Monthly Archives: August 2011

What’s wrong with this picture?

Beans & peas

That’s what my basket looked like after a harvesting sweep of my legumes yesterday. So what is wrong with this picture? Well, lots of things: it’s slightly out of focus, doesn’t boast especially interesting composition….

But let’s ignore the formal limitations of the photograph, focus on content, and ask the question again:

What’s wrong with this picture?

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Summer fruit: strawberries

The strawberries came in with unprecedented abundance this year, and husband Steve once again proved his worth, this time by whipping up batch after batch of shortcake. As my younger son says on occasion (usually an occasion that features chocolate in large quantities), “Now I know why I keep you.”

We have never before had nearly enough strawberries. Until this summer, husband Steve maintained that one never will, unless one has acres and acres to devote to the project. His dim view of strawberry plants (mentioned elsewhere) results perhaps from overexposure at a young age, when his plant-pathologist father ran a pick-your-own strawberry business on the side, with his three sons as primary labor.

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Time away

One of my cousin Pamela Lawton's Window Collection paintings.

I give you fair warning, this post contains exactly one reference to gardening. There. You can't say I didn't warn you. It has three parts: Family, Friends, and Floods. They're not strictly accurate divisions, since family turned up in part 2 as well as 1, but I couldn't resist the alliteration.

I. Family

Those of you who have been doing your homework (i.e., reading my posts) know that I've been in the Northeast. The occasion was a family gathering in Massachusetts to honor my father (yes, I know, the third such gathering). I spent it talking with cousins, second cousins, first cousins once-removed, step-cousins, step-cousins twice-removed, and all possible permutations thereof, as well as the occasional sister, uncle, and nephew.

My husband spent it playing with the many children in attendance, earning for himself the exhausted thanks of most parents there, and the exalted title of Pied Piper. People watched in awe as he and a troop of kids ranging in age from four to sixteen disappeared up the streamside path towards the waterfall a mile away, then reappeared two hours later with all the kids' knees and tempers intact.

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Time out

I drafted a post on the plane home on Tuesday, but haven't had time to finish it, dad nab it. It's been busy.

The day after our return we had dinner with some old friends from out of town, and while going out would have been less work, eating in meant we could have arugula pesto and fresh garden salad, and with the raspberries just coming on strong, the image of a raspberry tart began to float in my mind… We stayed in.

Today one of my cousins and his family, en route to Yellowstone, arrived. This is the most marvelous family. Seven-year-old Julia helped pick peas, currants, and cherries, shelled peas and beans for the potato salad (with home-grown potatoes, of course), told me all about the books she's reading, and left the hammock as soon as her brother gave her a half-hour turn and walked away. (What's the point of winning the hammock, if her brother isn't standing by waiting for his turn?)

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Introducing my son, Brook


Would you hire this guy to take care of your garden? Of course you would. Look at the light of responsibility shining in those eyes, the earnest, concentrated furrow in the brow, the hint of humor about the mouth.

Wait, that must be some other picture. Or some other guy.

So seriously, would you trust this guy? Not a chance.

Well, that's the difference between us: I did. Of course, he's my son, which may be a mitigating factor, or just an explanation.

I mean, here I am on the east coast with all my extended family, and there he is back in Bozeman, Montana, with the garden, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

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