Sunday, July 20, 2014


Someday I will ease off the flower postings, but you have to understand -- in winter, I sometimes glance at July farmette pictures and I cannot believe how much hidden treasure lurks under the frozen ground. And July is, by far, the most abundant month here (in terms of flora).

But I didn't start with a survey of the yard today. After the usual wiping and vacuuming (a Sunday morning ritual, to start the week fresh and clean), we sit down to a very leisurely breakfast. So much was it leisurely, that I must post two photos, to let you feel the pause in this wonderful morning routine.



(The cheepers love this habit of ours. They hover by the porch door, just in case there's a handout, but they soon retreat somewhere into the depths of flowerland and rest while we eat.)


Okay, now the yard.


(with my beloved daylilies...)

(...of so many hues)

My walk through confirmed what I'd suspected: the flowers need water. We were lucky in the last month. There had been enough rain while I was gone that Ed didn't ever have to water the flower bed at alls. Two fragile plants dried up, but the rest were fine.

But it's been a while and the newly planted ones (and there are a lot of those this year!) need help.

It takes me about four hours to work through the entire garden and so before starting, we give ourselves a treat of a tennis game, knowing that once I dig into the hose routine, I wont want to stop and then the day will run away from me.

We are surprised to see that our favorite, hidden and somewhat dilapidated tennis court had been repaved. No one ever plays here and yet -- here it is, fresh and ready, for the players that never come. We stayed for a longer spell and as we volleyed the ball back and forth, we couldn't help but hear the sounds of a kid baseball game in the distance. I thought about how I always feel I'm in the thick of an American summer when I see kids in uniforms playing baseball. It isn't only that it's baseball, it's the whole bit of the heavy uniforms on a hot day -- surely they can't be comfortable? -- the sitting on a bench with the sun in your face... Could that vignette be anything but our own, home grown? Oh, it has been exported, to be sure, but for me, it's American to the core.

Ed asks if I want to go over and take some photos and I throw him one of those pitying glances -- as in -- don't you know... not everything needs to be photographed or, indeed can be photographed well. The game is evocative of a summer mood. Not easily snapped in a passing photo.

Time to face the day's work: I decide to start the watering with the newest bed.


Needless to say, I get ambitious and I end up doing the whole job, but by the end I'm cursing the occasional mosquito, the heat, the dirt of maneuvering the long hose. I should have stopped when it was still fun!

(to the side of the porch)

And by the time I'm done, there is little left to the day. I fix dinner for my girl and her husband and the four of us have a lovely hour on the porch over spaghetti. Not home grown tomatoes yet, but soon!


So this is Sunday. Earlier, when we were zipping back from the tennis court on his motorcycle and the breeze cooled us off from the hot game, I said to Ed -- this is wonderful... so happy... The wind lifted the words and carried them off somewhere into the cornfields, so I doubt that he heard me, but it doesn't mater. He'd already heard the same words out on the porch in the morning. And out in the garden. And again, forcefully, late in the evening.

P.S. Several requests for the raspberry cake -- I like the recipe a lot and it could not be easier. From the NYTimes (with my modifications):  

Pound Cake Filled with Fresh Raspberries

1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature (plus butter for greasing pan)
1 c of sugar
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c all purpose flour (plus extra for pan)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c plain yogurt
2 c fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch loaf pan.
Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light.
Mix in lemon zest.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until light and fluffy.
Mix in vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter alternating with the sour cream, mixing just to combine.
Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Cover with raspberries. Top with the remaining batter, smoothing out the top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about an hour. (Mine needed 10 minutes longer.)
Place on a rack to cool. Turn cake out of pan then flip right side up. (They suggest dusting with powdered sugar. I opted not to do that.)