Sunday, September 22, 2013

The bounty of the neighborhood

Ruminations on the first full day of fall...

Our next door neighbor (let's call her "M") came over yesterday bearing carrots unearthed from her garden. The carrots were rotund and healthy looking, coated with dirt. Their tops were bushy. She has a bumper crop of veggies this year, plenty to cook and preserve and share. She brought me over to her garden to show that she'd only planted one-third of her newly-manicured plot. She's landscaped the plot with a dozen raised beds surrounded by brick and gravel walkways. Her three tomato plants have produced cherries and big juicy beefsteaks aplenty. Her pumpkin patch has jumped the garden fence and is heading for my house. Plump orange pumpkins are visible beneath the greenery. Her garden features three groupings of corn, the only corn I've seen hereabouts. I've never grown corn successfully, so I'm impressed.

We talked tomatoes. She has pureed, sliced, diced, stuffed and eaten them right off the vine.

"It's been a good year for tomatoes," I said. I have sliced, diced, pureed, put them on salads and eaten many cherries right off the vine. I've given them away. Sometimes I come home for lunch, stand out in the garden, and graze. Biting into a sun-warmed tomato sends shock waves to the brain's pleasure center. Someone happening upon me in this exalted state might be alarmed. They may wonder about my mental state, my state of sobriety. But I am high -- on tomatoes.

For dinner, I wrapped M's corn in aluminum foil and put them on the grill. I sliced the carrots and put them on a sheet of foil. Added snippets of my rosemary and basil, plus some olive oil and cinnamon. Wrapped it all up. Fired up the grill and put the corn and carrots on the fire. Marinated two Pacific salmon steaks. Put them on the grill for ten minutes. While waiting, drank a Pumpkick beer from New Belgium. This put me in the proper mood for dinner, which was marvelous.

It's Sunday morning and I'm still thinking about it.

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