I just finished The Intelligent Gardener by Steve Soloman. Abigail Higgins facilitated the purchase of several books for our Homegrown group last winter. It was recommended by Mother Earth News as one of the books for wiser living. It was pretty scientific and made me feel like I was in high school chemistry class. Ugh! However, it was a practical guide to nutrient-dense food. It is for those of us who want to get the highest food value for our efforts in our gardens. “We are what we eat and our food is only as healthful as the soil in which it grows.”

I’ve been busy pondering the following paragraph all week . . .

“As one shapes the garden, so does the garden shape you. It doesn’t matter how the harvest will come out. Just sow seeds and care tenderly for the plants and soil. You have joy. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” What can I add except AMEN!

This past week in the garden world has been spectacular. The plants are giving all they’ve got. As luck would have it, I spent last Saturday doing some serious harvesting. Good thing for me as I experienced a frost on Sunday night — not a black absolute death one, but the end of the tomatoes, green beans and zinnias.

I have several days more to eat the beans and tomatoes picked on Saturday. I plan to enjoy them to the fullest.

Sometime in July I went through my seeds and discovered a package of black-eyed peas from 2008. For the heck of it I tossed them into an empty bed. They all came up and produced an amazing amount of pods. Because they have not had enough time to dry properly, I picked them green. Shelling them was completely tedious and annoying but I did it while Violet practiced her cello. What could ever be wrong in the world at a time like that?

At any rate, they were a light lime green with a brownish purple “eye.” They were buttery and delicious. I’m putting them into the memory bank for another year.

On August 1, I planted some sugar snap peas right over debris from the spring crop. They bloomed and are producing enough pods to eat in the garden while working. Trust me, this is pure dumb luck. I hope I repeat it next year.

Two weeks ago I threw a few radish seeds here and there and ate one on Sunday. Granted, it as no bigger than a pea, but it was spicy and yummy. I went ahead and ate the greens as well. I figure there is no time like the present. I’m the only one who likes them in the family anyway.

We are still eating alpine strawberries. They have produced all summer long. I started them from seed two years ago. The plants are at least as big as basketballs. They do not produce the pesky runners, and birds seem unable to locate the fruits. They are easy to propagate from divisions.

When I moved to the Vineyard in 1970, I had never heard of kale. I came from a meat and potatoes family who rarely ate anything as exotic as broccoli.

Historically, kale probably goes back to the Romans who spread it through Europe and Asia. The Italians developed the “dinosaur” variety, Lacinato or Nero de Toscana. The Scots developed a more frilly and dwarf plant. Then the Russians, with both winter red and white as well as a dwarf Siberian, needed a kale to survive the Russian winters.

It is one of our favorites — in soups, lightly sauteed and raw in salads. Hopefully, the frost will have killed the last of the bugs on my crop so I can start eating it again.

I went to college in Texas in the mid 60s. I know, hard to fathom? What was a Yankee girl doing there in pre-civil rights Texas between the two Kennedy assassinations? Part of my misspent youth, I admit . . . big party school.

At any rate, I understand the attraction for Ted Cruz. Texans love the idea of a separate state . . . six flags and all. Remember the Alamo!