Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Perfect Picture of Summer

As a painter this should be an easy task challenge given by Mama Kat at Mama's Losin' It!  Her writing prompt this week is "What five images paint a perfect picture of summer to you?  I could probably paint that better than I can write it so let's see where I go.  Images, what do I think of when I see summer in my mind.

My first thought of summer is bright light, crisp clean shining light that sprinkles down through the rich green leaves of the trees.  You can feel the light on your skin.  After a dreary winter of gray-blue cold I look forward to the warmth of the sun in summer.  Yellow, I see yellow.  Warm yellow glow all around as summer is upon us again.  You will never, EVER hear me complain about summer, I LOVE it!  I especially love when spring comes and the green just starts appearing everywhere.  It rejuvenates me every season and I soak up the feel, sound and smells of summer.  The colors are so vibrant around you; lemon yellow sunlight, green trees and grass, cerulean blue skies with the whitest and puffiest clouds.  How can you not love this season.  I have hope and promise in the summertime.  Life just gets better.

I'm also transported to the gardens.  I refer to "the gardens" because that is what we called it when I was a young one.  The summer meant a ride to Boggs Farms in Bixby, Oklahoma.  We would pile in the car very early and head off before the white heat of the day to either pick our own vegetables or purchase already picked.  You used to be able to walk down the rows of green beans, black eye peas, squash, cantalopes, etc., and pick a bushel all on your own.  We kids would follow along the dusty rows and help snap off the peas or find the perfect watermelon with Momma and Granny.  It was hot and dusty and the smell of fresh produce permeated the air.  I can't remember if we picked tomatoes but we would definitely buy bushels of them to can and the smell of bushels and bushels of vine ripe tomatoes was intoxicating.  What a fantastic treat.  Later in the season, late June or early July would be Silver Queen corn that we would be there early for.  You would try to get there early, get a number and be one of the first to get a bushel or two of the fresh picked corn.  Corn you have to work up quickly to keep the sweet which turns to starch the longer it is out of the field.  The drive home with a carload of fresh vegetables was exciting.  Of course back then we didn't have air conditioning in the car either so the smell was intensified by the building heat of the day.

Quickly home the kitchen or backyard would be set up as a corn shucker station or pea shelling group.  I can remember when Mother used to make pepper relish.  We would bring home bushels of white onions and large green peppers.  Mother got the idea that chopping was just way too slow so she would break out the hand grinder and that would be my brother's job to turn the crank.  Can you imagine the smell of a bushel of onions being hand ground for that pepper relish.  Even the dogs and cats were crying.  You would almost dehydrate yourself from shedding tears but in the end we knew that the product was well worth it with the fall brown beans and cornbread.  

Now we have farmers markets around town to get our vegetables, not like the old days (yes I said it, OLD DAYS) when you would actually go where the vegetables were grown by the acres and actually see the rows and rows of yellow squash, gigantic watermelons, peas, corn as far as the eye could see.  What an experience for a child. This was summer for me!  

Not only did we go to the gardens for vegetables but we also go peaches, lots and lots of peaches and mother would make homemade peach ice cream.  Hand cranked in the backyard as we added ice and rock salt the the sweating churn.  Oh my goodness that was the best thing in the world.  I think fresh, fragrant peach smell is the ultimate in the summer heat after a long day shucking, shelling and canning.  

The only thing topping off that kind of day would be if we were at my Greatgranny's in Jay, Oklahoma at Rattlesnake Holler' and load up in back of Greatgrandaddy's old 1940's black pickup and head to the creek.  Oh my goodness, it could be 110 degrees outside and that spring fed creek was like ice, but it was so refreshing.  The water so clear you saw ever rock and crawdad underneath the swirling water.  What a fantastic summer it would be when you took you bath in the creek (no inside bathroom) and cool off then back to the house for fresh homemade ice cream with strawberries or peaches.  

Life was the best in my childhood that is for sure.  It could not have been better.  I miss those summers of lounging around, helping with the canning, reading Trixie Beldon books.  The days of my youth.  I love these memories and images.


Kimberly said...

The imagery you created beautifully painted the perfect picture for summer. You sure did have a wonderful childhood memory.
I don't think I've ever had homemade ice cream before and I love ice cream. I am seriously missing out yo!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful picture of summer! Thanks for sharing!

Andrea Mowery said...

This read like a memory I'd love to get lost in. Great imagery!

Kathy said...

You paint the most lovely picture! I'm seriously jealous of your childhood memories

Visiting from Mama Kat's :)

Elaine Alguire said...

You remind me of my grandparents' farm in South Texas. My grandma had a wonderful garden. And my other grandma had tons of pecan trees on the family farm so we were always picking pecans in the Fall. Some of my best memories too... I love all your descriptions!