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There was a message on our voicemail the other day.

“Good morning,” said a little voice.

Then, “How are you?”

It was a very polite little voice.

It’s strawberry season in south-eastern Ontario and my fairy godson, age 2 and 3/4, was calling to invite me out for the picking.

Or, as he knows it:  the eating.

strawberries, up close

I like strawberry picking, except for the bending and standing up (which makes me feel faint-ish) and the turning-my-head and picking (which makes me feel spinny-ish) and of course, there is The Nature to contend with.

But, how could I resist an invitation from someone who calls me “Auntie Kiss”?

Oh sure, my name is “Chris” and you might think this is his 2 and 3/4 year-old way of pronouncing my name, but even when he’s 14 and possibly slightly stinky and drama-tudinal, I like to think this will be my fairy godmother name forever.

Auntie Kiss.

(As in:  one who gives kisses and loves to receive them.)

Tra-la-la.

Is there a better name for a fairy godmother than that?   I think not.

So, after the lovely invitation, I met Fairy Godson, his Kitemama and baby Fairy Godsister at the patch.

It was soggy and muddy from all the recent rain, so we wore our rubber boots (one of us had new and very exciting firefighter rubber boots!) and squelched around in the mud in the parking lot.

Squelch, squelch, squelch.

You know how The Nature can get sometimes.   Verrrrry squelchy.

Then, we waited for the tractor to come and pick us up to take us out to the part of the patch we were picking.

tractor pulling a wagon full of people

It was a “big, DEEN TAK-TOR with a bucket!” and someone wearing new firefighter rubber boots was pretty excited.  We hopped on the wagon with our empty baskets and the giant, DEEN TAK-TOR tires squelched around the muddy trail to our patch of the strawberry fields.

Squelch, squelch, squelch.

Little boy, facing away from camera, squatting in strawberry plants

Then, we squatted in the field and searched for bright, red pockets of sunshine to put in our baskets.

Fairy Godson had two baskets because he knew to look for the “really red ones”.  He also knew how to deftly remove the stems, fling them into the plants, and pop the “really red ones” in his mouth.

Fairy godson tasting a berry

Squelch, squelch, squelch.

As you do.

Kitemama and I got going with the bending and standing up (which makes me feel faint-ish) and the turning-our-heads and picking (which makes me feel spinny-ish) and of course, The Nature had made everything sort of soggy but I was having a great time picking berries and squelching in the mud.

Fairy Godson guarded the berries for me, polite child that he is and soon, the DEEN TAK-TOR came to pick us up for the ride back.

Fairy godson with two buckets

Squelch, squelch, squelch went the TAK-TOR through the mud.

There was a little sprinkling of rain from The Nature but, we didn’t mind as we were already soggy and our new firefighter rubber boots were muddy anyway, and with a belly full of strawberries (at least one of us), we got off the tractor and lined up to pay.

baskets of strawberries at the till

 

And then, I had my annual, mild heart attack at the price of 8 scant litres of fresh, local strawberries.   But, I also remembered about the bucolic, vintage pleasures of the tractor ride and how good the “really red ones” taste and how many were in the belly of a small helper–and no doubt, countless other helpers across the field–and I opened my wallet and handed over the money.

Tra-la-la.

After a stint driving the play structure TAK-TOR at the entrance, we carried our treasures to the car.

Bye, Bye Kitemama and baby Fairy Godsister.

Bye, Bye Fairy Godson.

Bye, Bye, Auntie Kiss.

Squelch, squelch, squelch.

Not the mud, that time.

My heart.

Fairy godson, carrying baskets full of berries

 

Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet


I always think of home veggie gardening as a vintage activity.

Maybe it’s because I am known to wear a giant-brimmed hat and women always used to wear hats, back in the day.

me in my red cowboy hat (1973).

Me, in my red cowboy hat (1973).
The string is presumably so I don’t fling the hat off with my exuberant tra-la-la.

