scenes from monsoon season
*Thank you for your comforting words here.
The red, silky MC Hammer pants: totally appropriate for gardening!
Fifteen years ago our yard was a sea of clay. Look what a little soil-amending will do!
The garden is standing on its own two feet. No longer am I fretting behind the scenes like a stagehand, trying to make sure the vegetal props don’t blow over, or the young upstart primadonnas (tomatoes) have everything they need. The monsoons have arrived, which is like being visited by your favorite, slightly nutty uncle—prone to break out in thunderous antics—but who brings the exact presents you want, which in July, in my case is rain, always rain.
Health care plan I believe in.
The curtain is going down on Garden, Act 1. Peas went out with the heat. Spinach, too. Lettuce is looking like something Lady Gaga might wear, flimsy and transparent and sort of lacking (last week, after watching Lady Gaga “Born This Way,” the video we all surprisingly and unapologetically love, Rose asked, “Who is her dance teacher?” Indeed).
Hollyhock mandala, by Rose.
Now that spinach is bygone and the lettuces are playing out like a record on endless repeat, we (Dan and me and occasionally Col) have turned to the dark leafy greens: kale and chard and amaranth.
Can we talk about amaranth? In America (where incidentally, we waste 40% of our food), amaranth is a weed. In less developed countries (more appreciative of food?) like Nigeria, Uganda, Jamaica, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, The Phillipines, amaranth is an important food crop. Amaranth is chock full of Vit A, K, calcium, maganese and potassium. Also, it’s super delicious. It’s milder-tasting than chard, silkier than kale, and doesn’t have the haughty agricultural preferences of spinach. It grows like the weed it is, which is to say, I don’t have to plant, water or fuss over it.
Rose graciously snipping amaranth, which is more about getting to use the clippers than wanting to eat the plant.
A bowlful of amaranth. We like it raw in salads and sautéed in everything.
Try some, and let me know how you like it. This is how I like it:
White rice, sautéed amaranth, fried egg, homemade raw chevre, and tomatoes.
Today we leave on a San Juan river trip with some friends. The funny thing (don’t tell our boat-mates) is that (except for Rose) we’re not really water people. Also, I’m just the slightest bit wondering if the whole all day relaxation thing will be a little lost on us. I can see myself wanting to halt the whole parade of rafts to check out some showy desert flower on shore, or maybe Dan can bring a hide aboard to tan or something. Also, we don’t really know what we’re doing, which is perfect, because that makes it easier to have no opinions, which is our goal for the trip. As in, stop and camp here? Fine with us. Eat now? Okey-doke. Col’s taken to calling himself captain of the boat, and Rose, dear sweet Rose is always up for any adventure.
p.s. don’t tell anyone that I accidentally shook some uncooked white rice into the chocolate-chip-raisin-oatmeal-peanut butter cookies that I made for first night dessert, thinking it was coconut flakes. Aiigh. Col said, brightly, “that’s OK Mama, people like rice in their cookies.” Is this taking optimism too far?
p.p.s. Amaranth coming on raft trip: 1) steamed, chopped and mixed into hummus (with feta and chopped olives) for lunch spread 2) In salad for first night dinner 3) cooked into elk sausage for 2nd morning breakfast.
p.p.p.s. Each amaranth plant has, oh about 100,000 seeds. So, beware of all that.
While I’m gone, here’s a few links for you:
*A piece I published on mamalode about the cycles of life and death.
*Edible San Juan Mountain magazine: a piece I wrote on the heart and soul of leafy greens. (includes salad dressing recipes)
And, if you happen to have an apricot or cherry tree that needs picking but don’t want to do the terrible drudgerous (new word coming to a Webster’s near you) labor of it, we’ll pick it, lickety-split and give you half.
Have a lovely weekend friends.