Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Gatherers

Our girls are so similar. We notice it more now, as Elliot's language skills really let her personality shine, and as we get to know other families whose young children sport radically different personalities. An introvert and an extrovert. A bully and a lapkid. A watcher and a talker.

In contrast, our girls are tumbling bursts of complementary energies, not always bursting in the same direction, but always on the move, inquisitive, and electrifying.

They share the same endearing, outgoing exuberance for whatever activity is at hand. They both demonstrate an iron forged will and passionate advocacy for their own needs, traits that have been handed down through the women in my family for generations.

And much to my joy, they both share my enthusiasm and impatience with the garden.

This outlandishly cool year has us harvesting in fits and starts. We gather some goodies, and then we are forced to wait... to roost.

We have had a really lovely bounty of brightly accented Northern Lights Swiss Chard, which has livened up some of our pasta dishes and complemented a few salads.

Maya just discovered the carrot patch, pulling a few each day and barely rinsing them before taking a bite. They are small and tender and sweet, so I can hardly blame her for hoarding them all to herself.

The sugar snap peas, it seems, she is wiling to share. She taught Elliot how to carefully hold the pea plant while pulling off the crisp sweet fruit. Poor tenderhearted kid, she brings me the casualties, newly dismembered vines, with somber reverence, head bowed, saying, "I'm so sorry, mama. We'll be more careful."

Of course, then she runs back to show Elliot how to wipe the peas on her shirt and take a bite of its sweet crispness.

Maya has scavenged a few cucumbers and several squash too. She checks the blossoms on the pole beans daily hoping to find a bean to pick. Not yet, though, not yet.

So we harvest, and we wait for more. I reshuffle my list of showy tomato recipes, and I wait. We watch the tomato plans grow heavy, weary with their abundant green fruit, just waiting to turn red. Waiting and waiting. I may have to break down and try my hand at fried green tomatoes soon. This suspense is torture.

Luckily, the girls can bide their time on the swing set. It is newly spruced up with fresh support beams, a few bags of QuickCrete, and a whole extra swing to accommodate little visitors. So that's where we've been this quiet week. Waiting, watching, swinging, and gathering.

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