Updated: Nov 4
Playful lizards, annoying blue jays, tiny birds yet to be identified, whirring humming birds, bumble bees, chattering squirrels swinging tree to tree, two curious cats who think they are adorable. . . Much as I enjoy music, the garden provides its own symphony. Twittering, skittering, rustling, singing from tiny, pink throats—and as a bonus, the bells of Saint Mary's—the laughter of children in the neighboring garden, snippets of conversation drifting across the yards and my mother's chimes in the plum tree. Memories bloom from the warm, deep shadows.
Like a cat myself, I follow the path of the sun to linger in different parts of the garden to admire its specialness, its constant gifts and surprises. As the light changes and shadows grow, each plant changes its complexion. Mundane greens turn to showy chartreuse, brown stems turn to seal skin grey, beets evolve from reddish-brown to Titian, white stock becomes a shocking sea of foam.
The nose of my wine does not inhibit the fragrance around me, in fact, seems to enhance it, as all my senses are engaged. Lavender! Lavender! Lavender! I feel its fragrance drifting through the air like a young ballet dancer, blending with the musk of rich cinnamon soil, upended grass patches where cats found something interesting, distinctive pine, heady stock, late blooming carnations and dying roses.
I yearn to fly into the sky—to be careless, free—but will settle for its endless play of light and shadow in my garden for another balmy day.
Updated: Oct 18
In Northern California we are still enjoying hot days; hard to believe that this is Fall.
Still, our gardens are telling us that it is time to be tough with our spent vegetable plants and drooping flowers. It is time to get down and dirty and 'clean house'.
Tomatoes and cucumbers were in abundance this year. Their parched leaves and stalks are ready to be removed, chopped up and added to the compost heap.
The nurseries are chockfull with winter vegetables. I planted kohlrabi, butter lettuce, carrots, garlic and beets. To avoid harvesting onslaught, stagger your plantings.
The secret to a successful vegetable garden is not a secret at all. It's as simple as good soil, steady watering, good drainage and sun. How do I know? This Garden Mistress told me so.
What did you do with your fruity summer harvests?
I have a stash of 'canned' nectarines, nectarine and plum compotes, and apple sauce. (I really don't like the sound of 'canned' 'preserved' sounds more 'edible'.)
The fruits were so sweet, there was no need to add anything at all - except perhaps a cinnamon stick.
All of these are fabulous just by themselves as a sweet treat or added to cottage cheese, blintzes, crepes, ice cream, pancakes. My favorite is a bowl of ricotta with any of these fruits and a helping of sugared, toasted almonds. A dash of whipped cream is the height of culinary delight.