Sunday, July 29, 2012

the Sisko

Sisko has been gone for more than six months but it feels as fresh as yesterday when I let myself think about it. And sometimes when I don't.

Thursday night I dreamed he hadn't died. He'd been in California for a year and when we found him I felt such joy.

I forgot the dream (the brain tries to protect the heart) until Michael and I were talking over coffee and some unknown thing reminded me. And then, of course, I wept.

Last night we sat around the fire before rain forced our jam session indoors, and that too, reminded me. The glider was Sisko's special place.

Within seconds of our setting it up, he'd claim its cushion, a king commanding all he surveyed. Last summer we had to make him a step. He couldn't climb up on his own. But he was happy once he got there.

Oh how I miss my boy.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

an embarrassment of riches

Yes, it's a cliché but I have never in my long, long life picked so many blueberries in so little time. As I stood this morning, surrounded by obligingly high-bush shrubs (it's nice not to have to bend over), I felt flustered by the abundance.

When we moved here, 19 years ago, we were thrilled to find ourselves in blueberry country. They were everywhere, obligingly ripening over a month's time (usually mid-July through mid-August, but everything is early this year). In the swamp, the schoolyard, the woods, we find different varieties that ripen at different times to different shades of blue and different degrees of sweetness. A fortunate and delicious combination.

This year I'm overwhelmed! The clusters are heavier, the berries are larger, the taste sweeter. I gathered with both hands, rolling the berries off their stems and dropping them in to the bag clipped at my waist.

And now? What to do? I have recipes for blueberry pudding, blueberry buckle, blueberry crisp. But I can't decide!

And yes, those are blackberries in the foreground. My picking ground obligingly provides multiple crops (fiddlehead fern, cattails, milkweed, and mayapple are just outside the frame). A few were ripe today, but in a week I'll have another dilemma on my hands.

Friday, July 13, 2012


No, it's not May. And yet...

This spring, just as the wisteria was about to bloom, we were hit by a dry spell. Or maybe it got too cold. We weren't here so I can't say for sure, but when we got back to the house the wisteria buds were shriveled and dry. I was pretty sure the plant wasn't dead. (Could you kill it if you tried?) Sure enough, it soon leafed out and began its usual, rampant growth.

About three weeks ago I pruned back the vine. Pruned the hell out of it. And last weekend I'll be damned if I didn't see flower buds. What the?! It hadn't been my intent to provoke bloom, I just wanted to reduce the size of the vine, make it more manageable, keep it from pulling down the house.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

summer laziness

Dare I say it? Last weekend was summer perfection. The pace was slow, the temperatures high, the lake cool and necessary. Little was accomplished in the garden, except for a bit of planting squeezed in before the sun hit the soil.

Each day we made our pilgrimage to the lake. On Friday as we floated in the rubber raft with our elderflower champagne cocktails, I cursed myself for not bringing my camera. Would a photo have captured the beauty and calm I felt, floating in the late afternoon sun? We'll never know.

Saturday I forgot my camera again. And I so wanted to capture the joy of an after supper swim, standing on a giant rock, submerged to my neck in spring-fed lake water that smells like Camp Huckins.

Sunday we swam in the heat of early afternoon, when the cool currents 3-4 feet below the surface are a welcome thrill. No camera.

The only picture I took all weekend was of dessert:

Gooseberry/Jostaberry/Juneberry tart with fromage blanc. Summer indeed.