’t have to be peeled to be eaten, and an apple can be tossed in with lettuce!


BECKY said...

Loved reading this, Claudia! Everything looks and "reads" so summery! I've never heard of crooked neck squash. The part about the hollyhocks by your Grandpa's chicken house made me remember the peonies at my grandparents' house in Iowa...They always had ants crawling in and out of the fully open flowers and I really hated the way they looked! And because I couldn't stick my nose right on them to smell them! LOL

Susan said...

Great post, Bookie. Loved it. My paternal Gram grew tons of flowers, especially peonies. Oooooo, I can almost feel the heat over there.

I love the little baby squash, too. Sooooo good.

Take care and have a good Tuesday.

Thanks for all your visits and comments. Susan

Linda O'Connell said...

HA HA I had to rereard what you wrote: those boys in Levis with HONEY sweat. I should slow down, you wrote HONEST sweat.
The hollyhocks reminded me of what my girlfriend and I used to do with those huge flowers, we turned one upside down and somehow inserted one into the other and made dolls in beautiful gowns. Nice post.

irishoma said...

Great post and photos, Claudia. Brings back memories.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Love this post. You've made me think of my Memere (French grandmother) who had so many flowers (the lilacs were my favorite) and a beautiful vegetable garden. Mmmm...closing my eyes to step back...