August 24, 2010

Hot Damn & Hallelujah (emphasis on the hot)

We’re having the first heat wave of the summer. The temperature topped out at 107 today and it’s still in the low 80’s at nine o’clock in the evening. That’s almost unheard of around here. It’s normal to have chilly summer mornings (sometimes foggy), hot afternoons, and then down into the 50’s at night. This year we’ve had light rain and overcast skies that didn’t clear all day. Until yesterday.

I’m sitting on the front porch as I write this, a tall cold drink sweating onto the table. My neighbors all around have their windows open to catch the slightest breeze. Laughing kids, barking dogs, a siren, crickets chirping, snippets of conversation – they’re all the sounds of summer in the neighborhood. Even the ground is sighing away the day’s heat. I love the smell of fading day, that freshly watered lawn fragrance and hot asphalt mixed with barbeque, trees, and the creek across the road. The full moon has just made its way around the corner of the house, completing the night’s beauty.

I’m sure I’ll suffer for it tomorrow when the air conditioner at work is straining to keep up. But for now, right this minute, I’m glad summer has come to call.

August 6, 2010

Brain Fog

Why is it that every time I decide to make dilly beans I forget to buy ... umm ... dill.

August 1, 2010

One Of These Things Doesn't Belong

Last night we learned an important gardening lesson: do not cook and eat a vegetable you can’t positively identify. An adventurous attitude is a good thing to have – it can lead to all kinds of wonderful experiences. At least, that's what we hope.

So, when several plants started coming up in the garden beds we decided to let them grow and be surprised at harvest time. It made sense. We knew what we’d planted in the past, and had a pretty good idea of what we’d put into the compost bin. The first surprise was that so many seeds survived the composting process and began growing when we spread compost into the beds. We stood over those little seedlings many mornings guessing what they might be. Cantaloupe, zucchini, pumpkin?

Yesterday we delightedly harvested potatoes, green beans - which we'd actually planted, and some strange squash we hadn't. We were pretty stoked to get so much of our meal from our very own garden. Weren’t we clever and headed for great gardening success.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

The wine was poured, our meal plated, we toasted our bounty, and took a first bite. I don’t know which of us made it back to the kitchen to spit it out first. Holy god, what did we just eat? I’ve never tasted anything so bitter. Swigs of wine, chunks of bread, and a dip into the sugar bowl were required to get rid of the taste.

Turns out I’d forgotten about the gourds I’d tossed into the composter a couple years ago. Gourds are vile tasting. You should never cook and try to eat a gourd. Lesson learned. We ripped out the plants this morning.