Original Composition Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2010
When I was 5, and had the sunny front porch all to myself in the afternoons, I made Dandelion pies ! And served them on my miniature china tea service, to all my teddy bears and dolls.
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!