Mind Your P's and Q'uitos!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nephew Marquitos with pea pod victim!
"Wouldn't that make the perfect title for the blog?" the wife that is Venus questioned during a sun-drenched Easter Sunday afternoon as nephew Marquitos Stromberg munched on a mound of freshly harvested peas nearby.

"I don't know," was my response. "I was thinking along the line of 'A Pound of Peas From the Garden Please'," to be honest.

"No," she said. "That's just stupid (a line I hear often to many a suggestion)."

Guess who won that argument? Dear Lord, the wife is taking over the blog. Things will never be the same. Don't be surprised if you find a shrine to all things Duran Duran in the coming weeks.

Freshly harvested pea pods from the Bird garden
Actually -- it's not a bad title to be brutally honest. The garden played a rather large and fulfilling role in our Easter Feast at the Bird House -- where we hosted children, aunts, uncles, sister-in-laws, cousins and even a brother or two. It was a packed Bird House -- and we kind of like it that way.

On the menu for Easter Sunday? How does a ham slathered and basted with freshly harvested honey from the Hello Kitty Hive sound? Fresh peas from the garden? Radishes galore and spinach from the spring and still bountiful fall gardens? Freshly harvested beets for the Easter salad? The garden production was on full display -- and nobody went home unhappy (or hungry I might add).

But the best part of Easter Sunday is children. No celebration is complete without the young ones. Bill and Venus played host this past holiday to four of them -- ranging in age from one (NFL linebacker in waiting Brennan Sullivan) to seven (Marquitos Stromberg). Children make holidays special -- and no holiday was more special than the one we celebrated this past Sunday.

Of course -- no Easter is complete without an old-fashioned Easter Egg hunt. And Easter Eggs hide easy in a mound of bushy pea plants or under the shade of a yet-to-be-harvested Easter Egg radish. But -- as Venus and I were delighted to learn -- the kids took the greatest joy in what came after: the harvest.

Champion Radish Harvester: Aiden Sullivan
Aiden Sullivan isn't exactly keen on the consumption of vegetables just yet -- much to the chagrin of his mother, Alice. His younger brother is -- but that doesn't really count -- as Brennan will eat just about anything in his path, including raw iron. Ever heard of a child that doesn't reject any sort of consumable item put in front of him? Ladies and Gentlemen -- may I introduce you to Brennan Sullivan. I would show you a photo of him -- but the poor lad is still eating.

Aiden -- however -- proved himself to be the champion harvester of all things radish. And once he had pulled one of those bright pink Easter Egg radish orbs from the ground and saw what awaited -- nothing could stop him from going back for more. The same applied to Marquitos and sister Celina Stromberg. Let's just say the Easter Sunday salad was a bit "radish heavy" after the "picking party" came to a merciful end.

But I've got to give credit where credit is due for this one. Venus planted this radish patch exactly six weeks ago with the hopes that her efforts would be ready for harvest in time for this very special holiday. The wife's planning paid off in droves. Perhaps her momentary takeover of the blog isn't such a bad thing after all.

Celina Stromberg: Ready for Radish Harvest
But I draw the line at a shrine to all things Duran Duran. Did they write a song about harvesting radishes? Nuff said.

But to be completely honest? It's the pea harvest that opened my eyes a bit. When Venus brought the first bowl of peas inside the garden to be shelled for the upcoming holiday feast -- I could not believe that we had actually grown quite this many. When she further confided in me that this was -- perhaps 25% of the harvest and another 75% was yet to come? Folks -- that's something to get excited about.

I'm never going to scream about peas -- thought I'm not about to push them away either. While it might be true that I'm not exactly wild about some vegetables -- peas are not on that list. Unfortunately -- I never had any experience with them as a child -- unless they came out of a can or were frozen inside of a bag. What are fresh peas like?

Nothing that comes out of a can or a bag -- that much I can tell you.

Pounds of Peas for Easter
An unopened pod full of peas is a treasure that has yet to be uncovered. There's nothing quite like the experience of unzipping a long pod -- only to discover a sweet tasting treat inside. Freshly harvested peas are indeed SWEET -- and crunchy to much on. This might explain why Marquitos has such a love for them. The boy has developed a love affair with peas and other garden produce at an age when many boys reject foods that come colored in green.

The first harvest from the Bird garden resulted in more than 1.5 lbs. of peas. I won't lie. It could have yielded twice that amount. This has been quite the year for fresh pea production in the Backyard of Bird. I wish I could tell you the secret. When I find out just exactly what we did right -- I'll let you know.

An Easter harvest to remember
There are those rare holiday celebrations where everything goes well. They include those celebrations where you don't exactly realize just how good it was -- until it comes to an end. All that's left are the memories of a special day with family and friends.

Easter Sunday, 2011, was indeed one of those days. I'm still not quite ready to believe that it's over. Yes, the children that made this day special are indeed gone.

But the pea harvest continues...