By LYNNE IRONS
Last Saturday afternoon was so beautiful all my plans for a day in the garden fell through. I meant to pick and process more tomatoes, eggplants and maybe make myself a stirfry. Instead I sat right down on the ground and ate my supper. I started with some absolutely perfect haricots verts (our family likes to call them Harry Coverts). They were planted mid-July after I tore up my summer squash in a snit over the devastation from the squash bug. I had a few Mexican bean beetles attack the young beans, but after some hand-picking they came along nicely. I decided that this was the perfect time to plant. My early planting took a hit from the bean beetle. I only managed one or two pickings from them. They were Provider, which usually gives me good results.
After eating my fill of beans, I ate a couple of green peppers with sun gold tomatoes every other bite. I then picked some white turnips (planted less than six weeks ago), washed them in a watering can and ate them raw.
I watched a hawk for a while and called it a day.
I am fond of skunks. I appreciate their eating of rodents and grubs. I may be changing my tune, however. Every morning lately I have needed to replace the hay mulch around many of the garden beds. I hope I do not start to loathe them. I save that emotion for my nemesis, the raccoon. I have one trying to open my sliding door every night. It is terrifying to think of it. I have, hopelessly, attempted to trap, shoot and frighten him. I hope for his demise in the street.
I found a plastic bag of pea seeds in the shed. Who knows how old they are. Hope springs eternal, nevertheless. I planted them, wishing for some pea shoots and tendrils before heavy frost.
I’m crazy about the fall clematis. It insinuates itself into privet hedges and along walls. It behaves in a weedy fashion all summer and then rewards us with its heady scent after other plants have outdone themselves.
Big thanks to Danny Larsen. He delivered us some fine lunches this summer, especially great Edgartown Seafood fish and chips. Also, kudos to him for endlessly repairing our generator that runs the well.
Wendy Andrews questioned my reasons for the Squeezo Strainer when the Cuisinart would blend the tomatoes just as easily and most people have one. I certainly am not out to change minds but in my experience cooking tomato skins makes the sauce too acid. Many sauce recipes call for sugar to counter that acidity. Removing skins while the tomato is raw solves that problem.
Also, Lynn Tuck inquired about the squashes that seem to be a cross of two types — say, a melon and a pumpkin. They probably are just that. I have had many such creatures emerge from the compost. They are the result of cross-pollination the previous year. The plants look great and are resistant to the pests that plague the main crop of squashes, cucumbers and/or melons. However, the resulting fruit never tastes right. I usually resort to porch decoration.
The American electorate is incredibly fickle. Talk about spoiled brats. To wit: Because President Obama did not accomplish everything in his first five minutes in office his approval ratings have plummeted and the media has been manufacturing news for months. As I said last week, we want the government to do everything for us — very little for anyone else — and we are unwilling to make sacrifices. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are hardly noticed unless a loved one is there. I guess we won’t have any government if the Tea Partyers get in.