Monday, March 30, 2009

Picking Daffodils

Today, after 400 days straight of rain, the sun decided to make an appearance, so the Chesapeake Bay Children and I went out to the daffodil field to inspect the progress of the flowers.

We brought a few baskets with us and commenced to picking since all the ones we'd picked last week were crispy and ready to be sent to the Flower Funeral Home.

At one point it occurred to me that although they outnumbered me they were not picking nearly as many flowers as I was. It then occurred to me that they'd never been told exactly how to pick a daffodil nor had they ever been in a situation where time is money--in other words, the more you picked the more you were paid. Growing up around here, that was the deal. You could stand in the fields all day long and take your sweet time picking, and maybe you'd earn a nickel.

Or you could pick like there was no tomorrow and earn real money. Real money amounted to about five bucks that you'd then squander at Drug Fair or Murphy's Mart on albums, for example.

(For anyone who is unfamiliar with what an album is, and the Chesapeake Bay Children might be among those who aren't, let me get back to you on that after I pause to reflect upon this question: If only yesterday I was playing 8-track cassettes, and then the day after that I had albums, and then just one week later I had regular cassettes, and then just an hour or so later there were CD's, well exactly how many more days is it until I can expect to be fed pureed broccoli through a straw while wondering exactly which one of my caretakers is stealing my knee socks from me? Can that day really be far off given the rate at which time is flying by?)

Here is how you pick a daffodil:

1. Bend over. Pray that neither your back nor your hamstrings snap.

2. Place your right hand at the top of one flower stem, and your left hand on another. (You are picking two flowers at once, it's all about the speed.) Trace your way down each stem until you come within very close proximity of the leaves which sprout from the bottom.

3. Pinch the flower stem. Do not tug or pull, which merely pulls it up from too far below the ground. Just pinch it. Quickly. Hurry up! Time is money.

4. Stand up straight for just a moment because if any more blood rushes to your head as you're stooped over, the children just might panic when you pass out. When you stand up hoping for relief and feel a fainting spell coming on from standing up too quickly, close your eyes, breathe deeply and try to unravel the mystery of how you are destined to pass out whether you're bending over or standing up. Realize there are no favorable answers and resume picking.

5. Rinse and repeat steps 2 and 3. Except pick up the pace!

6. When you're bending over praying that the only snap you hear comes from a daffodil stem, pretend that you're in a race and that you have to pick way more than anybody else including your own children.

7. Move faster! You're not picking fast enough. Good glory you're moving slower than molasses in January.

8. Consider for a moment the possibility that you have one or two issues with being competitive and stifle any desire to say in a sing-songy tone, "I picked more than you did," to your own children.

9. Instead, merely point out that their procedure for picking might be deterring them from picking faster and more efficiently.

10. Watch their faces screw up in incredulity at your instructions because really we're just out in a field picking flowers and nobody is in a race and nobody's getting paid for picking the flowers, we're just there to enjoy each other's company in the beauty and serenity of nature.

10. Consider that perhaps you need a vacation because you appear to be a bit, shall we say, wrung up?

11. Place the flowers in a vase and forget about them until next week. Also try and forget about the army of ants you saw marching up the side of your porch as you were bringing the flowers inside from the field.

12. Cry at the realization that you do indeed have an ant infestation and the ants are going to win this year.

13. Straighten up and go to work on Monday in full, utter and complete denial that you have an ant or any other problem. Keep denying until you convince yourself completely.

14. Good job.


Grandma J said...

So what you're telling me is that I brought my scissors for nothing? I cut all the flowers I buy with scissors. I don't grow flowers, but years ago when I actually had a yard I used to cut them with scissors. Of course I only needed a bouquet. See? I am so uneducated in the process of anything hortoculturistic...ok, that's not a word.

Back to JJ coming with me to the Blogfest...I don't think he would be allowed to go in some of the places I want to see, unless they allow dogs in strip joints ..I mean museums.

Karen Deborah said...

oh man, grandma j is coming to the blogfest? I'm so jealous. Ya'll are going to have fun. Don't worry be happy, infestations are part of your life. If you remove whatever it is they are interested in they will go away.
Is that a fiddler crab over yonder?

Anonymous said...

Ants wont cross a chalk line.....but that will only help until it rains!!!!

Mental P Mama said...

