“I can see white flowers blooming on the tops of the evergreens.”
The observation came from my 92 year old Grandmother. Last weekend was my turn to visit her as I attempt to do with some regularity despite the 800 miles between us. It’s a wonderful bonding experience and I try to accomplish a few chores like cleaning a closet shelf that’s hard for her to reach or stocking up on grocery items. Friday night when my son and I arrived, she greeted us with fresh sweet corn and Colorado’s Palisade peaches.
First thing Saturday morning I went to survey her garden and sure enough, that pesky vine known as bindweed was poking it’s crown out the tops of her evergreen bushes. But it wasn’t just bindweed, there was creeping spurge and crabgrass growing as well. I enlisted my son with our duties, “We’ll pull all of the bindweed, the creeping spurge and the crabgrass but careful around the calendula and alyssum.” He looked at me rather quizzically, “huh? what’s bindweed?”
Instantly a divide in our generations and in our childhood geography was exposed. Certainly at age 11, I knew the names of all varieties of unwanted weeds and also the flowers and shrubbery that grew in our yard. And while our desert climate won’t host many of those plants, it was a stark realization that I’m probably not engaging him in enough chores – especially outdoor chores.
Contemplating this post, I was thinking about my parenting and the value of kids doing chores at home and even found a few websites that talk about the best way to reward children for jobs. But, I was overlooking the opportunity to really appreciate what I’d discovered. Certainly I haven’t done a good job with my boys’ field botany skills but I was failing to be grateful for the tremendous education that my Grandmother has provided to me.
Early in my childhood I was graced with the opportunity to live with her and in doing so, gained knowledge of every living thing in our midst from the allium and ajuga to cornflowers and morning glories. Her garden and especially the flowers within are her passion and although the low maintenance annuals that grow around my home require little intervention, I do have a deep appreciation for gardens of all sorts. Would I have learned these things without spending that valuable time with her? I doubt it and I also doubt that I would remember them if she did not have such a penchant for natural beauty.
So rather than lament my inadequacies in getting my children to perform household duties, I’m going to seek out opportunities for them to have intergenerational experiences and conversations where they can build memories and knowledge. And there’s no better way to do that than over Palisade peaches.
- 5 and 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup of sugar
- 6 – 8 small peaches, skins on, pitted, cut in half
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
- 3/4 cup wholewheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 and 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk (I use 1%)