By LYNNE IRONS
I have never been fond of mayonnaise but I like egg salad in the summer. It is so convenient for lunches. I use cottage cheese with a bit of Italian dressing mixed with the chopped eggs. It is a high protein food for children as well. The other evening I was too tired to make a proper supper and added some chopped cabbage to the mixture. It may turn into a new favorite.
There is so much wonderful food available right now. I planted eggplant and peppers well into June and, thus, am just beginning to pick. Not a moment too soon, as I was beginning to suffer from over exposure to tomatoes. People have mentioned a bumper crop of wild blueberries. One of my peach trees broke under the weight of the fruit. I have never seen so many apples. Again, the branches are straining to hold on to the low-hanging fruit. We may need to haul out the cider press sooner than usual.
Finally, last week some long-overdue weeding was done in the perennial beds. Those weeds were easy to recognize as they were easily two feet taller than the plants. How exactly does that happen? I found things I never remembered planting, unbelievably doing well. Having a bit of rain in July and August really makes a difference. Although it is very dry again, trees and shrubs are faring much better than last summer. Last summer’s drought finished off the trees so hard hit by caterpillars the two previous years. Notice all the dead oaks between Middle Road and the fair grounds on Music street. Quite a few have been removed so far.
I feel so sorry for the Gulf Coast residents in the wake of another hurricane. I was thinking about Hurricane Bob here in the early 1990s. Everyday life was so disrupted. Being mountain raised, it was my first experience with a hurricane. The anticipation and preparations were extremely stressful. I would get into a lather and some seasoned Islander would tell of driving around and looking at the surf during Carol. The conversation would be calming until I took stock of my responsibilities. I had animals: chickens, ducks, turkeys, barn cats, dogs, a horse and a very stubborn donkey. I brought the rabbits into the house, opened the fence to free the birds and hoped for the best for the cats. Elsie at Tashmoo Farm was kind to share the barn with the equines. Actually the donkey may have been an ass. Oddly, they would have been safer outside as a tree fell on their section of the barn and they had to be chain-sawed free.
I had my sons plywood all my windows as I had floor-to-ceiling glass in those days. Every container I owned was filled with water as my well depends on an electric pump. The storm hit midday and within several minutes all the large locust trees around the place were uprooted. It was all over by afternoon and what a mess! Mind you, Bob was a minimum Category 1 storm with a curious lack of rain. The salt wind damaged trees and shrubs and within a month lilacs and forsythia were blooming. Talk about feeling Mother Nature!
The weather immediately turned hot and humid. We had no running water for days, side roads were impassable, and the annoying buzz of chain saws was a dawn-to-dusk reality. The worst part was the number of bees and hornets whose tree homes were destroyed.
You have to know me by now. My friend Robert Cropper accuses me of writing a garden column about everything but gardening. I would rather pay more taxes knowing my money would help my fellow Americans or those suffering around the world than to have another penny go to private contractors (toxic FEMA trailers), corrupt foreign governments, ridiculous and pointless war, tax breaks to corporations and oil companies, building an enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons. The Bush administration cannot redeem itself in my eyes even though I am a relatively forgiving person. Oh! May I just say how insulting it is to me, a Hillary supporter, for the Republicans to toss me a bone in the choosing of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential nominee. I am actually interested in the issues. Since when does a person’s life story qualify them to run the free world?