By Kay Brown
The Garden Gate
When I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, I start thinking about childhood happenings. The other night I thought about going to my aunt and uncle’s. They lived in Pittsfield, and when I was 10 I would go visit for week.
I met a girl that lived in the same block as my relatives, and was my age. She had two brothers, one older, one younger, and in a few years a baby sister. We did go to the city swimming pool once or twice a week, other wise we played boy games.
I was a “tomboy” so that was fine with me. They taught me to play marbles, you know, draw the circle in the dirt-toss your marbles out into the circle then everybody had what you called a shooter. It was a bigger marble and some of them were really pretty. I had a black leather bag that had a drawstring in the top, and a collection of marbles. When you shot the “shooter” you were supposed to knock a persons marble out of the circle and then it was yours. You had to be fairly good or you would end up “losing all your marbles.” Do you suppose that's where that saying comes from?
Another game was Jacks which mostly girls played, and everybody knows that one I think!
One of the “tomboy” games was Mumbley-Peg, not sure about the spelling on that one. You had to have a nice pocket knife, a sharp one. Mine had two blades and was black. You opened one blade and held the point on the tip of each finger, one at a time and then flipped it up and over onto the ground. It had to stick upright to get a point. One finger at a time and then from the back of your hand, then from your wrist, on your elbow and then your shoulder. The last two you had to be standing up. The person with the most points collected without missing twice in a row, wins.
I’m sure other kids had their own style, but that's the way we played it.There was another segment to it. You could open both blades in an I shape and toss it in the air and try to stick it. If it landed on its back with both blades pointed up in the air there was a point system for that also. Kept kids occupied for an afternoon in the summer. Can you imagine kids spending a summer afternoon now, doing that.
It’s getting pretty busy in the greenhouse now. Lots of plants and flowers up, and time to transplant. With the wet conditions and more rain coming we can’t get in the garden to till. I do have some nice cabbage plants ready, maybe somebody has a drier garden and will buy some to plant.
Must get busy, so here is this week’s recipe: Thai steak stir-fry: 1 tsp. veg. oil; 1/2 pound skirt steak, cut against the grain into thin strips; 1 pound green beans, trimmed; 4 tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger; 4 cloves garlic, minced; 2 tbsp. fish sauce; 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large; 2 cups cooked rice, for serving.
In a wok or large skillet; heat the oil over med.-heat. Add steak and cook, stirring until browned, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer steak to a plate. Add beans, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring until beans are crisp-tender 5 minutes. Return beef and any juices to pan along with fish sauce and basil. Cook 1 minute. Serve with rice. Quick and tasty. See you next week, behind The Garden Gate.