Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

I think Vishnu missed me, as evidenced by the decapitated squirrel in my backyard and the dainty pile of guts and puke left on the sidewalk.  He was on the back step when I opened my door last night, in the cold rain, plaintively calling for me to let him in, claws reaching toward the screen, and I--wondering at this rather uncharacteristic behavior only later--did not stoop to greet him or even utter an acknowledgment, but only turned and closed the door behind me.  I might have shown a little more respect, I suppose, to the essence of all beings...

Vishnu and Lakshmi on Shesha Naga

A few things have changed at home since I've been away.  The tomatoes, which were tenuously staked but nonetheless thriving, have mostly toppled over due to what I can only imagine must have been a rather heavy downpour.  They're still covered in ripening green fruit, though much has rotted on the vine and those spaztastic tree-devils can't seem to get their teeth into enough of it (as expected. but grrr.).  Cabbages are ready for picking (harvested two heads of broccoli, also, the day I left).  The eggplants are now neck-high on me, with leaves as big as my head, still covered in striking purple blooms and setting their dark little fruits, some of the Japanese sort and some round and lavender streaked beauties of a variety I can't remember...not sure they'll fully ripen, but they're a joy in any case. The datura is sprawling like crazy, so large and so covered in pods and blossoms that I can hardly believe it's only one plant.  Blackberry lilies are popping their bright little heads open and the delicate bells of Korean Beauty clematis are cascading over the fence.  The sweet basil I lopped for pesto a few weeks ago has completely bushed out again, while the lemon basil is sending up towering spires to tantalize the bees (who are nowhere to be seen on this dark and chilly day, though I notice the hive has once again increased in stature...full of honey, I would hope).  As it happened, my house-sitter made the kind mistake of picking all of my bumper crop of Golden Treasure peppers while they were still green--a rather laughable turn of events, though something of a disappointment...On the upside, they've been put to good use and I'm looking forward to some good home-cooking in return, a welcome offering and I daresay one I've not received before, the gift of food which I grew that was prepared by someone who's not a family member (could that be?  hmm.).  I swear the peach and plum have both grown another foot higher in the last week, thanks in no small part to someone actually watering them every day.  The Mission fig, a recent addition to my indoor garden, along with a Meyer lemon, isn't looking so hot, but both are still holding their sweet treats, for now.  (I've had three or four so far, of those figs.  Can't say they're the tastiest I've ever had, but I'll be working on that.  Still, yum, and wow.)

Awaiting me in the kitchen this evening are umpteen ears of corn, to be shaved and made into corn-potato chowder, green (tomatillo, jalapeno, cilantro) corn soup, and red pepper-corn soup, all recipes learned and loved from Annie Somerville's Fields of Greens.  Also, on the table, piled high upon the screen lifted from my over-sink window, is a harvest of Hopi red dye amaranth, chock full of gorgeous, tiny, jewel-like seeds, chock full of nutrition, wonder, and ancient wisdom.  Hopefully I can figure out some way to get them out of there and into jars (and thanks to my sister for thinking to shake them out of their velvety ripeness and into her palms) and from there into cereal, salad, pancakes, what have we.  Oh, yeah, and zucchini and fresh (giant, this year) onions, for Z soup; Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes; enchanting Ha-Ogen melon, and a Cream of Saskatchewan too; patty-pans, sun-burst and pale green; black eggplants; chervil and garlic chives and dill... these are just what I brought home with me, just a small portion of the gardens my parents tend, to do with what I can.  Best be getting busy...

Oh yeah, and I was on vacation last week, seven days on the shore of the Great Lake called Superior, otherwise known as Gichigami. I took a few spectacular photos, which I'll be posting just as soon as I can sort through them.  Also have a few from the gardens and home front this year which I might get around to sharing soon...guess there was that whole Paris thing, also... How time flies. Hope you're enjoying the fruits of the season.

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