So, I can remember when I used to basically kill nearly every green thing that I breathed on. Tomato plants withered under my gaze. Basil seeds applied for asylum under the ground. Black-eyed-Susans, which everyone assured me no-one could kill, I unleashed my special powers on and watched them die under my feet. I was to dirt what King Midas was to gold; everything I touched turned to dust.
So, how did it come to be that one of my biggest concerns about my upcoming two-week trip is this: figuring out how to harvest all the food that is spontaneously bursting forth from the gardens in my back yard? I'm surrounded by Eden, by the Amazon, by the goose that lays the vegetable eggs.
Let us start merely with the peach tree out my south window. For years, that peach tree seems to have existed for three reasons only: (1) to provide shade for the south of our home, (2) to feed a handful of almost-ripe peaches to the neighborhood squirrels, and (3) to thereby signal to me when I ought to go to nearby peach orchards to pick peaches from their trees.
But this past weekend, N-son offered to help me pick peaches that somehow, mysteriously, the squirrels hadn't devoured. We spent an hour or so together just cutting them up.
And from these beautiful, ripe peaches, we made 8 pints and 24 half-pints of ginger-peach jam.
And that's just peaches. The cilantro has grown so wild that it's begun to go to seed, and the cucumber plants are heaving their end-of-season sigh, having given us more cucumbers than I can count -- I've become a pickle-making expert. The oregano has become the bully of its corner of the garden, taking over the neighborhood and daring all others to try to muscle in.
Our okra is flowering and putting forth pods that need picking before they turn woody and hard.
Here's J-son holding okra, standing next to the plants. The plants are almost as tall as he is! That's not exactly dead, is it?
The jalapeños are coming into their own.
The tomatoes I started in canning jars back in March are just spurting tomatoes out at me now -- it's kind of hard to keep up, actually!
. . . well it's a story for another day. Because really, right now, I have to go take care of all the food my garden is churning out.
In past years, I've occasionally had to find dog sitters, cat sitters, and even (of course) child sitters when I left town. But I've never had to enlist tomato sitters and okra sitters before. What a wonderful new problem to have to figure out!