Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Fun and Garden Veggies

It has been almost a week since we visited the doctor and determined that my grandmother had something that is "going around." The doctor wrote her a prescription for an antibiotic, and she growled. She said, "I wanted you to give me a shot and clear this mess up!" He said, "I'm going to do that, too!" So, she got a Kenalog shot and a prescription for Amoxil three times per day for 10 days! The doctor told her that these, along with an OTC cough syrup, would help, but she would cough for about 2-3 weeks when she talks or laughs. As he left the exam room, she grumbled, "Well, I sure didn't want to cough for 6 weeks." (Where did THAT come from?!) I told her he said 2-3 weeks, not six, and maybe it would be sooner.

So, she is still coughing, but not as much, and I can tell she IS better... although she told me yesterday her aide had told her she needed to see a doctor! I have my doubts that the aide said that... and she doesn't need to see a doctor now... she is BETTER!

Nobody loves a summer garden better than my grandmother. She is now telling people she is "nearly 96" - have you noticed that at some point people quit hiding their age and actually start to brag about it again?! Anyway, she has a little patch of garden in her back yard that a couple of people are "helping" her with - green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, and maybe a bell pepper or two. She talks about hoeing and watering the beans, and honestly, I have only seen them through a window, but they look beautiful. If ever anyone had a green thumb, it is my Mam-ma!

Last week, Mam-ma told me she was wanting some purple hull peas, and so far, she had not been able to locate any. There is a deacon in her church who has supplied her from his garden for years, but this year he didn't grow any. Did I mention he is about 86 or 87?! She asked me to watch the farmer's market and produce stands for purple hull peas. I stopped at my regular produce stand and bought her a sandwich-sized zip-loc bag of shelled peas - $3.50. She was tickled. She said she would "like to have a bushel if I could get them." I asked if that was shelled or unshelled, and she said "I could sit her and shell them." She said last year a bushel unshelled was about $20. So, I stopped again at the produce stand, and the man told me that he could have a bushel for me on Monday (this was Saturday). A bushel unshelled was $22 - shelled for $30, and he said you actually got more peas - 10 to 12 lbs. So I phoned my grandmother, and she said "Let's just buy the little bags." I pointed out they were much more expensive that way, and we were talking $8 between shelled and unshelled, so she said, "Okay, order a bushel shelled for $30." I did, and I assured the man I would be back on Monday to get the peas.

Yesterday morning, my grandmother called me... "have you gotten the peas yet?" Noooo... I told the man I would come in the afternoon. She laughed and said, "Well, my neighbor just brought me a half bushel to shell!" I told her I was sorry, but there was no way to cancel this order, so she would now have another bushel of peas. She said that would be okay, she guessed, and while she was freezing the ones she was shelling, she could freeze the others, too. To freeze peas, you have to gently boil them on the stove, then drain the water and plunge them into icy cold water - it's called "blanching" and kills any critters and bacteria before freezing. It's hot work... and hard work if you are 96, but she insisted on doing this! So, I took her the peas - a Wal-Mart style plastic bag FULL of peas... well more than she would have netted shelling her own.

As my mom points out... you can buy peas at the store - in a can or a freezer bag! My grandmother cooks about half of one of those sandwich bags of peas at a time, so at that rate, we will have peas for the rest of our lives! At least it has occupied her time for a few days... although any time she is using her stove like that, I cringe and pray she turns off all the burners completely when she is finished. So, if you need purple hull peas, you know who to call!

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