I need an Advil. And The Bird even has a turntable where she plays my old albums: Al Stevens, Jethro Tull, ELP... Yeah, baby.

Anonymous said...

RE: Your #10

I'd offer an observation, but.... instead of being told that I need to get out more often, I'll just start describing MY maladies as being 'wrung up' too.

As used in;
Wondering if you could see the same silver streak of moon in last night's clear sky that I was looking at, got me so all wrung up I couldn't get to sleep.

Annie said...

great, that is great that I know how to pick a daffodil now, cos I can see that they are going to be bursting out all over here shortly!

hope you have a good day at the paying job...see you can see I am becoming acclimatised to the time zone...I now realise that if it is day time for me it must be daytime for you too! Hooray!

I am off to lunch with the daughter the baby the daughter's friend and the daughter's friend's baby the cafe where we all met 9 months ago, just after the babies were born!

Daryl said...

I still refer to them as albums .. and records ... please I am convinced the minute I learn the 'new words' someone will change them .. I mean are they bands or groups?

foolery said...

I also call them albums. But then I call my daughters any cat name that spring to my lips, I call my husband Jeff, I call Gubby Chas, and no one has come to expect much from me.

It's better this way.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - You can cut the store-bought flowers with scissors but if you're picking for quantity in a finite period of time (in other words, it's a race), the scissor method won't fare too well out in the picking fields. I think JJ would love it here....he's already e-mailed me and said he's a "maybe" pending your OK.

KD - I think what the ants are interested in is my house. The whole shebang. They are trying to evict me, and I think this year they might succeed. So far, it's too cold for the fiddler crabs but it's only a matter of time....

Anonymous - These particular ants would laugh and point and laugh some more at a chalk line. These ants mean business.

MPM - I only WISH I had a turntable that still worked. I have a tone of albums and nothing to play them on. Maybe you could bring it to Blog Fest?

Anonymous/RC: At the risk of repeating myself, you do need to get out more often. (If this is another Anonymous, then never mind, my apologies.)

Annie - hope your lunch was wonderful and that you ate something decadent. I scarfed down some dry salad and flavorless chicken soup. Please tell me your lunch was more exciting.

Daryl - Amen. And call me old, but I rather liked the days when the bands/singers/groups/whatever dressed up. In their matching polyester tuxes even. Not like Lawrence Welk, more like the Commodores or the Temptations or the Whispers or the...well, let me just stop now. I'm obviously old.

Foolery - Love to read your comments at the end of an exhausting day, they provide much needed stress relief in the forms of exceessive oxygen being inhaled and exhaled and the mid-section being exercised by laughter.

That's the only exercise I'm getting today, so thank you. Thank you very much.

Have a great Monday evening.

big hair envy said...

When I rally the troops for a pre-Blog Fest gathering (NNG & Mom x 2), we'll help you pick those daffodils....unless, of course, I manage to put it off until after daffodil season....which is a good possibility. In that case, we will just need to go to the Sandpiper and work out the details...:)

Anonymous said...

I love seeing fields of daffodils almost as much as I love taking an evening cruise on the creek while the sun is setting. Your pictures continue to amaze me - even your fuzzy eagle - that's how everything looks to me, anyway, since I'm too vain to wear my glasses!

Annie said...

well, that is interesting cos I had chicken soup too! But it did have some flavor though. No not very decadent today with two 9 month olds trying to eat their lunch and smear it everywhere...and get out of their chair! What fun! But that is what I am here for!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BHE - I think Sandpiper is the ticket.

Anonymous - An evening cruise on the creek is priceless (unless of course there's a gale blowin'). I understand about the failing eyesight. I'll be the last human on the planet wearing contacts for distance since I will never, ever let anyone put a laser beam in my eye (it's the exact same logic that said nobody was ever going to pierce my ear, and so far they haven't. Oh, and when I say logic I mean fear.) Maybe bring the glasses along and put them on just for the boat ride when nobody except the eagle and the osprey and the gulls and the herons will see you.

Annie - Wonderful that you got to spend time with your family and with 9 month olds who are so uninhibited. Hope the rest of your trip is enjoyable, and don't forget....Mathews is but 3 hours south of DC. (Yes, I sound like a broken record.)

Anonymous said...

Repeating yourself?

Maybe it's age catching up with memory....or am I dense in not being able to understand what you mean?
And yes, it was me.

ps. Have we had this conversation before?