Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Birthday Card

I apologize if talking to you and dad is distracting, visiting with you as if you're both standing right there next to me on my back stoop, watching the rain soak the tomato plants, imagining dad complaining that I'm mowing the grass too low. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop talking to you.

I was telling dad that he had to go before you did, because I don't think he could've abided you wasting away in that hospital. He was certainly stoic and strong, like Jesse, but, then again, you were you, and you meant the world to him. I.e., you were stronger in the end.

I apologize if pretending to watch movies with you two is annoying. We never did get to watch Pride And Prejudice together, but we both know that dad would've fallen asleep 20 minutes into it.

Did you hear me tell you that I wish Jess had been just a little less... protective of me when you got sick last year, and a little more... insistent that I move up there ASAP? I don't blame him. It's my fault. I hope you're not put out with me.

I apologize for not being able to move on yet. I suppose it'll occur to me eventually that in order to honor both of your lives, I have no choice but to move on. (Though I think I might have to convince Cameron to marry me and have a son, because Augie is the only grandson with our last name, and I suspect he might be gay!)

I apologize for imagining that you're both laughing at that.

Anyways, I hope where you guys are, they have reruns of Walker, Texas Ranger, Murder, She Wrote, and Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman. It'd be only fair.

Happy Birthday, mom. I miss you dearly.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ladies And Gentlemen: We Have Fruit

Noticed the first one Friday after work. About the size of a pea on the plant I named Comeback Kid. (Only 2 others have names: Bruiser, a 3-plant cluster thick as a jungle with foliage the color of a kept promise, and stumpy, a sad case whose best days might be met on the compost heap.)

As of this writing, I've counted 9. The plants themselves are growing 3 to 5 inches a day. I guess heat and humidity ain't all bad.

Beautiful thunderstorms Sunday afternoon at about 2:20. More storms Sunday night into Monday morning. We needed the rain. The plants are at that sublime stage of being impervious to too much water. I know rain can be a pain, getting caught in it, or ruining a play date. But rainfall is a blessing.

It's a wondrous time of year for tomato growers. I should be eating tomatoes already had it not been for the early spring rains and the lateness of their installation. But I don't care. Every day at lunch I walk down their rows, examine their blooms, train their vines, admire the pungency of their toxic odor. It's Zen. For me, anyway.

I miss Block Head. She was a great helper, where helping included laying down exactly in the way.

If you can believe it, as I get older and more jaded and cynical, I'm actually getting more naive. Which is to say, I'd love to think that Mom and Dad are smiling down on me in the evenings, when I walk the rows with a Miller Beer in hand, admiring 81 plants that started as seeds measuring a single millimeter. Or that it was they who sent that needed rain, with me out in it with my twine, tying up a fragile "leaner" that'd lost its way, me there just in time to let it rise back up straight.

I would love to believe that.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Potato Salad

For the last month I've been trying to make my mom's potato salad. It's a very simple recipe:



onions (green onions are best)


mustard (for color, jokes my brother Al)



Amounts you do by feel/intuition, like she did.

This past weekend I came damn close. I used spicy brown mustard instead of yellow. And served it with polska kielbasa. Good dinner.

Growing up, on our birthdays, we could have for our birthday dinner whatever we wanted, including the variety of cake. i forget what my brothers' main courses were, but my sister's and my choice was always ringed baloney with fried potatoes and corn. My sister's cake was german chocolate, as was my oldest brother's. Jack, the middle kid, went back and forth from german chocolate to my brother Al's choice, chocolate cake with white fluffy frosting. That was my choice as well, most of the time. But I think for a few years I asked for angel food cake, to my family's dismay.

She sure did do a lot for us.

This weekend:

Pepper Place Farmer's Market first thing in the morning

summer twine fest 2009


prune the crepe myrtles shading the plants by the planter

go under the house (note to self: Take your phone! You never know!)


That'll do for now. Have a great weekend, guys.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


No fruit yet, but plenty of blooms. (Because I didn't get them in the ground till Memorial Day weekend.)

Nice rain Sunday morning during Wimbledon and then a bit more yesterday, so they're all set for water for awhile, though my makeshift cistern is very full.

Made 2 4'x4'x10" planters and 7 42"x42"x10" planters, in which I'm composting the richest stuff you've ever seen. I happen to like that smell. Some don't.

The days are long and hot, and my air conditioning duct work is messed up, so I haven't been using it. Pretty rough. I need to get under the house and see what the deal is.

Other than that, still 30 minutes at a time.