The First (Everything)

Van Gogh
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.

red dahlia

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!
early girl

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!

lemon blossom

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.

trumpet vine

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,
Kathryn xoxox

18 Responses to “The First (Everything)”

  1. I always got so excited about the first of anything, and this is really the time of year where one first happens after another. All I have to do is go out to the garden for a thrill.

  2. Welcome, Daphne! Exactly! Isn’t it a charming trait of human beings to be excited year after year about the newness of it all? It tells me we are still connected to the wonder we were blessed with when we first came in. I think it’s utterly encouraging! 🙂 Kathryn xox

  3. All your firsts are charming, especially that first ripe tomato! I love that you have a morning glory volunteer — like all selfless volunteers, they should be given an award of recognition. And I do so love dahlias. 🙂

  4. Welcome, Nancy–yes I especially cherish the volunteers and have an inordinately difficult time moving them. 🙂 Consequently my gardens end up a bit patchworky,but fun. This is my first dahlia ever. What a great introduction,huh?? 🙂 Kathryn xox

  5. Oh Kathryn,
    What a beautifully written post.
    I do remember when Pesticides and herbicides was seen as “progress”. I also remember that that there were a few individuals who saw to what was happening to our planet. “give a hoot, don’t pollute” was a tranformative slogan back then. Who thought of that? Well, whoever it was we loved it and lived it: picking up garbage along the creek .
    Now, to your journey to the kitchen garden! I delight in the bounty of your garden. We love ours so much. You have a way of making everything seem new and awesome; which it is! 🙂
    Years ago when we…(well, let’s just say Mother Hubbard had more in her cupboard than we did) we found we could have a delicious meal from a few herbs from our garden tossed with olive oil in pasta! We still do.

    Meyer Lemon! I am crazy about mine, and no, I will not give away the surprise, but you are in for lots of fun!
    I will give you my recipe for meyer leomonade with thyme (or basil,strained strawberries,watermelon) if you wish. It is so much fun.
    Isn’t life grand?!
    Happy height of Summer!

  6. Hi, Philip! Welcome! I happen to remember that olive oil/pasta dish myself! I think it has garlic in it! LOTS of garlic. 😉 And I would love Meyer lemonade recipes! I’m looking forward to needing some! Thanks for the well wishes! Kathryn xxoo

  7. Just lovely!! The simple beauty of the first to arrive!
    Your pics are Gorgeous, as always!

    Love you

  8. Hi, Baby Girl, Antonia! Yes, the simplest of pleasures with the greatest rewards. Can’t wait to hear more about your herb garden! Love, Mommie D.

  9. That dahlia is amazing. Enchanting! And you make my mouth water as you describe the tomatoes and zucchini.

  10. Ver estas plantas de tomate, me han traido lindos recuerdos de cuando mi padre hacia sus pequeñas plantaciones de tomates, lechugas, cebollas de verdeo y ajies colorados.
    Los tomates eran tan ricos! No le sientes un gusto distinto?? Los quimicos que usan en los abonos hacen que las frutas y verduras tengan otro gusto en el mercado.

    Mis amigas españolas me dicen que con un poquito de aceite de oliva y oregano quedan deliciosos!

    Que los disfrutes!

  11. Welcome, CurtissAnn! That tomato has been harvested, sits in the kitchen windowsill, as most homegrown tomatoes seem destined to do, and will undoubtedly be history by this evening! Can’t wait! 🙂 Kathryn xox

  12. Hola, Ana! Si, somos de acuerdo. No, hay nada como las verduras que llegan directamente del jardin! Y, si, aceite de oliva y oregano (que tengo en el jardin!) son los ingredientes que yo tambien uso en mi cocina! Tratalo! Abrazos! Catarina xox

  13. Hi Kathryn, a truly fun post. With our zucchini and yellow squash, when we are feeling truly decadent, we slice them lengthwise, salt & pepper them heavily, dust them with flour and fry them. So good. For some reason, lengthwise is what makes them delicious.

    I hope you get lots of tomatoes from you plants, and I hope the fires are over for you all there.~~Dee

  14. Good morning, Dee! Thank you! I will surely try the lengthwise slicing! It sounds fun! The tomatoes are all full of varying sizes–all five plants. Early Girl, Principe Bourghese, Juliette, Jet something or other, and one I have simply forgotten to label, but is looking very elongated, so should be fun!

    Thanks for asking about the fires, which as of Sat. night were 45% contained up here. We seem safe. Praise the Lord and all those young people putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure that. Hugs, Kathryn xox

  15. Yes yes yes! Don’t stop the romance! Never!!! I tried three times this spring to start morning glories–why it took me this many times this year I don’t know, frustrating, but now they’re growing through teh deck railing, up the obelisk, and down the retaining wall.

  16. Welcome, Benjamin! Yes, I don’ t know what it is about morning glories. They almost seem to resist entering the environment and then once in, they are happy and take off. I had the same experience last year, and probably consequently didn’t even try this year, and there they are, taking off on their own. Hallelujah! I’ve spotted them entwined in the roses in the arbor and this morning just below the quince. Who knows how they move around? Sheer mystery! I love it! Kathryn xoxo

  17. Loved your writing – and the photos were just beautiful. I’ll be back soon!

  18. Welcome! Thank you for visiting and for your kind words. Visited your blog. Enjoy Seattle! Kathryn xox

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