June 30, 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006

Picking Peas for the Fourth of July...

I wonder when the New England tradition of having new peas and fresh salmon on the Fourth of July started. Although I have several good food history books, all of which stress how very welcome fresh peas were as one of the summer season's earliest vegetable offerings, none mentions peas-and-salmon specifically.

Well, we certainly will have those peas this years; in fact, we've been picking peas for weeks now. And, while we're heartily sick of this cool, clammy weather, there are many things in the garden that have loved it, the peas especially. The early potatoes are also thriving as are the broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, as I guess you'd expect.

But of course, the green pepers need heat, the tomatoes need sun, and, well... I need summer! Many of the herbs are doing just fine including the cilantro, fennel, and dill as well as the usual tarragon, thyme, sage, oregano and basil. I use the cilantro in flower bouquets for its feathery foliage, tiny white flowers and gorgeous citrus-y scent. Dill, which traditionally garnishes that holiday salmon, is absolutely one of my favorite cooking herbs.

The weather report holds out a tantalizing promise of clearing later today, but a certain scepticism does creep in on hearing such a forecast on the Friday before a long holiday weekend.
We'll see...

Have a glorious Fourth! Mary

June 14, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Nephelococcygia and Other Summer Delights!

I was working in the garden this morning when I paused to admire the ever-changing, rapidly moving clouds, a brief break I take often during any outdoor day. I saw so many things in the clouds... a mountain, a swan, flowers, rolling ocean waves, a sundae topped with tons of whipped cream. Ahhh, back to weeding the peas...

According to the www.weatherworks.com website, nephelococcygia is the word that describes that day-dreaming phenomenon of finding figures, seeing shapes, in the clouds. Who knew! I happened across the word when Bert and I saw a summer home with that name. I HAD to find out what it meant!

According to the website, it's from the Greek play The Birds by Aristophanes. When the title birds see shapes in the clouds, they are told they are... well, in cloud cuckooland, which is essentially what nephelococcygia means.

Do kids today ever just loll out on the lawn looking at the sky, seeing shapes in the clouds? What a shame if they don't... And isn't nephelococcygia a neat word!