Summer on the Texas Gulf Coast does not wait for the calendar to mark the solstice. By late May and early June, we experience burning heat, sprinklers on the lawn, homegrown tomatoes and hot peppers, katydids singing in the evenings, Crepe Myrtles and Chaste Trees blooming, suppers from the grill, iced tea, cold watermelon, bees buzzing around the basil. The Touch Me Not seeds are popping, Morning Glories are purple delights, roses slowing down for a second breath, and there are a hundred shades of green. I may complain about being hot, but I love so many things that summer brings.
For Memorial and Independence Day celebrations, we get the little flags back out to line the sidewalk, and celebrate birthdays for Joe and Ben. July brings a bumper crop of figs on our tree, Vacation Bible School fun, plans with my granddaughters, and family outings. It will get hotter, and we will watch the hurricane tracking news. We keep ceiling fans whirring and add a buzz fan or two for the back porch. I am thankful for cool evening breezes wafting scent of honeysuckle and cooling the flagstone paths in our garden.
"Now summer is in flower and natures hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done
Wi' glittering dance and reeling in the sun
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee
Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun."
- John Clare, "June"
Monday, July 1, 2013
Friday, September 7, 2012
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
At the beginning of the summer, when the herb and vegetable garden was producing plenty to pick every day, Maddie and Skye loved helping with the harvest. One day they asked if they could have a farm stand in the front yard. They had the sign all ready to go: Tomatoes were 50 cents each, bunches of Basil were advertised at 10 cents, and mint for 2 cents per handful. Peppers were 30 cents, and underneath the large "OPEN and SALE!" lettering was the enticing "1 Free Water with each purchase!"
A couple of neighbors helpfully shopped from their market, and they happily counted their proceeds as they chattered about how much more fun that was than a lemonade stand.
Now, at summer's end, I think about our long hot Texas summer with record breaking drought and am thankful we had those weeks of bounty before the garden said "no more." I pick up the sun hats they wore that afternoon, and move the little round table to a spot until they are ready to use it for another project. And as grandmothers do, I carefully put the sign in a good place for keeping.
Monday, April 19, 2010
It is a cool cloudy day following our rains yesterday, so I planted the pepper plants Joe and I bought a few days ago. 19 of them!! Green and yellow Bells, Gypsies, Anchos, Habaneros, Cayennes, Mucho Nachos (giant jalapenos) and Chili Pequins (tiny, but 8 times hotter than a jalapeno)...all levels of the Scoville scale. We already have tomatoes setting fruit. I like planting heirloom varieties. This year we put in Paul Robesons, Tliacolula Pinks, Black Cherries, Money Makers, Cherokee Purples and Juliettes. The only hybrid plant I put in is a Better Bush. It may give me a more predictable harvest but I love the different shapes and colors of the heirlooms. Truth be told, I love the names, too. Whether it is a rose or a vegetable, the name calls me first.