Wheat Field with Crows, Vincent Van Gogh, 1890
From time immemorial human beings have been marking that time by looking to what is happening in their world, on their planet, out-of-doors, and usually the resulting designations are tied to the availability or impending availability of food. The process is complex. It involves the moon. The sun. The soil. The rain. The nutrients. The seasons. Largely we have in our modernity separated ourselves from many of these considerations, as they have been viewed as elements to “overcome” or dominate or eradicate or manipulate, as mostly, we mess with things. A lot. Man Against Nature, my early English teachers used to lecture me–an entire genre. Genre, indeed.
As we reclaim our agrarian roots we return to first the acknowledgment and then to the celebration of what our ancestors knew and celebrated: the turning and maturing of the season. And so it is with that age-old delight that I scope out my little kitchen garden, just outside the back steps, and cheer on with glee the first of many things coming to maturity.
It would be most excellent to begin a celebration by happily noting the recent blossoming of the beautiful dahlia my dear friend Conny gave to me for my birthday in a large pot. Actually the dahlias were hiding underground, she said, and now after some patient waiting they have emerged.
Was that not worth awaiting? And is it not the absolutely most perfect 4th of July flower? It looks to me like a happy red starburst!
Stepping beyond the fence into the tomato patch I am thrilled to see my first ripe Early Girl! Oh, yes, she might make it to a platter before the holiday is up!
Keeping her company are my beloved principe bourgheses, my all-time favorite tomato thus far. They are not as far along, but they are definitely the first of the season and I can hardly wait for their blessed abundance that allows me to make near instant sauces for summer pasta dishes simply by popping in the Cuisinart and then dropping into some nice garlic and onion sauteed in olive oil, with the usual seasonings. Yum!
At the foot of my principes, not to be ignored and undoubtedly about to make itself very well known, is a single morning glory, a volunteer, who within a month will have wrapped itself exquisitely into the principes, to be wedded for the season. I can’t stop such romance and it’s fine with me.
Still within the confines of the fencing just underfoot and hiding is the first zucchini of the year!
I only planted one! Can you believe it? The first year I had a garden I planted an entire package. Uh-oh. This is the counter-experiment to see how many one will yield! Do you ever slice them and then dip them in beaten egg and then coat them with wholewheat flour and saute them in oil? Oh, so delicious. And if you are up for it, you can put little bits of cheese on the sauteed ones and pop them in the oven to melt. Oh, your children will love you!
[Editor's note, days later: Oh, dear. It is NOT a round zucchini as I'd thought. It is clearly a spaghetti squash! I found the real zucchini where I thought I'd planted the s. squash. Don't you think they must be so delighted to have fooled me all these weeks?!]
Now, if you will follow me outside the fence just to over here, I will share with you one of the most exciting events in the garden: my first lemon blossoms on my new (improved) Meyer lemon tree! There are 27 buds. Does that mean 27 lemons?? Don’t tell. I want to be surprised!
And keeping watch over the blossoming Meyer lemons are the lovely (if annoying) trumpet vines. As invasive as they are I have finally come to peace with them and simply scold them mildly much as one might a dotty old auntie, or naughty goat, and pull them up where they do not belong.
They are so abundant they have covered the pittosporum where the jays built their nest so now the wild thing is covered each morning in hummingbirds. Who can complain?
Leaving the grace of the garden I climb the few steps to the back door, and stop to admire the last of my lilies, potted year before last and blessing us with their annual return. Yes, this is the last of the lilies, honoring the infinite cycle of birth and death and transformation.
Love and gardening blessings,
Posted on July 3rd, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Life