I hate to complain about the weather when it has been positively beautiful for the past week or so. I need rain. I know you nongardeners out there think we had plenty earlier this spring. My gardening chores now involve hauling hoses endlessly. Many of the job sites have soaker irrigation systems but they do not wash the pollen from the leaves and flowers. Nothing beats the freshness of a rain-soaked bed.
I spent last Sunday afternoon throwing plants into my own garden. I have flats of tomatoes, peppers and annuals screaming to be released into soil. Many of the annuals should have been transplanted weeks ago. My life is a series of “shoulds.” When the entire flat goes into the ground, it leaves an odd-looking rectangle but the plants actually come around. Zinnias can go end-to-end and look like it was a planned row of cuts.
What a year for strawberries! My patch is in its third year. It will need to be thinned and moved this fall. For now, it is fabulous. Last year I don’t believe the birds left me more than a dozen berries. I thwarted them this year with a net. It makes it a pain to pick, but at least the berries exist. Buttons and hairpins become enmeshed in the near transparent netting. There is nothing quite like a warm red-ripe strawberry when picking with little children. So far none of the fruits have made it into the house.
I have promised Violet shortcake this week. I prefer a biscuit for the base. Orange Peel Bakery makes a fine biscuit. They come in packages of five, available at Cronig’s. A quick homemade one can be made without all that pesky butter-cutting. Simply use heavy cream as opposed to the butter. Robert Cropper passed that information from his grandmother in Delaware.
I have a tremendous amount of radishes. What was I thinking? I am quite fond of them. I have two favorite ways to prepare them, both of which cut the sharpness of their taste. I chop them into a creamy salad dressing — say, blue cheese — and make them into a sandwich. They are crispy and hold up better than cucumbers. They also can be cooked. The other night I melted some Humboldt Fog cheese in some olive oil and golden balsamic vinegar, added some sliced radish until it was slightly tender and poured over salad greens. Children would probably hate it, but I was dining alone.
It’s happened again. I failed to put rings on the peonies. The heavy blooms are kept off the ground only by the serious weeds surrounding them. Oh well. I cut several for the house. Talk about a statement. Peonies are so forgiving. They will bloom even trapped in a pot too long. One thing to keep in mind is the depth of the crown. They hate to be planted too deeply. The crown should be right at soil level. Watch that you do not mulch around them. Our foremothers took pieces of them from New England on the wagon trips westward. Their great-great-grandchildren are still enjoying them. People always mention some elderly relative as the source of a particular specimen.
The smells of June bring back so many childhood memories. The locusts are in full and glorious bloom. State Road in West Tisbury is in the midst of haying. I love the whole idea of hay-making. The cutting and raking and finally ending with some cow or horse patiently chewing sometime next winter.
What is the matter with the American public? Why, I wonder, do we become so involved with the tawdry behaviors of power? The bigger question could be why do men in power behave in such a tawdry fashion? I don’t own a computer on purpose. I hate the idea of my personal business floating around out there in cyberspace. The thought of posting a photograph of myself in undergarments is completely alien to my thought process. Why do otherwise intelligent people who obviously know they will be discovered take such risks?
I admire the politics of New York congressman Anthony Weiner. Now I think he may be too stupid for the job. In his defense, he only lied for a week. Can we please get back to the important business of our country and world?