Right now …

clover

Free flowers from the lawn

…I’m easily manipulated by small gestures like bouquets of clover tucked into bud vases.

… I am living in the longest days of the year. Yet somehow I find myself with very few hours to get things like blog posts written and dinner cooked. 

… I have a work project that needs some attention, a 3-year-old who needs more attention, and a kitten who needs maximum security prison.

black-brown

He's not black in bright light; he's chocolate brown

… my flower beds are half-weeded and half-prepped and not planted for the season. I’m rethinking my garden strategy: I need to eliminate the need for annual flowers, rework beds to allow for 100 percent perennial plants. Out of the blue, a great friend (and talented gardener) shows up with a trunk full of  freshly split perennials and helps to rebuild and redesign an island garden that has gotten out of control.

purple

Purple bud on something

… our vegetable garden is showing signs of many good meals ahead and fresh salads every night.

garden

Right now I am focusing on these things and not all that other stuff.

Harvest


Earlier this year I boasted about our amazing garden and how it produced so much food for us that we had to give a lot of it away. We’ve been spoiled. So many of the meals I prepared and put on the table came from our garden and not the store.

We’ve enjoyed vegetables and herbs as they should be: fresh and free of pesticides and other chemicals.
Yesterday we sliced the last mini- watermelon, munched the last of the grape tomatoes and chopped the last stalks of celery for a salad. We have a few ripening tomatoes lined up for duty on the window sill. And then … that’s it.
Kind of sad for us all. Most of all for Girl from the East, who discovered the joys of the garden this season.

We captured the above picture of her a few weeks ago carrying in the day’s harvest. She has been an active participant in the garden all year. She helped drop the seeds into the earth this spring, and checked almost daily for sprouts — proof that the planting was successful. She learned how to pull weeds. How to water the plants. Most recently, she perfected plucking the fruits of all her labor from the stalks and placing them gently into a basket. 

It just may come naturally to her. I sent this picture to a friend I have in Nanchang, China, the nearest large city to where my baby girl was born. She wrote back that with her interest in growing and eating vegetables, my baby is truly a Jiangxi girl. What little we know about baby girl’s roots is that she came from a rural, farming community. I’m grateful to have this one connection to my girl’s origins.

Garden love

Today I decided I’m not going to write about the trials of overcoming a shattered friendship with an addict, the frustrations of raising a teen and a toddler, living with one car or whatever else is driving me to get back on “the happy pills.”

Today I am going to focus on something wonderful: our summer garden. While the rest of the world is watching the 2008 summer games in Beijing, relaxing by the shore or chasing Sasquatch through the bayou, we’re reaping the benefits of our best-ever summer garden. We’ve had a lot of rain this season, which has made our plants grow crazy-nuts huge.

Oh sure, our water bill will be high and the weeding is endless, but we’ve had some of the most amazing salads, fresh salsas and dishes with zucchini, squash, tomatoes, peppers and corn. I love love love having a big bowl of freshly picked vegetables on my kitchen counter. For those of you know at thing or two about me, fresh produce=sexytimes.

Here are some of the highlights.

The goods:

The good earth:



Good for the garden:

Good god:

**I found the praying mantis in our coneflowers. The biggest one I’ve ever seen. We took it inside to photograph. Left the room for a moment to get a new lens. When we returned, all I can say is, things got very strange. The weirdness isn’t all happening south of the Mason-Dixon line.**

Weeds & 'Weeds'

The husband half of this relationship has been out-of-town covering a convention for the last week. So, it’s been baby girl and me putzing around the property.
Mainly, she’s playing and I’m pulling and endless array of weeds poking up everywhere. We had our play dates, our time in the pool, at the park, visitors and trips to the library. And now it’s back to the weed pulling. Between weed wrestling, I watched the lawn sprinkler go back and forth, back and forth, while the hands travel slowly around the clock face until it’s time for baby girl to go to bed.
Perhaps there’s a connection between the sprinkling and the weeding? There was a time in my life when I yearned for this lifestyle. And it’s not all bad. Let me repeat: It’s not all bad.
I sat up late every night watching “Weeds” seasons I and II on DVD. I can’t get enough of that show. I’ve seen every episode countless times and I never tire of it. Why? Well, it all started with five or six random strangers telling me I looked like Mary-Louise Parker. (They used to say I looked like Elizabeth Perkins in her “Big” era). Both Parker and Perkins star in “Weeds.” That piqued my curiousity.

I don’t really think I do, but hey, I’m not going to argue with random compliments. Curiosity is a gateway addiction. After a few episodes of “Weeds”, I was hooked. For the uninitiated, “Weeds” has nothing to do with unwanted garden plants. These plants are very much wanted. And, if you grow them, you are wanted.
Part of the draw is the characters, which are all fantastically played by a cast of top-rate actors. The writing is smart. Plus, I love looking at the way the characters dress, the way their homes are decorated, and how they drop those F bombs left and right. Oh, love the little fantasy world that plays out over and again on the TV screen. A little fantasy to forget sometimes about the real weeds poking up through the concrete jungle.