In The Garden: Looking On The Bright Side

It’s so fun having a baby goat around!  Yesterday after I milked Matilda I was sitting in the grass waiting for Ethan to finish milking Geranium.  He browsed around and then sat right down beside me and chewed his cud as if I were another goat.

Well, it’s Thursday again, and Night Hawk is cute, but it’s been awhile since I mentioned the garden.  The truth is, I’m disappointed with this year’s garden.  I did not have time to really care for it properly, and now it is becoming frustrating to walk around in it.  It is wild, jungly, rambling.  Bugs are rampant.  The squash are dying.  Rabbits run away from me into the tomato hedge.  Instead of killing myself in the heat to try to fix what is at this point an impossible mess of weeds, I’ve decided to let it go and focus on the fall/winter garden instead.

It’s been a fairly good garden, despite the lack of care:

There are watermelons, if you can find them….

The massive Thai basil bushes smell wonderful, attract lots of butterflies, and are very pretty….

We are at the point of the summer where the early stuff is dying back – say goodbye to summer squash, cucumbers, and cantaloupes.  Say hello to long beans, okra, eggplant, malabar spinach, and the last of the tomatilloes and ground cherries.

My mom, long accustomed to grocery-store cooking, was very unhappy that the summer squash is over.  I had been trying to get her to eat it before when there was so much, and she wasn’t very excited about it.  Last week she was looking through the garden and made exclamations of sorrow over the dying squash plants.

All of us, raised on grocery stores, are not used to that.  It’s supposed to be there all the time if I want to buy it, right?  That’s how satisfying gardens are – you get all you can eat all at once, and then the dance of the garden moves on to other things.  The squash and Roma beans have faded out, and we’re waltzing with eggplant and long beans now.  And now I remember years ago when Rose was picking limas in the garden with me and she turned and said, “Mama, your garden is just like a grocery store!”

Her words went straight to my heart, the love.  Yes, and what are grocery stores other than an artificial garden?  We take our baskets out and bring back things for the kitchen.

Okay – there it is – my garden.  It’s an awful picture, but it’s really not much more flattering in real life.  This is the best part of it, too.  I have to tiptoe down the paths.

Here’s the other side of it.  Night Hawk is a good companion – sometimes.  It depends on what section he’s in.  Among the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and tomatilloes, he’s an angel.  He nibbles weeds and fertilizes.  With the spinach, beans and sweet potatoes, he’s a menace and has to be carried out.

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