I invited my stepsister-in-law over yesterday, via her mother, to help harvest potatoes and pick pears. She didn’t show up at the appointed time; half an hour later, as I was vacuuming, she knocked on my door. “Hi, Jenny!” she said. “We got home not long after you called to invite me over, but I totally forgot about it and went to play with Paxton instead. Then I remembered, so I thought I’d come over to help if you needed me, and I thought I’d bring Paxton too.”

I let her off of potato duty, of course, but gave each of the girls a plastic sack and basic instructions on how to pick pears (yellow rather than green, dark means rotten, watch out for falling fruit when they tug too hard, etc.). They enjoyed themselves–Paxton had never tried an Asian pear but Michelle assured her that she would love them and she needed to take the twelve she’d picked home with her–and after they left I dug the potatoes myself. I’m both chuffed and a little ashamed to say that I have the same amount of French Fingerling potatoes as All-Blues, around six pounds, even though I planted one pound of French Fingerlings and three pounds of All-Blues. Also the French Fingerlings are, on average, bigger. Maybe I’ll blame the potato variety rather than my own skills.

I picked tomatoes while the girls picked pears, and heard Paxton say, “If my dad had a big garden like this, he wouldn’t take care of it.” I found this hilarious, considering that both girls were at that moment standing in soft patches of gone-to-seed weeds.

“Hey, Jenny, here’s a pepper or something,” Michelle said, pointing to a ripe Zapotec Pleated as she made her way around the Asian pear tree.

“It’s a tomato,” I said, coming to pick it.

“It’s not like any tomato I’ve ever seen,” she said doubtfully, examining it.

“Are those supposed to be corn?” Paxton said, catching sight of my brown corn patch, which I’ve left in place since harvest because (a) there’s a Stella Blue Hokkaido plant clambering around in it with at least one good squash and (b) I’m lazy and will clean up the garden all at once, when it’s cold.

“They were,” I said. “Now they’re dried stalks.”

“Last season she grew sunflowers that were taller than the garage,” Michelle said. “As big as that branch there. Jenny, weren’t they as tall as that branch?”

We discussed how tall sunflowers can get, and whether pears make a good cobbler. “Didn’t you pick any pears?” Michelle said as we hopped over the fence and headed out of the backyard. “Or do you already have enough?”

I looked at her as if she were crazy. They’d both picked a good sackful, but there’s plenty of fruit left on both trees. For one thing, I’m taller than either of them. “I own the trees.”

“Oh yeah,” she said, and she and Paxton scampered off, sacks in hand, to play some more and introduce Paxton to the taste of an Asian pear.

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