Or, maybe gardening feels vintage because of the rubber boots.  They make me invincible to The Nature from the knees down.  And, you can jump in puddles with impulsive tra-la-la.

My rubber boots

Black (for the real country jobs); red (for mild gardening); checkered (for always); flowered (my ‘zippidy-doo-dah ones’ for special occasions or when Practical Man is out of town)

Maybe it feels vintage because gardening is all about growing your own food and eating local.   That whole recent trend?  Vintage, actually!

Or, perhaps veggie gardening feels vintage because Apple hasn’t yet invented some kind of iMiracle to help with

  • the weeding,
  • the more weeding,
  • the even more weeding (even though you thought you got them all yesterday)
  • the never-ending weeding.

I would sleep outside the Apple store if they came out with an iWeeder.  Instead, I feel that I am channeling my ancestors as we behold the resilience and fortitude that are weeds.

Very vintage.

But now, boys and girls, it is officially scape season.  There’s just no escaping it.  The scapes, I mean.

Hee hee.

A scape is the edible curly-cue that grows out of the centre of hard-necked garlic varieties.  They’re like a cowlick in an otherwise beautiful garlic coiffure (I feel a kinship).  In our part of the world, we harvest garlic scapes in June, a month or two before the actual garlic bulbs in the ground are ready.  Scapes are very mild and taste like garlicky asparagus.

garlic scapes

Some of our beautiful scapes. Also (ahem), some weeds.

Confession:  When I was 16 and billeted for a week into a German family in West Berlin, they served gigantic, tree-trunk spears of white asparagus for dinner (with pickled eel).   I ate it because I was a polite Canadian girl (and I didn’t yet know how to say “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, I’m allergic to this whole dinner” in German so I was linguistically prevented from telling a colossal, cross-cultural fib).  After that dinner, I never thought I would say that I loved something that tasted like asparagus.

If you hate asparagus, you must try it tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, then grilled.  Parmesan shaved over the top once they’re cooked to nutty, caramelized perfection (about 10 minutes) only makes it even more irresistible.  Soooo Yum!  Use the same recipe for the scapes (or saute on the stovetop with some white wine, hot pepper flakes and the rest of the above).  As for the pickled eel, well, you’ll have to make decisions for yourself.  I prefer my eels…ugh…no I’m afraid, I don’t prefer eels.

But, garlic scapes are great.  That is, of course, unless you’re one of those modern-day-abundant, immortal creatures who roams the night and is in love with some girl called Bella.  Then, forget about the grilling and you might also want to avoid our property even if it’s safely after dark in the light of a beautiful moonscape (I’m on kind of a scape roll) and you look all sparkly.

We are not vampire people.  We are not sparkly, but rather, possibly smelly, because we loooove the garlic.  We watch and wait until suddenly, almost overnight, it happens:  scapes!  Right now, our garden landscape (sorry, I’ll try to stop soon) is resplendent with the curly little gems.

Practical Man planted three kinds of hard-necked garlic last fall:

  • Music (isn’t that a lovely name for a garlic?)
  • German Red (makes me think of Snoopy as the Red Baron.  Also, slightly of eel.)
  • Georgia Fire (loved the name and spicy connotations).

Garlic grows really well in our terrible soil.  It’s as if we have a glittering city of skyscapers in our garden (okay, that one  was reaching).  This year, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of 80 bulbs.  Looking at the patch, over the garden fence, it’s a veritable seascape (I can’t help myself) of garlic, as far as the eye can see.

So, gardening:  yes, it’s vintage.  Sure, it’s weedy.  There can be great hats and boots.  And, somewhere in all the weeding, you get goodies, fresh from the earth.

Or, at least garlic, which, in our house, is a major food group.  If you haven’t had scapes, look for them at your local farm stands, farm gates and markets.

And, I’m sorry for all the bad puns.

I’m looking around for a scapegoat, but I can’t find one.

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