When I was 5, and had the sunny front porch all to myself in the
afternoons, I made Dandeliion pies !
And served them on my miniature china tea service, to all my teddy bears
The ingredients were my secret, but, I remember that it was most
important to pick the dandelions while fresh with dew from the
lawn. When I had a full bowlful, (no stems), I poured them out
onto the cement surface on top of the low fieldstone wall, that defined
the front porch of the farmhouse we lived in. I dragged up a low foot
stool, and began to mix the sand, the water, and the dandlions, into a
delicious, chocolatey looking mess.
Then, using a tin baking pan, from my play kitchen utensils, I scooped
up the dough, evened out the top with a small branch, and plopped the
wet "pie" upside down onto the (by now hot from the sun) cement
counter. Many times I had enough "dough" for each of my guests, to have
one. They arrived laster in the afternoon, when the sun had dried and
hardened the little cakes, so you coud actually pick them up and put
them onto your plate. The "tea" was usually water with chopped up grass
bits steeped in it, (also in the heat of the sun).
Before we could go out, for our tea party, all the dolls had to have
their clothes changed, and their hair combed. This could take quite a
while, to do, since many times their clothes were still dirty from last
week's escapades. Often, the half grown kittens had run off,
unceremoniously dragging their jackets behind them. This was very
frustrating for me, and required that I go out (of the porch
playhouse) and "hunt them down", gathering all their dirty and
discarded clothing as I went.
None of the kittens were ever invited to a tea party again, because
their "social tea" manners, just could not be tolerated!
Shortly after that I went into the business, of training wild "kitten"
tigers, using strings with interesting grass pieces attached to them. I
would teach them to just over obstacles, and through firey hoops. This
we enjoyed doing much more, than having tea and getting all dressed up.
Many times, they would hide in the millet barn, which was supposed to be
out of bounds for me. This was a very interesting place, because there
were rows of millet bags stacked ten high , almost to the rafters.
If you found a foothold on the bottom few bags, you could easily crawl
up to the top of the stack, and spy on the kittens, or the barn swallows
in their nests. This escapade ended when a whole stack collapsed,
sending me sliding down to the cement floor. Somehow my parents
discovered the collapsed stack, and the barn was locked up.
The most fun of all, was the old weed overgrown jeep, sitting behind
the barn, but not used anymore. We pretended to go on safari in it,
all over the world. We would pack our lunches in bags in the morning,
and eat them in the open topped jeep. The grass was so tall around it,
that when there was wind, it swayed up and down in giant waves. This
jeep could even sail across the ocean. Sometimes we would fish from it,
and then pretend to roast our catch in the back. There was only one
thing that was better than this old jeep, and that was the real Jeep,
that would come when the millet was very close to being ripe and edible
by birds. The farmer would drive it around the fields, with a "banger"
going off eery few minutes. Sometimes, the driver would stop, and pick
us up for a ride around the fields. It was great noisy fun!
Large clouds of birds of all sorts would sit in the millet fields
gourging on the delicious heads of millet. When we made noise, and ran
into the fields, they would rise up squaking and complaining, and then
in a huge dark cloud, fly off all together. It was also great fun
scaring the birds.
When I was little dandelions were the best flower ever, because it
smelled like sweet lemon, and rubbed off on your nose a yellow smudge.
We would gather them by the bunches and make dandelion chains from the
stems, and wear them on our heads like the "spring queens" that we
were. The only nasty about them was that at night, the flower would
close up, and the next day, they didn't open again. We were "dandelion
queens" for only one day!
Writing by Regina Stemberger