Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day #85 Pea Soup and Sweet Peas

Miss Polly, my alarm cat, is 14 years old. She's lived with me since kittenhood. And this week, for the very first time, I found out that she likes pea soup. You'd think in more than a dozen years I could have figured that out. But, come to think of it, I doubt I've cooked pea soup since I left Vermont 17 years ago.

Anyway, last Saturday I was sitting at the computer, writing. I'd placed my empty bowl of soup off to the side. Polly jumped onto the table, pounced on the bowl, and licked it clean.

Was it a brand new taste for her, or had she perhaps nosed through some garbage when she was a teeny kitten, and found the leavings of a pea-soup meal so that the smell of my pea soup activated a long-forgotten memory?

And then, the other day I was getting together a bunch of old gardening magazines (from 2006, but the information in there is still good) to donate to the American Kidney Services. They'd called me and specifically asked for magazines. Naturally, I browsed through a few of them before filling the (BIG) box, and I noticed pictures of a plant I haven't thought about in ages.

It's not that I don't know about these plants. it's just that they bypassed my radar somehow when I moved into this house six years ago. As soon as I saw the picture, though, I practically pounced on the idea of planting sweet peas. I whipped out my White Flower Farms catalog, and the one from Wayside Gardens, and found that to get sweet peas, I'll have to plant seeds. That's fine with me.

Sweet Petey Pie by Tami Landis

I couldn't find a public domain picture of a sweet pea flower. This is the closest I came, (and here's where I found it in case you want to check out public domain pictures like this one):

Why a dog? Well, when I typed "sweet pea" or sweet pea flower" in the search box, they gave me a picture of sweet potatoes, one called "sweet tooth" (a photo of frosting-topped doughnuts), candy, and -- would you believe it? -- a mango. And this dog. But all of this is beside the point. Let's get back to memories of tastes.
I got to wondering whether bees who have never seen a sweet pea before are surprised when one of their foragers brings the nectar into the hive, and all her sister worker bees say, "Yes! Great new taste!"

Or does the memory of sweet pea nectar go back through millions of bee generations? Does the hive simply know that sweet peas are good because bees have been pollinating them for millions of years? When I have sweet peas flowering in my yard next spring, will the forager bees see them and say, "FINALLY!! It's about TIME somebody planted those things again!"

If only I spoke BEEnglish. Then I'd know the answer.

BEEattitude for Day #85 :
       Blessed are those who remember the good things, for they shall encounter them again. 

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       Garden catalogs and submarine sandwiches

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