Monday, July 30, 2012

Dry Skies

It's supposed to be dry here this time of year, the 29th and 30th the least likely days of the year for rain. This weekend it was just what we hoped for, today a summer day too hot for weeding, perfect for naps with the windows open and coffee and crumpet breakfast eaten sitting on the front porch and occasionally the Olympics. I harvested shelling peas and salad greens and a sweet onion and best of all, artichokes, which were steamed for lunch. I planted basil and kale, and ripped out all the weeds that were threatening to swallow the six little feathery asparagus plants. Thistles, so many thistles. I realized how badly we need to sort out the compost area, and cut pieces of blue yarn so that I could measure out where we might put raised beds for next year, and sat in the shade writing a letter, and everything felt lazy and easy, in spite of all that got done.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Things to Plant Next Year

Chamomile. Pattypan squash. More artichokes, I'm crazy about the idea of having artichokes. More asparagus, since I will feel fortunate and unworthy if the sad job I did of it this year results in even two measly spears worth eating. I'm still not ready for cauliflower, or cabbage, though one of my favorite memories from my first year up here was that night I drove through the fields near LaConner, those big heads of cabbage glowing like grounded moons. Last year flowers didn't seem worth bothering with, but this year they seem like the best - no worries about whether a slug's mouth has been there first, no big deal about bugs, really, and no question about when to harvest. The big red poppies Tom planted this year - we could not possibly have too many. More of them. More of things to cut, and keep in jars around the house, with the mint and lavender that grow so well here and smell so good.

How do you know when an artichoke is ready? I searched the internet for that today, then stood out in the back of the field looking at them, spiny leaves slightly parted from the core of the vegetable - is it too late? Some looked so small, there was no question, but there was one guy who I was tempted to bring in. One tomato came with me to the kitchen, still orangey, but if I remember right it was an heirloom variety that wasn't really supposed to get all the way red. The last one had a little spot of rot before I had grown brave enough to pluck it from the vine, but I was undeterred, sliced off that little spot and ate it last thing before bed on Saturday night, a fresh square of local mozzarella between my fingers, a leaf of basil picked off one of the plants that sits in the kitchen window. I held that little treat in my hand over the sink, drizzled balsamic vinegar over it, over my fingers, popped it in my mouth and said goodnight.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Vacation Postcard

I listened to the Mariner's game all the way home from the airport, sipping a chocolate milkshake from Dick's. When I came up over the little rise before the Starbird Road exit, the whole valley appeared before me flooded with color. It had rained all and off nearly all day, and the payoff was the way the clouds created a canvas for the sunset, the whole sky saturated. 

It was appropriate that the first day of summer vacation involved three hours of driving, and a good cheeseburger in a sack for dinner, but I don't intend to go south out of the valley again until it's all over next Tuesday and I'm back to work. The Mariners won in the eleventh inning, by one run, and I stayed up too late but it was okay because Emmy needed to go out anyway, and for the next ten days, that's really all that matters.