July Surprise

July 25, 2008 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

Three things lately have surprised me in a happy way.

First, the other night when I was grilling some chicken for the Kid and I, I noticed a suspiciously familiar looking plant winding it’s way onto the deck near the grill. I’m only just beginning to redeem the area around the back deck. For years, that part of the yard was fenced off for the three dog the X and I had between us. Since then, we lost two dogs via attrition and the remaining Dog became such an escape artist that it’s impossible to keep him in a fenced yard. This has allowed me to start thinking of the yard off the back deck as a potential gardening area again and also simply let me use the deck. However, I haven’t gotten much farther than the “thinking” stage so, for instance, the flower boxes off the deck are still mostly in weeds. The familiar looking weed turned out to be a hale, tho small, tomato plant complete with wee tomatoes. I am not certain how it got there as I have never grown tomatoes in that spot. But it felt like a blessing on my renewed commitment to the garden and my plans for that yard/deck area.

Second. I took the Kid out into the backyard to admire the newly forming beans. The beans are flowering and being pollinated by a buzzing mass of bees and the beans are forming up nicely. While we were out there, the Kid checked out the zucchini patch and brought in another large one. I had him chuck it into the krisper reserved for the zukes and bemoaned the staggering number of them. He had been lobbying for some cookies for an afternoon treat. So, I suggested that perhaps zucchini bread would be a good plan. A couple of days ago I figured out how to get his old, battered laptop onto our home wireless network so he proudly looked up a zucchini bread receipe online *on his computer*. We worked together to make the bread — using skills I taught him at 3 or 4 that he has now completely mastered. He can sift, measure, pour, stir and even grease and flour a baking pan. He was so pleased and taken with the idea that we had ourselves grown the zucchini and then looked up a recipe and then made the bread ourselves. He really got that whole complete cycle thing. Even to the point of noticing that we put the ends of the zucchini and the shells of the eggs into the compost bin. It felt, for me, like watching the hard work of rehearsals bloom into a wonderful and entertaining play. The bread was good too — sweet and moist and tasty.

Third. At the Orange Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, we got the most unusual watermelon. It’s an heirloom variety called Moon and Stars. It is a long melon with a dark green skin. There are mottled yellow spots, which especially on the melon we bought, did indeed resemble a night sky with a prominent moon and a scattered field of stars. I bought it primarily because I was so taken by the “art work”. But the melon itself has a rich, sweet flavor that I’ve completely given up expecting from supermarket melons. We are saving seeds for next summer :).

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Entry filed under: Cooking, gardening, Parenting, Piedmont.

Zucchini Madness The Nudge of Necessity

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