In the countryside, every family has a vegetable field in the courtyard. To grow some vegetables, of course, a leek is indispensable, because a dish that northerners usually like to eat is scrambled eggs with leeks. Leeks are easy to support, and they can take root and sprout when they are sown, and they can be harvested one after another after planting them once.
In autumn, the leeks begin to stalk and bloom. The leek flowers are mashed and salted, which can be used as a condiment, or mixed with some cucumber segments, green peppers, sprinkled with salt, and pickled to make a refreshing and delicious pickle.
After the leek flowers are cut off, the long leek stems are left isolated in the wind. Some people just cut off the stalks and throw them away when the leeks are being cut. Most people regard chive stalks as "Bao'er". In fact, chive stalks are also vegetables. Cut them into long pieces of about three centimeters and use them for frying shredded pork or scrambled eggs. It is a delicious appetizer.
But not all leek stems can be eaten. With a fingernail pinch, the leek stems that can pinch juice and water can be cooked. On the other hand, the leek stems that cannot be pinched by the nails, even if the fire is used in the pot, the cooked vegetables will not be chewed.
The leek stems that cannot be eaten as vegetables are used to play. Because the leek is very flexible, it can be used to weave some toys like wicker.
During the Mid-Autumn Festival, there are many days with drizzle, and mothers will take advantage of the rainy days to cut leeks and make dumplings to improve their lives. The mother put on a raincoat, cut half a dustpan and leeks in the vegetable garden in the courtyard, and then called her sons and daughters to come out to choose vegetables. The four of us, brother and sister, all sat in a group by the door that was slightly brighter. Mother put a bamboo basket aside to store the selected leeks. We scrambled to grab a small handful each, grabbed it with our left hand, pulled the stem first with the right, then chose to remove the rotten leaves, and finally pinch off the withered tips. We work fast or not. After a handful of leeks are selected, there are often many rotten leaves and withered tips wrapped in them. The mother needs secondary "processing" before the leeks can be used. Of course, mothers choose "second-hand" chives while judging who chooses cleanly, seriously, and fast. She will verbally praise children who perform well, and children who choose "dirty, messy, and poor". There will be criticism, and even punishment for mischievous people - let the cook burn the fire or brush the pot, etc.
While choosing leeks, we began to collect leeks. The leek stalks chosen by my mother have long been "divided up" by us. I even steal leeks from other people when they're not looking. The younger brother is the youngest in the family, and it doesn't matter if he can't choose leeks, but he has accumulated a lot of leeks by relying on his ability to make trouble, lie, and rob, and put them neatly next to his small stool. His small eyes were rolling around, and he always wanted to compete for other people's leeks, and he was also guarding his own leeks from being stolen by others.
The leeks were finally selected, and everyone started to play with leeks. Leek stems can be woven into boats, towers, houses and other toys.
At this time, the mother is the instructor. She first used some of the longest stems to weave the bow, spire, roof, etc., and then the children continued to weave it separately. When the children are made crooked, slanted, and shriveled, the mother will immediately start again, or remove some stalks, or help us correct again. At this time, everyone concentrated their energy into their hands and hoped that their works would be the best.
Writing things is often easy at the beginning and difficult at the end. Because when I started the series, my mother started the series, and I just followed the series, but I didn't have the patience to go back and forth. When we were young, we were anticlimactic in everything we did, and lacked the persistence and tenacity to make a good start and a good end. In addition, leek stems are limited after all. No matter whether they are "full" or "full", they can never satisfy the "ambition" of children. So, the game will end in a hurry.
At this time, it was almost noon. The mother first helped the children to complete the "work", then commented again, and reassigned a task to everyone, which was nothing more than cleaning the "battlefield", washing leeks, chopping boards, etc. For work, she went to knead noodles, cut leeks, refine cooking oil, adjust stuffing, and prepare dumplings.
Toys made of leek stems have to be played for several days, until they become yellow, and they are reluctant to throw them away. Sometimes, due to the rainy days, such toys would rot and emit a foul smell. It was inevitable that we would be yelled at by our father before we reluctantly threw them into the garbage heap.
In my memory, there were several years of making leek, about the mid-1980s. After I entered middle school, this game left me.
No one can keep the years, no one can stop aging, only the memories and strings of beauty from the past can be left behind.