I have just walked through the garden this warm and muggy Saturday morning. I picked a few spears of asparagus, a handful of blackberries –they  have been washed and sequestered in the freezer bag for jam-  and a handful of strawberries. I will let Kathy pick through the pretty ones for her snacks and the ugly ones will go into the neighboring freezer bag for strawberry jam. I wonder if the big jam and jelly manufacturers also use the ugly berries as I do? The ugly ones taste just as good and once cooked down their beauty is really from the inside……Naturally grown, no chemicals and caressed by loving hands.

Tomatoes are getting big! In some cases tipping the plants sideways. The Oxheart, I love the shape, are being grown in my garden for the first time and seem to be producing well. I have been dying to try one…I have a good sized one that is a uniform color of pink. A little reading the web shows a variety of possible colors when ripe of which pink in one. I will give it a squeeze today or tomorrow and use that as a gauge on its ripeness.

Yesterday was one of those days that epitomizes the value of “home”. I had returned form my trip to Louisiana Thursday night. My son Ben, 22, is home from LSU for a couple of weeks, Joe, 17, was off from soccer training that night so it was feeling very nice at the house/home. I usually rise early, a little late this Friday morning, about 6:15, you have to sleep in once in awhile!  Joe is a self riser and was down around 6:30 to make his coffee, grab a bite to eat and converse in his usual morning grunts. As is my normal morning habit I was heading out the door to bicycle down to my hangout at our local Starbucks® when I spotted a sticky note from Ben on the back door glass. – “Dad, if you are going down to Starbucks®, please wake me up so I can go with you.” Ahhhhh – that warms a father’s heart. I needed to finish a business proposal so asked Ben if it would be OK if while we sat I could bang out the email? It was agreed and off we went. A couple of my old cronies were there and were introduced to Ben, the Baristas called me a liar…..not in a mean way but when I ordered a Venti Caramel Frappacino it didn’t register and they they thought that maybe I was pulling their legs…..there may be a history of that behavior by some customers!!!!!!

Once we returned Joe was off at class, Ben was “fixin” to cut the grass and Kathy wandered out to the garden with me. She proudly talked about her efforts over the past week “keeping” the garden while I was gone. I was able to see firsthand how well things were doing rather than through the vicarious text message news feed. We puttered about a bit, I cut some asparagus spears and she expressed some surprise….”where did you find those? I just picked yesterday!”…. She was surprised because these were  quite tall and thick….I just grinned…

Later she came into the house with a monstrously large pickling cucumber. The week before I had brought a large one in and she said, “I was wondering if you would find that one…I hid it to see if you could.”  As she was showing me the large one she said, “This was the one I had hid from you on the vine….the one you brought in was one I didn’t see!” Big smile from both of us and to the both of us……warm and real.  That seems to be common with my cucumber plantings. I plant pretty dense and when the production amps up it is a bit like hide and seek with the cucumbers.

Such a nice morning in the garden. Family, green, green growings and a pace of life that just makes you sit back and say “Ahhhhhh!”