Nestled.

The green beans are nestled down. Snug under old linens of love.

The peppers are left to fend for themselves.

The carrots and peas won’t mind a smidge.

The front porch spirits are indoors.

Stay warm this spooky cool night, y’all.

Perpetual.

Not every common name makes common sense. (What even is a moonglow tomato?)

But this chard, Perpetual Chard, is aptly named. This is a perennial in my garden. Come caterpillar or cold weather, leaves spring forth a-new from the ever-increasing girth of the trunk.

A tomato slow down

And a pepper pick-me-up.

Almost on cue, the garden is packing it in for the summer. The tomato vines are drying up. Some fruit ripens on brown vines. Other fruit dehydrates where it hangs. 

With some help and a helper’s chipper, any soil exposed by the dying crops is now mulched by the gift of a fallen limb.

It may be a bit early, but I couldn’t help myself. I have the first of the fall crop transplants sown in plugs in the laundry room. 

The outdoor oven (aka the weather) has begun. Perhaps I’ll set aside some corn stalks for Halloween. They’re drying where they stand quite nicely.

Across April.

image

“Puhpul flowers”

image

“Peas? More peas?”

image

“Caderperar right dere?”

image

“Tomayo!” (And a sweet potato volunteer…)

image

“Uh oh. It get down.” (The arbor fell in a storm.)

image

“Snail! Hold it? Mama hold it?”

image

“Carrots ok.” (And more sweet potato volunteers.)

image

“Lello flowers.” (On a broccoli that never made broccoli but made plenty of greens and is now over six feet tall. This photo is at my eye level and it’s well over my head.)

Now, onto preparing for a little gardener’s airplane party… (“aye-plane!Noise…See it!”)

Learning to cook.

My husband is an amazing cook. Countless times I’ve been asked where he studied. Countless times I tried to explain that he hadn’t. Then one time I remembered a line from Goodwill Hunting about how Mozart could just play. I appropriated the explanation. “You know how some people never took lessons but can just play music? He’s like that with cooking. He just does.”

These past months, our schedule is such that four nights a week he is gone to class during the time to cook and eat dinner if we’re to hit bedtime on schedule. So he’s been prepping what can be prepped, texting me instructions, and coming home in time to hopefully sneak a few bites before “splash splash” and “pjs” and “nilk.”

This means that inadvertently, I’ve been learning how to cook.

image

Let’s back up a little…

I’ve always baked. I remember my brother and I kicking our parents out of the kitchen to make cookies by ourselves. I wasn’t yet four, he wasn’t yet six.

Cooking…never my strong suit. Overdone or raw, too much or too little, and without fail: underseasoned not seasoned.

When we first moved in together I was 18 and he was 19. It was our first night in the apartment and we’d just gotten home with dinner fixin’s. I went in the kitchen to start making whatever it was (probably rice and beans, we were painfully poor) and he came in the kitchen to ask, “what do you think you’re doing?”

“Making dinner.”

“Get out of my kitchen, silly,” he teased.

I obliged. I think I made dinner three times our first year together.

In the many years since then, I’ve acquired a few pony tricks. I can make chicken soup without a recipe. I can make a chicken/rosemary/bacon thing in the oven. I can usually manage to steam vegetables appropriately (and remember to salt them!) without them turning to mush. But that’s honestly about it.

image

So fast forward back to now, and I’ve learned a lot in the recent weeks. I now know you don’t sear scallops in butter because the lactose makes them stick to the pan. And the (steel) pan needs to be heated empty, oil added, heated, and then scallops (that have been patted dry – and seasoned!) I know many things I didn’t.

image

Tonight was the night I applied my lesson about scallops. It was also the night I didn’t overcook the squash (“turn it off when some are looking cooked and some still look raw.”) I did want some greens, and without his guidance ahead of time my intended serving for four ended up quite under-sized (but seasoned!)

image