Summer snapshots, with captions

Our northern native perennials have a shaggy sort of loveliness, like this one: the pasque flower. A meadow anemone, it’s a cold-weather, sturdy sort of flower, and thrives in the front stone flower bed. They say it takes its Latin name from “one that grows where the frogs live” and that it does well in the tundra. Right on both counts.

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Cosmos. These were the first flowers I ever planted here, and I like to keep them around for nostalgic reasons. They enjoy being neighbors with poppies, and don’t mind a little mint sprouted around the feet, either.

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“Come inside with me, mom, come play Legos.” Kids. They make such a big deal out of moving between outside and inside, never wanting to leave the space they currently inhabit. He doesn’t want to come inside. He doesn’t want to go outside. Yet I know that by the time the end of summer rolls around, he’ll be swinging the screen door, banging between inside and outside without any hiccup. And he’ll finally transition to wearing shorts every day, just when it’s about time to start wearing pants again. It’s a good thing that a day can feel so long, because summer is just a sliver.

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Hank would like us to take down this sign, because he made it ages ago, when he was four, but we can’t do it. It encapsulates our feelings about the garden, which are generally gleeful.

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This year, Aaron built a little upright shed in the bottom of the garden, for a tool shelter. The water is really high this year, which has been good for canoeing. Come August, though, the wild rice will grow in and probably choke out the open water.

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Aaron moved the cold frame from the early lettuces and peas to cover the bed of eggplants and peppers this year. They’re loving it under there. To the right you see a small plot of Tarbais beans. The packet said they were bush beans, but after a few weeks of watching them wave long feelers around in the air, looking for support, Aaron said, “they never tell you they’re pole beans,” and built a rig for them to scale. That’s okay. It means we’ll have more of them, and these are my shell beans (to myself, I call them shellies), the beans I slip from the pods before they’re all dried out. I vacuum-pack and freeze these for the winter, so we can’t have too many, really. (They have very thin skins, making peerless stews and the best bean hummus ever. I highly recommend freezing shellies.)

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Here’s the far garden door, which we rarely use, guarded by our giant rhubarb plant. (The others are inside the fence.) To the right you can see the far edge of the black currant patch, which is coming along nicely, to blight in sight. The canopy above is Toka plum. And to the right, over there, we have more plum trees, apple trees, some cherry shrubs, and a small patch of strawberries, which the rabbits really seem to be enjoying this year.

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Did you know that we call our place Hazelbrush? Aaron carved this sign years ago, after we spent a few weeks one fall digging out a stubborn network of hazelbrush roots from the plot of land that is now our garden. Because this is a sandy glacial moraine, we need ever bit of topsoil we can get. So we dug those roots with pulaskies, yanked out their long, stretchy lengths, and shook out every single root ball, leaving the black dirt behind. It was hard work, but we both remember it as the very best of times.

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