Friday, May 28, 2021

Life Is Like An Onion

From Seed to Shining Seed

onion field with blooms

Here in New Mexico, onions are an important crop. But lately, more than for the onion bulb itself, the seeds are being grown. So we get to see hundreds of thousands of seed heads, which I think are very pretty. "Summer snowballs" or maybe "smelly summer snowballs" would be a good description of some of the onion fields. 

"Life is like an onion," Carl Sandburg wrote. "You peel it year by year and you cry."

onions going to seed

But no! No crying today, I hope. If there be tears, may they be happy tears, healing tears.

Those onions are tall. Waist high. It is hard to tell in the photos. 

Large onion field in Las Cruces, Mesilla


Taking photos in the strong sun, I felt like an overbrowned crouton, next to a big bunch of baking onions.  The onions scented the hot air. I was awash in French Onion Air. Before I knew these were being grown for seed, I kept saying, "Why don't they harvest these? They are going to get soft and bitter!"

I didn't get very many nice photos, because even though I would try to adjust the camera in the car, once in the sun I couldn't see anything on the screen, even in the shade. Boo! Yet some bloggie frens are having freezing and near-freezing weather, and rain, rain, rain.

I met my husband at Cracker Barrel for lunch. He eats like a bird, but at Cracker Barrel, he eats better than usual. I love those purple-leaf plums they have planted all around the restaurant. You can see some plums ("no culinary use," as they say) in this photo below. I wonder, though if they do have a culinary use: perhaps to tint an apple or other light-colored jelly a beautiful color? 

purple black leafed plums

I like the light through the leaves, giving them a flame-like look:

purple leaves on a black leaf plum tree

On the way home, I stopped by my community garden plot and got these: Mint, Lemongrass, and more Egyptian Walking Onions that were arching over, out of the garden into the path and getting squished.

walking onions, mint, lemongrass blades of grass

I should have taken a picture of the lemongrass clump. It is thigh-high. Sharing the bigger clump freed it to grow!

My blog is named "The Merry Needle." Lately, it has been too much The Idle Needle, but I did get some needle-weaving done, making a little pair of what I call "Persian Lantern Earrings." I have made many of these. They are based on a rope design by Jill Wiseman. I just make a little piece and cap it top and bottom. I am grateful to have a job, but gone is my energy by the end of the day! I can barely keep up with the household chores. 

I am not in the mood for needle-weaving, though. I am in the mood for beaded cross stitch! Gah! Come on, eyes, stop drooping down and shutting! Help me stay awake and make some pretty beaded designs!

 Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly


  1. I like the field of white balls, but must smell very strong in the heat!

  2. Wow! Never seen fields of onions just grown from seed. We live close (next county over) to Herefordshire, which is famed for its orchards of apples, plus plums and pears grown widely, and HOPS (for brewing). There is a lot of soft fruit grown too (all this is commercially of course) and huge fields of Asparagus. We love to go there and see proper food being grown. You can get some bargains at the Ledbury Car Boot Sales in the summer, when there is ripe fruit to clear.

    Those earrings you make are unusual. I too, am wanting to sit down with a UFO x-stitch project (have several of those) but WHICH box are they in in the pink bedroom, and can I reach it as some of Tam's big boxes of "stuff" are still in the way!

    Anyway, it's new curtains first - fabric arrived on Thursday (gorgeous it is) and lining should be arriving today, plus I was given the last of a roll of it just for the cost of postage from a Facebook friend in Cornwall.

    Hope you can get some sewing done. Look on it as Therapy!!

  3. you are one busy bee, plus working a JOB.. don't know how you keep up. My dad grew every thing we ate, for all my years I lived at home. Onions were always one of the foods. that said, I had no idea onions made SEEDS and never saw one go to seed, he grew the green onions and the ones you dig up from under ground, but i only ever saw him plant seedlings. not sure where he got them. i bet that is one stinky field, and I don't eat onions at all and can't stand the smell, when bob cuts onions for a sandwich or for salad, i put all of that in a sealed bag and take it out imedeiatly. he knows not to put any of it in the garbage can... I have scent allergies and that is one I can't handle. i love the photos and to me they are great

  4. Well, I guess it makes sense - the seed for all the onions in stores and seed packets needs to come from somewhere. My walking onions don't seem to have much if any pink on them, I don't know if they are different variety from yours, or if growing conditions can change the color. We've been mostly cool and damp this May. I have very vague memory of driving past onion fields near Davenport IA as child. I think one of Mom's relatives was an onion farmer? No idea of the exact location, but I think the farm is long gone now, under housing or something.

  5. The onion field is interesting. You say that you didn't get many nice photos, but I think these are so pretty. Yes, they look like snowballs. I can imagine the scent being very strong. I have been getting white onions at the store lately and cooking with them often. I think onions make everything taste better. So nice that you had an outing with your husband at Cracker Barrel. The light shining on the plum trees looks lovely. The Persian earrings you made are very unique and cool. You are so talented, my friend.

    Have a restful weekend, Holly.


  6. All I can think of now is a creamy onion soup. Mmmm.

  7. Oh I really like that field of onions. I really do! You are so funny...feeling like an overbrowned crouton :) you do write the best posts. Love those purple leaf plums too!

  8. Now that's a lot of onions!!! And you're right: They do look like snowballs. I had a blue giant allium that I loved, but sadly lost it on one of our unforgiving winters. I am fond of onions and they go in almost everything I cook. Here we have fields of sunflowers and pumpkins....two favorite things...and at summer's end, I drive the back roads looking for them. I have never heard of needle weaving, but the earrings are sweet. Looks like the art requires some nimble fingers and great eyesight. ~Robin~

  9. What will you do with the mint you brought home? I need ideas because I have 2 mint plants ( in pots so they can't escape). One is regular old mint and the other is Curly Mint. Quite pretty actually. But I never use any.
    I like the pictures with the light shining through those red leaves.

    1. I like to put the mint in iced tea. I get the $1 unsweetened ice tea from McDonald's and once I put the mint in (usually the spearmint as shown), crushing it with my fingers before it goes in, it makes it taste a lot sweeter without adding sugar (since I'm diabetic). I also chop it very fine and add it to tuna salad along with the relish (just a little because it is strong). It also goes into homemade picadillo. I make the picadillo and then it is one of the garnishes I put on top, along with chopped radishes. Then I use little pieces of tortilla to scoop it up with. Finally, I like to just bring some inside, crush it a bit with my hands, and put it in my room or anywhere I want to smell fresh.

  10. I love your earrings! I have a few onions I missed so let them go and are just behind those you show. I’m looking forward to getting the seeds.

    1. Onion seeds are so large when you consider the onion! I like that as they are easy to harvest and plant.

  11. The onion fields look so great! I have never seen anything like that. The earrings you made are lovley!

  12. Those earrings are very interesting! I've never heard of needle weaving.
    The onion fields are beautiful. I've never seen a picture of one before.

  13. Summer onion flowers! How lovely. On the farm we would leave a few blooms to reseed, but others we would chop off. Interesting earrings! Janice

  14. I am having trouble leaving messages on Blogger blogs. Doesn't affect WordPress or TypePad, though. I hope this finally goes through.

    I've been in your shoes where the sun was so bright all I could do was point, shoot, and hope for the best. I thought you did a great job. I had NO idea onions were grown from seed. I learn something new and interesting every day.

    Looks like your garden plot is paying off nicely. You are already harvesting some wonderful herbs.

    I hope your weekend is great and you will have time to enjoy a bit of needlework. Happy Memorial Day weekend, dear Holly.


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