Yesterday, Michelle came over to work on her mother’s birthday present. She followed me into the garden, obediently holding the bowl while I picked food. “Are those tomatoes?” she said curiously as I passed her a Taxi. She looked up and up at the sunflowers, twice as tall as she, just starting to get some yellow petals. (Note: I can hardly see them. Next year I’m planting smaller sunflowers. Okay, I will when I’ve used up these seeds.) She helped make macaroni and cheese and chicken coated with Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (based on a previous visit; she loves this) while I made peanut-sesame pasta salad with cucumbers and carrots, one of M’s recipes. She refused to try it, which was her loss. It was divine.

Today, we made gazpacho. This used up four big tomatoes, a good thing as I have a counter full of them, and one brickbat cucumber. Well, that’s net; it actually used up three but the first two were curiously bitter. Maybe Straight 8s are supposed to grow that large? Anyway, the gazpacho could have used some green pepper and more finely-chopped parsley, but it was also excellent, and a cup of Purple Cherokee seeds joined the Roma ones fermenting in the window.

Tomorrow, I’m making ratatouille–which does not include cucumber but does include tomatoes and zucchini and the adorable Indian eggplants I bought at Jungle Jim’s–and possibly freezing it, depending, and slow-roasting and freezing more Taxis. Friday, I will bring any excess produce to work to pass out, because on Sunday we’re leaving for a week for the Dominican Republic. And the last thing I want to worry about when I’m lazing on a sunny beach, or chasing Eric in the water, is whether the garden-fresh produce I picked is slowly rotting in my kitchen.

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