I just spent a week at the beach and like life itself, there were sunny days and rainy ones. Luckily, the rainy ones didn’t come until the end when my children and I needed a break from the sun; for our own protection. It is funny how quickly complacency can set in. Not only did I start taking the sunshine for granted, I became more lackadaisical about protecting our skin. Sunscreen started to seem like such a hassle. I just wanted to get to the beach and not worry about that kind of bothersome detail. It is amazing how doing that little bit of work kept things going great but once I stopped putting forth the effort, well, we all got burned.
So the rain turned out to be a good thing for us. We took a ferry ride. There is something odd about driving a car onto a boat. It’s like transportation overkill. Regardless, being on a boat, even in the middle of a parking lot, is heavenly. Why is it that the breeze you feel while riding on a boat is different from any other kind of breeze? Is it a speed thing? A bike riding breeze has its own feel too, now that I think about it. I wonder if outdoorsy people have 100 different ways to classify a breeze, like Eskimos and snow.
Perhaps I am waxing poetically about breezes because they seem to have left my house entirely without a forwarding address. Our air conditioning is not working so we have come to depend on the movement of air to tolerate summer. I’m wondering if I should be alarmed that our local winds have ceased to exist. Perhaps they have lost their will to live in all of this heat. Should I call Al Gore? Surely the least he could do is land a helicopter in our backyard. Maybe that would get things moving.
My garden had its own sunshine and rain while I was away. I’m pretty sure Charles Griffith, who wrote The Little Shop of Horrors (thank you, Wikipedia) grew pumpkins. Those vines seem to be a bit maniacal. They are actually growing into the neighboring raised beds. And if one of those gigantic yellow flowers started talking to me, I’m not sure I’d be surprised at this point. What was surprising, though, was when I learned that when a pumpkin vine snakes out, the vine itself actually develops its own roots. I went to move one so my husband could mow the lawn and it had staked itself down. Creepy! One of the vines has almost made it to our backyard tree. Presumably to eat it.
Tomatoes do the rooting thing too. I know this because going on multiple week long vacations is not compatible with keeping 42 tomato plants well staked. Live and learn.
Speaking of tomatoes, I had read the phrase, “blossom end rot”, repeatedly when I was researching how to grow tomatoes from seed but I never really got what it was. Life is just full of lessons because several of my tomatoes are exhibiting signs of just that. Best named garden problem I’ve come across yet. The guru had told me to bury eggshells under the plants when I transplanted them to avoid that very illness (apparently it is a calcium deficiency problem). And I did for about the first 20 or so, then I ran out of eggshells and didn’t want to impede my momentum. Now that I’ve spent two days pulling off rotting green tomatoes from my plants, my failure to heed good advice is nagging at my soul. Yet again, just a little bit of preventative maintenance can make a big difference in outcomes.
The cucumbers are doing well, though, well enough that my family could probably go until next summer without craving another cucumber. Or beans, for that matter. On another rainy note, though, the soggy beets decided they had enough rain and just keeled over. It was a mass suicide of sorts. That’s what my pole beans looked like too, but I’m pretty sure their supports weren’t strong enough to weather the storms. Even lying down some of the plants are still producing beans.
The beauty of planting a ridiculous number of seeds is I can’t feel too badly about things not making it because there is so much that is. And things keep surprising me. My eggplants (eggplant plants?) seem to have made a revival effort out of nowhere and I even have an encouraging blossom.
My goal was to be able to harvest something from my buckshot approach and I have certainly met it. I have a gallon of cucumber salad in the refrigerator to prove it. And I’ve learned some things along the way as well. A corollary benefit to gardening, if you will.
Between the beach and the garden my life lesson learned these past couple of weeks is that I can’t control the weather, but there are plenty of things I can do to help things flow in a more positive direction. And sometimes a little bit of effort, even the preventative kind, can make a big difference in how things turn out.
I like to throw things.