Aug 16, ‘13
People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.
During mid-August most of us in New England expect to be experiencing Dog Days — days of extreme warmth when all we do is laze about like droopy dogs — not Autumn Days. But Autumn days is exactly the way it’s felt for the past 2 or 3 days – no lazing about like droopy dogs, more like rousing to actions like crazy squirrels with much to do before winter sets in. We’ve had fair weather but it hasn’t been exactly warm. The only Dog Days so far this summer happened in early July. It seems as if this has been a very short summer.
The slant of the sun has changed noticeably in the past week or so. My tomatoes aren’t getting as much strong daylight early in the morning due to the sun being lower in the sky. Yesterday evening as the sky was going dark, I estimated the time to be around 8:30. I felt much dismay when I looked at the clock and it was 7:45. The days are now obviously growing shorter. The intense monotone greens of high summer are now lightly tinted with all manner of reds, oranges and yellows.
I’ve had one tomato from my garden, so far. It was a big one and I shared it with my mother when I went to her house for lunch this past Tuesday. We each had a thick half sandwich from it. Talk about the rhapsodic memories brought up from a simple tomato sandwich…. My tomatoes this year are Burp** Big Boys, the same type of tomatoes my mother planted so often in her garden when I was a kid.
I’d forgotten how big the vine of the Big Boys. Each of my plants is towering over its individual cage and also are so heavy that each individual cage is tilting from the weight of the vine and all the tomatoes on each individual plant. My gardener’s heart is satisfied from the height, weight and health of each plant and the generous amount of tomatoes on each one. I’m already making a mental list of things I need for ‘next year.’ I need sturdier supports for Big Boys. I need a deeper and wider container than a 5 gallon drum that once contained sheet rock plaster. I’m also pleased that so far, I’ve learned from experience and have done some things right, that my tomato garden this year is better than last year. Plenty of compost, plenty of crushed eggshells, plenty of boughten fertilizer….
So far, anyhow. Fingers crossed that all goes well between now and frost….
I was away all day Wednesday. The first thing I did when I got home was to check on my tomatoes. My heart sank when I went out and found all three plants and buckets lying on their side in the grass. Apparently it had been windy here, enough to topple the buckets and plants. I lost 7 or 8 green tomatoes in a variety of sizes from tiny to large. Other than they all appeared to be some ruffled, all was well with the plants. The only thing I could think of to do to make them less vulnerable to wind was to prune the suckers. When I was done, each plant had a freshly shorn, airy appearance. Tucked into the base of each plant, leaves and vines I’d just clipped, now part of the composting process.
Before the sunshine of this morning deteriorated to the cloudiness of early afternoon, I sat outside on the back porch with coffee and a sandwich, enjoyed the day and did one small sketch of the world from where I sat. I hope that we’ll get a little more summer before it’s truly fall.