Our family had a weekend with the in-laws in Rome, unplugged by necessity, but actually it is a relief to be unreachable. Well, they do have land lines, but you have to take a walk up the hill for cell service and while you are doing that you feel the ridiculousness of constantly glancing at the bars on your phone when there is a panorama of rare beauty in the Endless Mountains.
I got up this morning with one thing on my mind: laundry. We had some full hampers when we left, so there was plenty of it! Then I opened the washer lid to see the load of towels and washcloths I had put in so they wouldn’t get stinky while we were gone. Alas, they had not gotten transferred to the dryer and were just plain… searching for a word here…. putrid. Wow, I thought to myself. What a great start!
Then I took a walk outside, checking on the gardens. I noticed that the weeds grew about 18 inches while we were away. Seriously, if you take your eyes off those things… As I strolled further, I saw that the tomatoes are in full bloom. And the row of Amish Pastes that I planted for sauces, they appear to be cherry tomatoes. Wow, I thought to myself, that little green house lady just messed with my summer. We can never keep up with just one cherry tomato plant. How about a whole row of them??? Gabe said hopefully they will get bigger, like develop into Amish Pastes after all. I am not holding my breath. Oh, the drama that can attend gardening.
We have whopping big broccoli heads ready to harvest, and the constant flow of green beans. But the best of all are the raspberries right now. We eat all we want, enough to make us sick, and still there are more. It is lovely. Wanna see the new variety Gabe planted?
Aren’t they amazing? Five berries filled the palm of my hand. I am so grateful that Gabe takes care of the pruning and staking. Picking is more fun.
I also brought in our first cucumbers and sliced them up to eat with our breakfast eggs. They are so delightfully fresh that I think I will just throw out the store bought ones in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
On my way back into the house I noticed that the portulaca planted in the window boxes is nearly bursting itself with effort these days. My grandma liked these flowers, so in her memory I planted some this year. I had forgotten how sprightly and durable it is. I forget to water the window boxes too many days, yet it thrives. And every time I look at these flowers, I think of my grandma’s cement walkway scuffed by manurey chore boots going to the back door, yet bordered the whole length with a cheerful row of portulacas. That’s how my grandma was, and it makes me happy to think of her.
I just read recently that the purslane that is the bane of my garden is a relative of portulaca and it is edible. I bet my grandma knew that too. I remember when she showed me a cheese plant with its diminutive seed pod that looks like a tiny wheel of Swiss. She urged me to eat it, and after that the play with the cousins included some foraging for snacks in the weeds. If you like edible wild plants, check this out. Here is how it looks.
Now that the lettuce in the garden has bolted, I am considering a salad of purslane and mallow (cheese plant) with a generous side of freshly sliced cucumber. We could kill two birds with one stone, pull weeds and harvest lunch in one fell swoop. Sorry. It’s late and the idioms do tend to get out of the bag.
I LOVE this season even more than reading and writing. Maybe you noticed? I think heaven will be like May and June weather with the harvests of July and there won’t be weeds. I think heaven will be walking with my grandma through gardens that have no Japanese beetles endlessly chewing and making out in the raspberries. I think heaven will have plenty of zucchini for everyone but not too much.
What is your favorite thing about summer?