Saturday, May 29, 2010

Salad days

To anyone over 40, 'salad days' means a time of youth, innocence and inexperience. To me, salad days means I planted the garden! Yes, and, this year, it's a dedicated garden in the back 40 again instead of being jerryrigged around the pool area. So, in went tomatoes, radishes, arugula (LOTS of it), summer squash, zucchini, patty pan squash (mom loves those), cantaloupe, cucumbers, peas and beans. All is looking quite well at the moment as the garden area is contained by a 6 foot tall fence to thwart the deer and rabbits - seems to be working at the moment. Everything is flourishing.

I have a nice herb section on the deck - Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (there's a song in there), sweet stems of basil (one of my favorites), lemon sage. Speaking of herbs, here's a nice article about growing rosemary which grows so s-l-o-w. This is from a friend, Susan Golis, on ehow: How to grown creeping rosemary. It's a nice article and a good herb to try out - love it on roasted pork. And, if you have a garden and plant carrots, here's my friend Peggy's nice article about how to make a great carrot cake. I love good recipes like that. Yummy.

Now, the most interesting part of this story is that I've fallen head over heels in love with tomatoes, having spent 50 years of my life deploring the red, spitting things. It wasn't until Dad died, that summer of 2007, that I started eyeing tomatoes with a different, well, eye. Somehow, and this is akin to someone who has been blind waking up and seeing one day, I fell in love hard with tomatoes. I just couldn't get enough of the things. If they didn't get so soggy, they would have been inserted in my coffee cup. No one was more surprised than me, except, possibly, Gert. I truly believe it was my Dad's spirit engulfing me. His love of tomatoes was so strong that he used to take a salt shaker into the garden and sit and just dine for an hour or so, picking the ripest, reddest fruit. At those 'pick you own stands' we always used to kid that they should have weighted Dad at the end of our visit instead of the paltry 4 tomatoes he held out like a kid in his paper sack.

I've also got Dad and my sister's memorial garden going pretty nicely this year. I lost some trees in the blizzard and, as with anything, the loss of something is the gain of something else. So, the loss of those towering pines means the sun shines down more freely into my small garden and I have more of a choice of plants. So, I started tending it with relish this year and added in some more flowers, hostas, and even 2 hydrageas for those beautiful blooms that will adorn our picnic table.

So, as I tend to my little plots of earth, I sit and think about my Dad and sister. It's one of the few times I get to just focus on memories of Dad. Oh, sure, Mom and I speak of him all the time - his presence is still quite strong between us and in this house that he loved. We still laugh at the things I used to make him do, like put on funny red hats, or the way he called those bug candles 'cinderella candles.' We talk about how he loved Killian and how much he and Rita would have bonded. And, we laugh at Gizmo's legs as they pretty much mirror my darling father's skinny legs, so skinny, so white. Yep, he might not be sitting here in the flesh, but he's here all right. And, that's quite comforting as my own salad days wane.


  1. Nice memories and it's about time you starting liking maters!

  2. Tomatoes....your dad and I would have been fighting over that salt shaker standing by the tomatoe vines. Yum! BTW, that was a really short cruise. You and your mom must have some real stories which is one of the reasons I'm following you now. Pam

  3. Pam - don't get your hopes up! Our 'adventures' usually entail making fresh drinks and heading out to the deck for our own private happy hour! Thanks for following though - hope I don't disappoint!


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