Summer on the back 40

This probably comes under the heading of “Be careful what you wish for.”

Gardening in coastal Oregon is an interesting endeavor. You prep the soil, plant things, watch the weather, try to second-guess what’s going on, pull the undesirables, water, and watch as things struggle with the early spring conditions you struggled with trying to get an early garden. Then, Nature waves a magic wand and things explode.

Today I picked blueberries, zucchini, the first pickling cucumbers, and enough green beans for dinner. I was very excited to be out here for the whole growing season. But I hadn’t planned on being laid up for two weeks in the height of activity.

God bless Ralph. He’s watered and weeded while I was limping around feeling sorry for myself. I don’t deal well with idleness. Much as I enjoy a good read or a good puzzle, sitting in a chair for long periods of time just makes my sciatic nerve act up.

But Ralph and Brenda left today for 2-3 weeks of family stuff out of state, and now it’s mine again. And there is suddenly more food coming out of the garden than we can possibly eat. I’ve given a lot of it away, will give away much more.

But I’m getting around pretty well, was able to water everything today with only minor twinges. I slept in my bed (instead of one of the LaZBoys) last night for the first time since my fall, and it worked. But I’ve got enough cucumbers for the first quart of pickles, and behold, there are exactly three dill heads (the appropriate amount) ready to be picked. So tomorrow I will pack the first quart of pickles.

The upside is that I’ve had a lot of time to think, and that means a lot of time to hear the music of poetry running around in my head, so I’ve got some pretty terrific new work. Maybe the cracked ribs were someone’s way of saying “Slow down. Listen.”

The other thing I have in incredible quantities is fresh basil. A couple of nights ago we had what I can only call an experimental dinner. I had a little leftover medium-hot green sauce from the enchiladas. I used it to marinate a pork loin which I then stuffed with garlic and threw on the barbecue. Yummy.

To go with it, I cooked some linguini, drained it and set it aside. Then, in a fortuitous accident, I grabbed the wrong oil bottle and had several tablespoons of sesame oil in my skillet before I realized it was the wrong color, grabbed my designer olive oil to augment it, sauteed some garlic in the combination, and when the garlic was ready, added the pasta, a couple of cups of chopped roma tomatoes and a couple of cups of fresh chopped basil, and got everything to hot. Then it just took a liberal sprinkling of good Parmesan to make a heavenly pasta. When I was prepping it, I almost panicked. I realized I had enough pasta for 12 people. But the four of us cleaned it up.

This year I again planted what for me is a favorite corn variety–Bodacious. I’m not totally sure whether I like it for its flavor and robustness (plenty of both) or because I’m a big fan of Hank Williams, Jr., and the name always invokes rowdiness in my brain. But today I noticed that some of the stalks have started as many as four ears each (normally two). All that bullshit makes a difference.

The blueberries are slowing a bit, thank God, but the raspberries are just gathering their second wind and the whole late summer crop is coming on. And here I am bitching when I should feel so blessed. . . 

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One Response to “Summer on the back 40”

  1. jackiesgarden Says:

    Glad you are feeling better and back in the garden! I’m with you on that holding still for very long – I just don’t do it well. The garden sounds great, don’t you just love eating your ‘bounty’? And your meal sounds great, too. I’m going to try your pasta.
    I think I’ve come to the end of my raspberries. Was picking every night, but now the bees have been chewing on what is left. So hot here and they want that moisture. I went out to salvage some again last night, it was nearly 9 and I thought the bees would be gone – and got stung again!

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