Signs of Summer
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Summer is still 11 days away, but at our place in Pennsylvania we're getting a jump on the season. The swimming pool is open for business, and my little sailboat, which my father bought when I was 10 and I grew up sailing, is back in the water at Lake Nockamixon, about a half hour drive away, though now I need to find some time to actually sail the damn thing.
Today, I dug up several huge clumps of "spring garlic," which is a nice way of saying the garlic I neglected to harvest when I was supposed to last July. The forgotten heads multiplied over the last many months, giving me hundreds of little mini-cloves, each about the size of a marble, which are now curing on the floor of the garage. I also picked from the garden a bowl of delicate salad greens and arugula. I thinned the broccoli and threw the tender tiny leaves in the salad bowl, too.
From the local Emmaus farmer's market, Jenny and our daughter Colleen brought home beets, baby onions, pea pods, and three beautifully ripe tomatoes, started early by a farmer down the road in a hot house. For dinner, I chopped some of the fresh garlic, onions and tomatoes, and tossed them with feta cheese, parsley and olive oil. Heaven. I washed the salad greens and tossed them with olive oil and vinegar. Jenny cooked the beets and beet greens, and made ravioli. We cracked a couple beers and called in the hounds -- the three kids -- who pretty much devoured everything as we sat out on the deck with the roses wildly in bloom around us, their perfume floating on the breeze.
The peonies are just about done now, and the purple coneflower plants -- I have dozens of them I started from seed several years ago -- are just about to flower. The asiatic lilies bloomed overnight, and the tomato plants are stocky, though weeks away from producing ripe fruit. The sunflowers are a foot tall and stout-stemmed, off to a good start on their run to 10 feet, and the zinnias I started from seed under shop lights in the basement are thriving in the bed at the end of the driveway despite the fact that Gracie, the doofus Lab, clomps through them every chance she gets, usually in pursuit of a robin or squirrel. Doesn't the dog know a flower garden when she sees one? (Don't answer that.)
From the way I'm carrying on, you might think this is my favorite time of year. Actually, it is not. That honor goes to the harvest season -- roughly Labor Day through first frost. But this definitely is my second favorite. It's a tough time of year to stay indoors.
See you outdoors....
posted by John Grogan at 3:42 PM