I hope I get these photos in the right order. I took them over two days, it took only those two days for flowers to bloom and die. Well, they opened and died a while later in the day. Squashes are magical, by which I mean stressful. Though to tell the truth this year hasn’t been so bad, the weather has been perfect, a tad too hot even for the plants, but still it beats hailstones and rain. This is still a recipe blog, but I have to grow the ingredients to use them, joking of course, but wait until you see my purple pesto. All going well that is. I swear I understand Steinbeck far more than I ever did. Someone once told me that gardening makes you philosophical. It’s true: You watch the cycle of life and death, endure the struggles and feel the absolute despair at your helplessness and the other times you’ve almost overwhelmed by the wondrous products of your labours. Yeah, ummm, squash photo time. Don’t leave me dear reader, I’ll get recipes soon.
You can eat the flowers, but get them before they open, like about dawn, and be careful of bees, they may be inside. I only ate one once as a test, they taste like squash. It’s like eating a flower. I’m not much of a gourmand really. I think that comes with the weight-loss, fear and balance, a theme for another day, methinks. One lovely thing about gardening is that it can be an escape, sure it’s hard-work too, there are times reader of mine that Jack feels like the garden’s Job. It’s throwing quite a bit at me, still not as bad as the rain drenched days of my novice-hood. Even if you’re not harvesting and eating there’s something about having a domain that you’re in-charge of, a place where you can belong and no matter what happens it’s all yours. Again, Steinbeck, but no soul crushing despair, maybe more Grisham. At least I hope so.
I had to prune my tomatoes, which I suck at, I trashed some last year. All I know is to remove some lower leaves and off shoots that come out of the corners. Leave the flowers and hope for the best I say. They looked okay afterwards, not as bare as last time. Do be careful when handling tomato plants as they can cause skin irritation. I’m nightshade intolerant so they scare me a lot. They probably wouldn’t bother me unless I ate them, but still. I have a few started already and like with everything I’m clueless as to what variety they are. They were someone’s surplus. But free’s free and Jack will grow anything or at least try to.
There are times of almost smug satisfaction, when things go well and then those times fade and you realise all that can and will go wrong. At those times you buckle down and push ahead. It’s rewarding in some ways, frustrating in others and I really don’t think I could do without it any more. There are a lot of limits in my life, some self-imposed, others not. In the garden there’s a kind of freedom, maybe it’s a connection to nature. Perhaps the idea of God from The Colour Purple sums it up best. Maybe God is in all these lives, however small, who knows, I’m just Jack. What do I know? At least there’s a peace here, in the stillness when no one is around with the sun shining, the birds singing and Jack swearing to make a sailor blush because something hasn’t worked out. Or perhaps because something has.
I’ve finally reached the end of my DIY work on the wall, a pair of planters, birdhouses, one of which was inspected straight-away, both with added perches, bamboo and a screw and a triple hanger for feeders. Sure I’ve gone overboard, but it does look lovely when you look out from the kitchen window. I had to buy a tool called a centre punch as I’ve had trouble with the drill slipping on the wall, but it hadn’t arrived in time so I used a countersink bit and it worked, probably shouldn’t use it that way, but needs must and all that. The planter is one step up on purpose this time, my mother preferred it that way.