Back in the early days of starting my green thumb I had set out to create my own memories of strolling with the old folk as a child, like in the story ‘Dandelions and Old Folk‘. That meant that all the plants I was going to start with where going to be perennials (meaning they will all come back on their own every year). And of course they would have to be edible, as well as, easy to grow. I had envisioned going for strolls and doing the ‘swoop N’ pick’ as an old folk with a child by my side and irking the curiosity of the child just as it was done to me. Ahhh, I now understand the secret joy in that one. It’s not about how much you talk as it is about using the right words with your actions. The simple ‘swoop N’ pick’ following the question up with a ‘huh-huh’ works! And I want to be able to do it too! Forget waiting ‘til I’m old though. I wanted to do it now and I had one last young’n grasping the sides of my blue jeans to steady himself for a stroll, Bubba. I gazed down at him with a smile, thinking of all the bait I could use to fish him in. To build in him all the wonderful memories and times I had to give him and passing on the secrets of lost treasures.
On the day he was born, this little heart of gold was a blessing to make our family complete said his first words were, BAA BAAA!!! The whole hospital room fell to a brief silence followed by spontaneous, burst of laughter. With smiles on our faces, Mike and I looked at each other tearfully. ‘We have a little lamb,” I announced with joy.
Day one for Bubba was a very busy day. He was enthusiastically making his rounds winning the hearts of all his siblings and grandparents. Each taking turns welcoming him into our family. His daddy wasted no time giving him a nick-name we have a special affection for, the name Bubba. For us, it means, pure country, simply loving life and loved. Our Bubba is all that and more.
On the third day of our little lamb’s adventures we took him to our coffee shop where he melted the hearts of our dearest friends. Without hesitation our friends Al and Ron became a Grandpa and Uncle. Our family was extending through the pink cheeks of a bundle of joy. It quickly became routine for us to go for ‘coffee’ in the evenings. Family and friends adopted together to convene over ‘coffee‘ was the excuse. Sharing our days together, planning our gardens, and watching Bubba grow. Grandma Karen loved to take Bubba walking around in his little cowboy boots and when I wasn’t watching they were sneaking off to the candy store. To make peace, Grandma always had him pick out extra, you know for mommy and daddy. Funny thing is, there rarely was any chocolate! Grandma, why is the chocolate always gone?
Being a health consciousness mother, I had some chewable children’s vitamins and children’s chewable calcium that I used instead of candy. I allowed him one a day to keep him balanced. Because of that, can you guess what his second word was? Calcium! And clear as a fine bell! Oh, he’s so smart! And despite Grandma Karen claiming he gets it from her side, I claimed he gets it from all that cod liver oil I took. J
The Bubster’s Weak Spot
It was while we were out at Uncle Ron’s farm picking some bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Bubba was a toddler now. His siblings were at school so the Bubster was dedicated momma’s helper. Uncle Ron left us picking cherry tomatoes to go tend to another field. After a short time, I was finally able to convince Bubba to taste a cherry tomato. His little eyeballs popped wide when it busted all open in his mouth and some spilling out. It was then the flavour taunted his taste buds and he squealed with delight! He then came alive picking the tiny tomatoes as fast as his pudgy, little hands could, but not to fill his basket! No, he was filling his mouth and pockets! With this revelation I decided to pick faster and cut short our visit in the tomato field, not because he enjoyed them but because he enjoyed them too much! I didn’t want a sick Bubba.
By the time we caught up with Uncle Ron, Bubba was quiet the sight! When Uncle Ron caught sight of him, I witnessed his weathered, farmer’s face pull up into a delightful, eye sparkling, grin. His little Bubba was strutting behind me through a row covered in cherry tomato. It was in his hair, all over his face, smudge in his shirt and down his legs! But he was one happy little cowboy. That became their bond. From then on when the tiny tomatoes are ready Uncle Ron shows up with his paper bag of ‘goodies’ for his Bubba. And Bubba takes delight in sharing his delicious cherry tomatoes with everyone because that is his way.
Growing with Bubba
As the Bubba grew so did the first of my plants. I had selected the easiest of herbs that I knew would be useful to us and would reseed themselves. Parsley, thyme, peppermint and spearmint and lavender. Bubba was forever at my side outside playing in the garden. He loves the outdoors. Turns out it didn’t take much to stir his curiosity to teach him the secret treasures. He has a natural desire to learn all he can about God’s plants and animals. He quickly picked up the names of herbs and their uses. Unexpected visitors and guests would be greeted by a cherry cheek, smiling boy holding out an assorted handful of green leaves with the expectation that all people knew what to do. To his surprise, the betwixt looks needed explanations to which he happily offered his wisdom. “It is Parsley and Thyme they are herbs. And this is my bubblegum (peppermint) it’s yummy!” he proudly say. Still perplexed at their smiling gift bearer, people would smile and thank him. But that wouldn’t satisfy our Bubba. He would pursue by saying you eat like this! And in his other hand would be the same bunch of green leaves he would gladly start munching on. This would be the part where I really got a kick out of people’s reactions. Some showed amazement and hesitantly would try it just if only to please the good hearted child. And some would look to me to bail them out, and I would. Understanding that they just aren’t ready for the wild side of eating things.
Not So Little Now
As all things do, Bubba and the plants grew. Both stretching out beyond, flourishing strongly past the borders once laid. The plants still continue to spread and cover the ground with edible blessings for us to use in a variety of ways. And the Bubba started grasping all the dreams his daddy and brothers had conquered, as well as, adding some of his own. The long ago days of clinging on my jeans for a stroll are gone and yet, occasionally, you’ll catch him doing the ol’ ‘swoop N’ pick’. I can never restrain myself to go ask with the knowing look, “What’cha eat’n?” “Bubblegum” he would reply with an easy grin.
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Edible: leaves and stems
Uses: as garnish salads, soups, vegetables, and meat dishes
Edible: flowers, leaves, and stems
Uses: as a spice for soups, vegetables, and meat dishes
Uses: drinks, desserts
Uses: drinks, desserts
Uses: jams, jelly, fruit salads, baking
Note: Keep a close watch on your berries. If you have a family member that is anything like our Bubba, you will find the berries disappearing off the plants and turning up in his hands as a gift to you. Because that is his way.
“A man’s children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season. ~ Author Unknown ~
(C) Mammy Oaklee