Tuesday, September 01, 2015

September 1st--still summer

It's a stunningly beautiful night here in Salt Lake Valley. The few clouds in the sky have caught and have lost the glow of the sun and now hang, just the right color of gray to complement the darkening blue of twilight. It's peaceful and still, and the heat of the day still lingers, drying the lawn, withering the flowers, parching the pavement. It's cooling though, slowly. Not just the day, but the last days of summer--cooling, slowly--our desires for cooler weather are about to be realized, and soon, our wishes will turn to longing for warmer days. But not before we get to enjoy the cooler. The leaves cascading from the maples, the oaks, the quakies. The crisp mornings morphing into gently warm days as the summer begins to wane and autumn returns.

The days of the harvest are beginning. I took my first load of tomatoes to work yesterday. I cut open the first cantaloupe I've ever grown to maturity, just a few days before Ann and I left for our few days in Colorado. I say I've never grown a cantaloupe to maturity before, but not actually liking them, I haven't really ever given it a lot of effort. It's different this year. I built my raised beds. I tried some things that I haven't tried in a while. I knew someone in the household would actually like cantaloupe and I found out that Justin, my son-in-law who lives with us, does. I cut into that first cantaloupe and sliced it, smelling its odor, longing to love cantaloupe. I cut a few chunks, from a slice, and put them in a small bowl. Maybe this would be the time. I ate one of the chunks. Not terrible, but I didn't fall in love with it just because I had grown it. I ate a second chunk. It was better than any of the store bought cantaloupes I'd ever eaten. Still, it was a cantaloupe. I still don't like it, but Justin does.
My first ever successful cantaloupe. If you like cantaloupe, you're likely drooling right now...

While we were gone, those who live in our house with us let a second ripe cantaloupe rot. When I got home, I turned it over and it had turned mushy, bruised, caving in like moldy wood. I threw it into an adjacent bed, stabbed a hole through its heart with a bamboo pole, and checked the other one that looked nearly ripe. This one, would live. Today, I picked it and took it to the neighbors. "Do you guys like cantaloupe?" I asked Jason, the man of the house. "Yeah," he said, and excited gleam in his eyes. "Here ya go then," I said. "Thanks," he responded.

Just a few more weeks and the harvest will be over. The days will turn shorter and colder and then one night, it will freeze hard. The tender flowers and veggies will all collapse and it will be time to gather up the vines and clear the soil, making way for next year's crop. I hope to harvest many more tomatoes before that day arrives. I can only eat so many BLTs, and so many salads. I don't have the time or equipment this year, nor the means to purchase it in order to preserve the extra tomatoes. But there will be neighbors who will enjoy them. And I will enjoy that they are enjoying them.

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