By LYNNE IRONS
I am not much of an entertainer. I never want to tackle the near impossible task of cleaning my house to receive guests. However, last Saturday we cooked and ate right in the garden for the second week in a row. I had Bobby at Reliable Market cut some thin steaks off a big slab of sirloin and again made no other purchases. As the steaks were grilling we had potatoes and onions simmering in a big Dutch oven. Most of the onions were pulled earlier in the day inadvertently while weeding. I crawled along my potato patch worrying off a couple of spuds from each plant without pulling said plant. Hopefully, it will keep producing.
There are simply armloads of zucchini. This year, I am determined to keep up with the picking so that I don’t come across any the size of baseball bats later on.
My green bean crop is a tremendous disappointment. I don’t believe I have ever seen so many bean beetles. They are beyond help and hope. The leaves are barely recognizable. I picked the last of the beans with the entire plant hanging over a trash barrel. When the barrel was full, I attempted to set fire to it using the rest of the lighter fluid from the grill. I am a failure as a pyromaniac but hopefully killed quite a number of the pests.
I replanted both carrots and lettuce. It is always time to think ahead. One of the things I love most about gardening is recognizing errors in judgment and having to correct them next year. I read a story years ago about a woman with less than six months to live who used her last September planting spring bulbs she would never see.
My young women workers are horrified when I insist they deadhead and cut things back hard. Now is the time to seriously take nepeta back. It is looking dreadful and after a few weeks will come back nicely and rebloom. Otherwise, it is brown and flops on its neighboring plants to their demise. Don’t be shy, either, with the spireas. Both Anthony Waterer and Little Princess will rebloom if deadheaded now.
My new planting of strawberries has totally run amok. I had to attack the patch with a whip and a chair. I removed a great deal of the runners. Some had as many as six generations, for Pete’s sake. Supposedly two per plant is the recommended amount. If all is well, I should have a good crop next spring. Nothing beats eating warm berries as they are picked. I never buy them — I hate the thought of their traveling from Guatemala using up jet fuel.
Fala Freeman, you are a good citizen. I was stuck in ferry traffic the other day and caught you out of the corner of my eye picking up someone else’s trash as you walked along. I am going to make that a habit now.
There is a two-foot tall tree growing in the crook of another large one on the corner of Spring and Franklin. Nature is so opportunistic. Then I began noticing the number of good-sized (mostly maples) seedlings growing in people’s gutters. I’ll do anything to entertain myself in traffic.
There is quite a bit in the news deserving comment. Thank you to Joyce Sudakoff for bringing my attention to the August edition of Vanity Fair. It contains a great article entitled “Sarah Palin, the Lies, the Meltdowns, and the Moose-sized Ambition.” I’m not much of a magazine reader with the exception of the Nature and Small Farmer’s Journal, but found the article in Vanity Fair well worth my time.
I’m writing this before the big beer summit takes place at the White House. More has been revealed since the 911 tapes of the “break-in” at Professor Gates’s home. I am always amused at the irony of the far-right wing’s thinking. You can be sure there would be plenty of outrage if a “big government official” such as a policeman ever arrested one of them in their own home for yelling.
Last week’s offering in the Nation by Calvin Trillen, Deadline Poet:
“Ensign, Sanford, and multi-tasking conservatives seem somehow ill-equipped to govern and still keep their trousers zipped!”