We had our first real garden produce of the year last night: lettuce and our first cucumber in a big salad with carrots and red cabbage and spinach from the farmer’s market. Actually, I had a small spinach salad from the garden before the spinach bolted, come to think of it, but it wasn’t a shared meal because there wasn’t enough of it (and it was a marinated salad, so Eric wouldn’t have eaten it anyway). “That’s not bad,” Eric said when I offered him a slice of cucumber. “That’s actually a really good cucumber,” he said later at dinner, picking more out of the salad bowl. There are more tiny cucumbers on the vine, so we’ll repeat this next week, especially since the lettuce is just barely starting to elongate in the first signs of bolting.

I intended to do a decent amount of work in the garden this weekend, but the heat and my back defeated me. I did do a little urgent weeding, and helped a cucumber plant and a couple of beans find their way back to the (hopelessly inadequate, I now realize) supports I had put up for them, and listened to my neighbor talk about her poor mimosa tree and how terrible it made the yard look while I stood among my crabgrass and lamb’s-quarters and those strange daisy-like weeds that I haven’t seen before this year. And I picked strawberries, which are less sweet but more flavorful than the quart I bought at the farmer’s market Saturday.

“Are you still doing that?!” Mom exclaimed when I told her on the phone I’d been in the garden. “You know you don’t have to have a garden this year.” Unfortunately, it’s too late. I don’t agree with her that I shouldn’t be exercising, but I admit the stooping and sweating of gardening is not really optimal at this point. However, I’ve got plants in the ground now, with flowers and the promise of fruits; and the taste of that cucumber charmed me as well. I know the weeds will win this year, but I’m still going to have to put up a fight.

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