As American As …

Summer                                   Waxing Summer Moon

As american as stock-car racing, country music, Walden Pond and the Beach Boys, another long hot summer is well under way.  The neighbors love fireworks and each fourth of July they show off the good stuff they’ve picked up.  Some of it is impressive for local effects.  Flowering showers with a boom at the end.  Fiery pinwheels with whistles.  Percussive blasts.

Rigel and Vega did not get as upset tonight as they did last night.  Reassurance and familiarity are a powerful antidote.

The harvest continues and picks up speed.  Tonight I made a dish with chard and beet greens, topped with baked beets in Balsamic vinegar.  There was, too, roasted turnips covered in olive oil, pepper and Kosher salt.  Potato crusted wild Cod finished the meal.

The Seed Saver’s Exchange calendar that hangs on our kitchen wall has this quote under July’s photograph of heirloom tomatoes, onions and bell peppers:  “When the harvest begins to flow is the gardener’s joy.”  It’s true.

Digging up turnips and beets, cleaning and cooking them feels so good when they’ve come direct from the garden.  Though there are political reasons for having one, ecological reasons  and aesthetic reasons, the real payoff from a garden is fresh food, grown in a manner you know and in a place with which you are familiar, even intimate.

There are certain activities that just seem congruent with life.  Among them are picking, cleaning and cooking your own vegetables.  When I dig up the turnips and the beets, I remember the day their seeds went into the ground, one at a time.  Their first shoots.  Their growth over time.  All part of my life and theirs.

Another tradition of the fourth at our house is a meal with dishes cooked from our own sources.  Hope yours went well, too.

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