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.

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Slugs in June.

“I’ll make you a deal,” I plead, cheerful optimism forced upon each syllable. “You go to sleep and stay asleep before the sun sets so I can have some garden time, and I’ll give you three extra kisses.”

It’s dim, but not dark. Just before eight o’clock. I rush outside. I want to dig the rest of the garlic before it rots where it’s buried. I see an ant sipping the wine of the Mexican Oregano.

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The fading light leaves a squash blossom alit.

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I check on the carrots, long shaded by last year’s hidden sweet potatoes.

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And the leek’s getaway is complete.

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I hear the backdoor creak open. My heart sinks.

“He’s asking for you. Do you want me to bring him down or do you want to go back up?”

I go back up. The irrational emotions flare with each step. I take a deep breath, lower my shoulders, and swallow them down until I’ve softened.

It’s nearly nine o’clock. I haven’t finished my dinner. I nearly sprint out the door, snatch up my trowel, and make a bee line for the garlic. Surrounded by liquefied chard leaves the garlic is doing its best to thwart the hunger that crawls around it, along it, but hopefully not through it.

I send the blade deep into the soil and pry. Each root gives one by one and at once. The soil clings heavy. The roots ching greedily. Tap, tap, tap – some falls. I drape the shoot over the edge of the bed and move on. Another. Slice. Pry. Tap.Tap.Tap. Drape. Again.

The pill bugs scatter. The slugs hold tight. An earthworm seemingly launches from the earth and frantically races toward blind freedom. I watch it a moment. Dropping soil gently down its length, I bury it.

It’s dark now. Ration has yet to return. Dinner is three hours cold. I’m depleted. Unable to find enjoyment in the moments of daylight spent outdoors, alone, I step past the dinner bowl discarded to feed others, tend to others, love on others.

An apple, a knife, and a jar of peanut butter usually does the trick. Here’s hoping.

A leek’s scape escaping.

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A leek’s scape escaping!

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Beans have been busier than the bees.

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Serranos sliding into first in the pepper bed.

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Lemon trumpets over bolted parsley.

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Curious lavender looking into the path.

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To find…carrots! My carrot sowing helper was quite zealous in her seed sprinkling.

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I hope to have a copious amount of coriander soon.

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Let the window ripening begin for the year!

These aren’t those.

I traveled to Houston this week on business and the wild flowers called to me. They wanted to speak to y’all. They wanted to share their view of the world with each of you. I hadn’t packed my camera, nor did I schedule a spare moment to pull over to the side of the road. Boy, doesn’t that say something.

I didn’t schedule a single moment to spare.

As a result, I have blurry pictures taken through a dirty car window speeding by on a windy day. So…low resolution splotches and splashes of color. So instead, I will merely share their names with you, and within such names a link to images from others. Other people who thought to pack cameras. Other people who allowed buffer in their day. Who took the time to take pause. I hope I’ve learned my lesson. I fear I will be relearning it time and time again, the hard way, in the weeks and years to come. I won’t say that I didn’t try though. I have and I will continue to try.

Bluebonnets, that for nearly a decade I would accidentally call blue bells, carpet the roadsides. Other roadsides prefer a warmer shade of blossom in the form of Indian Paintbrush. Not to be confused with Downy Paintbrush. Then there are the Winecups and the Moss Verbena adding some purple to the scene. We can’t neglect the yellow of the Engelmann’s Daisy, the Texas Star, or the countless other yellows soon to pop. Or the white of the blackfoot daisy or the wrinkly poppy that are coming soon. The summers here may turn brown and dry and drab, but the springs contend with the best of the springs out there.

I did have my camera this morning though and there are things up and about on home turf. Stretching their arms to the sky in a morning yawn. Wriggling their toes deeper into the soil with the help of the sprinkler. Working on their tan in the sunbeams or flexing their muscles in the wind, the growth has started to outpace the pill bug population…or so I hope.

Elian the Avocado is working on his next few inches.
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An accidentally acquired navel orange is giving it a go in hopes of a bee or two.
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These leeks have an rather cumbersome bedfellow…
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The Peas That Nearly Weren’t are in need of a stick to climb.
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And it’s past time to mow thanks to the timing of the rain lately and the alignment of naps and daylight.
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Thankfully, the baby monitor that I left to fend for itself in the flood waters from the sky has miraculously recovered so I am once again free to roam about once or twice a day on weekends. Or as I say, “I’m going to go play outside now.”