Every spot on earth has its place to find a little bounty from the harvest. This year, my back yard has given up figs for the mockingbirds and Hoja Santa for the cheese maker. A farmer has given us several boxes of East Texas peaches and the garden is ready to offer up the Jalapenos to be pickled and the basilico to be made into pesto. The Pequin peppers are a ways off, if we can keep the mockingbirds from harvesting them first. As well, in the winter garden, arugula and finocchio are ready. Today we will be putting up peaches and peppers and making pesto.
My aunt Amelia put up peaches during her life, I still have a few packages in the freezer (she passed away in 1999) but I don’t have the heart to discard them. So we will offer up the new crop to the collection. They smell wonderful; the home has been filled with the aroma of ripe peaches. I feel like I’m living in a bottle of Riesling.
The Jalapenos have been ready for some time; many of them are ripe and red. The bees love their flowers; I wonder what it does to their honey. They also have plenty of basil and mint flowers to keep them busy in my back yard. We have a couple of colonies of Italian bees in the front yard, high away from children with rocks. They keep my yard happy and they seem to be gentle enough for us all to live together in peace.
The basil is in prime shape and so we will transform them into the sauce we will use all year long. Pine nuts are ready, olive oil from Liguria has been summoned to the dance, and the Reggiano-Parmigiano is resigned to its fate of joining forces with the other ingredients to give back joy all year round.
The Hoja Santa fills the whole yard, I never have to plant flowers again, for the towering plants fill the whole yards with a crop that goes to my friendly cheese maker in Deep Ellum and comes back to me in the form of year-round cheese. And there is never any poison or any kind of intervention, except by hand weeding and pulling off the critters that damage the plants. A compost bin is in the works and this little garden is my own way of letting the earth be the earth in its fundamentally perfect way – simply by letting it be and caring for it.
And as for Italy, come va? How are your ancient villages and hillsides doing? When will we see you? Soon, very soon. In the meantime we have our peaches, peppers 'n pesto to keep us occupied.