Let me tell you all about gardening here. I have two gardens! What a lucky little beast I am. One is here at the house and it’s a good size but the deer fence needs some work and a few days ago that little, velvet antlered buck that haunts the shade behind the chicken coop managed to mow my lettuce patch, nip the tops of all the beets and consume most of my pea vines. On the bright side, that darn deer doesn’t seem to like tomatoes — what luck! Over at the smokejumper base, we have our community garden and my oh my, it is utterly spectacular at the moment. The boys take so much pride in growing things and beautifying the base, it’s very dashing to watch. I mean, they’re just such darling men. The garden is a verdant, rich, diverse space that is literally frothing with ripe veggies right now. Since most of the boys are currently deployed to other bases in Montana and Oregon, or out on local fires, I have taken the very great liberty of picking everything that is ripe, a few days in a row now. Robert calls it raiding (and he is home at the moment, by the way, which makes me very happy) because if it’s ripe, I pick it, put it in my garden tote, bike it home in the milk crate I have attached to the back of my bicycle and then I ferociously eat it all like the veggie glutton I am. I promise (maybe), I would share if the boys were home. If it’s any consolation or proof of the quality of my character, the last time the bunkhouse boys came home after being on the road, I cooked them a beautiful garden dinner that was scrumptious, I mixed them all refreshing cocktails and we relaxed together in the living room and watched a movie. It was so very nice to have them all home, all at once.
This morning I picked peas, a full bag of cherry tomatoes (of various persuasions), a few onions, a few pattypan squash, beets, and some herbs. Robert hovered over me the entire time, once he was back from his morning briefing, warning me not to step on his prize pumpkin (he’s always growing a prize pumpkin) and proudly pointing out the melons in the melon patch. He has such a green thumby plant tending soul to him.
This is all to say, I love to be in the garden. I also love to sit with house plants all around me on quiet winter mornings when the world outside is sleeping and white. That green. It’s a quiet therapy, you know, the dazzling green all around. It’s such a peaceful thrill, the sudden realization, when a space is more silent than noise, the turning of a book page is thunder, when I hear a chloroplastic humming and the everchance of root reach deeper and wider into soil — those moments of natural high always happen in the presence of the deepest greens. In the garden, there’s the scent of growth, thick in the air, widening in concentric circles, foot by foot, like the reaching of the melon vines and the creeping stretch of corn husk. My arms smell like tomato vines, my toes tingle. The squash blossoms are a ricocheting-feist-orange, I want to press them over my face to breathe in some deeper chroma-harmony until I feel a sudden music trilling in my veins. The garden is such a beautiful drug. I always go back for more.
Now, I do wish you were all coming to dinner this evening. I’m going to stuff a couple squash with bell pepper, onion, country bacon, goat cheese and quiona and I’m going to partner these little stuffed squash with a delicious and gorgeous gem-toned beet salad. If I make it into town this afternoon, I’m going to buy a nice bottle of something or a fizzy beer to go with it and if I’m really feeling generous, I might garner a ruby red steak for Robert because my fella seems to love a piece of meat to go with all the veggies I’m always feeding him. Later in the day, once I am finished working, I’d like to make it to the lake to cool my heels and read a book in the shade between swims. I’ve had a hithery tithery sort of week here, lots of annoying errand running gone wrong (which is the price to pay for living in such a beautiful little remote and inconvenient spot, frankly) and I’m ready for an afternoon of bliss-itude near some tranquil blue beneath the kind trunks of stalwart trees. It’s such a beautiful day here. The sky is clear blue and celestial cooing as far as the eye can see. As I biked home from the garden, every time I had a slight push of breeze against my back, I found myself in a pool of scent sense: green onion and basil whiffs swirling up over my back and down my arms. The dogs are passed out on the lawn in the shade, it’s already hot, Titus is cheeping for grasshoppers.
A heartfelt thanks to every-lovely-one who visited my shop yesterday while I was listing a handful of rings. Your support means the stars to me. If you have a second, check out this beautiful essay by Wally on the topic of home — it’s going to make you want roots, if you don’t have any at the moment. Also, put this on and turn it up and see if you can keep your body still (thanks Dana). It’s impossible. I’m freaking out all over the living room floor right now, leg slapping, hand clapping, knee jerking, hair shaking…if it doesn’t make you dance, you’re hopeless.
:::Post Scriptus Scriptus:::
I should share with you here a cocktail that I invented the other week that has now been officially named “The Jumper Wife“. It is utterly refreshing and fizzy, including the melon cubes at the end of the drink. Here are the ingredients:
*Italian lemonade — the bubbling sort
*cubed honeydew melon
*one fresh basil leaf from yonder garden
(a few blueberries are also a lovely additional option, if you’re in the mood)
It’s such a gorgeous, refreshing flavor combination and and is still delicious if you choose to skip the gin — I am a free-pouring gal and I mix to my personal taste so I apologize for not including pour ratios here. Pair it with a spectacular sunset, if you can. Bottoms up!