Peaches & Plums & Poetry

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As June burns away into July in our part of the Ohio River Valley, the peaches are coming on nicely. Not that I grow peaches, but I know where to find ’em. And for the past couple of year, there’s been this caravan of stone-fruit laden nomads who drive north, up I-75 from the Peach State, to sell these fuzzy beauties off the back of their truck.

And they are delicious.

And remind me of the peaches (and plums) that my Grandmother and Great Aunties used to grow, and which we’d pick straight from the tree and consume in three to four bites.

And they make me think of this classic jewel by William Carlos Williams, which never fails to make me smile.

This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams, 1883 – 1963

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Not that you should keep peaches in the refrigerator. Plums, yes, but peaches, never. They go mealy, and dry, and the opposite of peachy. If you can’t eat all the summer peaches you’ve carted home (mea culpa), freeze them, can them in big ol’ Mason jars, turn them into cobbler, but for the love of all things tasty, don’t refrigerate them.

Our kitchen counter is currently covered in those gifts of summer, and we’ll eat those peaches ’til we founder or peach season is over, whichever comes first.

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Silent Sunday

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Silent Sunday

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End of the Month (of May) Garden View

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May should always smell of lilac.

We thought spring might never arrive. But it did, at least for a day or two. But then, BAM, straight on into summer. Heat plus humidity hangs in the air like sodden laundry on the line. Thunderstorms materialize from nowhere like a bunny from Mother Nature’s magic top hat.

But the garden doesn’t seem to mind, for the most part. The radishes went straight to seed without ever rounding into those luscious curves that peep out suggestively from the dirt. The peas were lackluster as well. But the tomato plants are surging and several are blossoming. I’m struggling with the idea of pinching off those first blossoms with hopes of forcing the energy back into the plant for a more vigorous production down the road. But a tomato in the hand in July may be worth more than a basketful in August.

These are the decisions that keep me up at night.

Here’s a quick stroll around the garden from May.

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Tomatoes…pretty much the reason why I garden!

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This little fellow may be enjoying these beauties even more than we are!

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The allium always puts on a show.

 

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A wild May Apple blossom beneath its green umbrella.

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Foxglove are always a favorite.

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Catmint (before they all lay down, leaving a bald spot in the middle that rivals my own.)

So long May and cheers to June! And thanks to Helen for hosting the End of Month View theme!

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The Garden Awakes

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Apple blossoms and blue skies!

Hello spring, true spring, the spring we thought would never come!

The garden loam is ready to receive our offerings of bean seeds, tomato seedlings and various other alms we’ll present to the earth in an attempt to coax forth a bounty of goodies come July and August.

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Future tomatoes!

We look at each spring day as a gift in our part of the Ohio River Valley as the gentle temperatures last about as long as the truncated lifespan of the short-lived mayfly. We all too quickly sink into the heat and humidity of a summer that lasts well into October.

So we close our eyes and breath deeply of the good spring air while it lasts.

And pray for asparagus.

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Sweet, sweet asparagus!

 

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Silent Sunday

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April the Cruel

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T.S. Eliot opined: “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”

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But while certainly occasionally cruel, April has a gentle side as well, tempering thunderstorms and late frosts with soft rains and sunny warm days that coerce you outdoors with unspoken promises.

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And April smells like no other month, tempting us with a green and fertile perfume as the ground warms and wakes, pushing forth a host of tender seedlings, both welcome (hello, peas!) and unwelcome (ugh, crabgrass!).

This April has been a weather rollercoaster for us, with 70 degree (F) days followed by snow squalls followed by thunderstorms. We pretend to be shocked by the whiplashing but April in our part of the Ohio River Valley behaves this way most years, a tantrum-throwing toddler of a month.

I like April. Despite the mud (and there’s a lot!), and the inability to dress properly for the capricious weather, it’s a blessing to get out and putter around in the garden, even if I’m not doing anything more productive than pulling up a wayward dandelion here and there. It feels so good to be outside in the April air and take stock of the yard and garden. Time to see what winter damage may have occurred to the various plants and shrubs . Oh, and pick up the hundreds (possibly thousands) of branches and twigs shrugged off from our trees during the winter gales. (Which gives us an excuse to build a cheery bonfire on a chilly spring day.)

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Chores for April:

  • Add compost to the garden beds
  • Start even more seeds indoors (if I can find a horizontal space left uncovered)
  • Plant peas, spinach, kale, swiss chard, radishes and other hardy treats
  • Make a tentative plan for the annual beds
  • Turn the compost bins
  • Do battle with emerging chipmunks

How’s April treating you where you live? Are you itching’ to get gardening again?

 

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