I gave it my best shot all last week — trying to develop some acceptance of the weather. As an outside worker, I would prefer rain, wind, and/or snow to the heat and humidity. Now, granted, I am grateful to not live in the southwest or a big city but honestly, who would like it? Oh I know — weeds, mosquitoes and garden insect pests.
Some of the weeds in my vegetable garden are actually eye-level while the transplants might be smaller than the day I placed them into their location. I now need to cut rather than pull some of the huge weeds for fear they will dislodge anything struggling to live in a three-foot wide perimeter. Perhaps I should fire up the lawn mower? I tend to be the Queen of Superlatives but, believe me, the situation is becoming desperate.
About mosquitoes — hate ‘em. Thankfully, I wear long pants and sleeves so I can keep the bug repellent to a minimum. I make my own concoction with penny royal oil. I saw on TV that mosquitoes are most fond of people who drink beer. Since I drank my lifetime quota of the beverage in my 20s, I need not worry about that! I suppose for some folks, this knowledge could be a barbecue spoiler.
Last week’s column included a paragraph about buckwheat as a summer crop. I meant to say “fodder for bees” but my poor editor misread my pathetic handwriting as “fodder for beans.” I’ll use this as a segue to talk about beans. My second picking of the haricots verts turns out to be the last. The leaves are positively covered with the horrid hairy yellow larval stage of the Mexican bean beetle. I yanked up every one as I picked a large grocery bag full of beans. I hauled the spent plants with their pests directly into the chicken yard. Hopefully they will polish off every one. I’m continuing to plant green beans every few weeks as the first perfect picking seems to avoid bugs for a few weeks.
Marie and I harvested the garlic last Saturday. We easily got a bushel. I love growing it — it doesn’t seem bothered by any insects and the voles avoid it and anything near it. It is planted on a cool fall day to winter over with a mulch. It barely needs weeding and after harvesting in July, the bed is ready for another crop. We threw in some beans and lettuce. Beans are quick and should yield another picking before cool weather.
I left a few kale plants to go to seed. I planned to gather the seed and plant for this coming winter. The plant took care of business and seeded itself all over the lavender bed and adjacent pathway. Isn’t nature grand? I’ll move the seedlings around hopefully in the next few weeks. By the way, the Chilmark Store sells a nice raw kale salad with golden raisins, Parmesan cheese and a lemon dressing. It hits the spot on a hot day.
Best summer story ever: My young women workers were in the queue at 7A recently. A tourist approached them and requested to cut in line as he was “on vacation.” How can you not be entertained by life!
A final comment on the weather. I heard on NPR a week or so ago that a new planet has been discovered. It is so many light years away. Scientists say it rains shards of glass sideways. So much for complaining about the weather.
Nobel prize winner and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a column on July 15 entitled Hunger Games, USA. It is worth checking out.
It is about the House of Representatives passing the Farm Bill with even a higher level of spending than either the Senate or White House proposed, and entirely eliminating food stamps from the bill.
When first introduced, the Farm Bill was to give subsidies to poor farmers in need. We all know it is now fraud-ridden and benefits corporations and the wealthy.
House Republicans have become mean-spirited and contemptuous of the poor. Look at the last election with the focus on makers and takers.
Some of the House members actually receive farm subsidies themselves — Michelle Bachman’s family, for example.
Food stamps have been a lifeline for many elderly and children. More than half of the recipients are non-Hispanic whites (not that it should matter). The average person can receive up to $150 a month from the SNAP program.
Have any of these House members been food shopping? How far does $150 go? For a month!
I have to, once again, quote Matt Castro’s Portuguese grandmother, “God doesn’t sleep!”