What I don’t know is a lot! For example, I grow beautiful tomatoes, but at the point of ripeness something inevitably happens. Some four-legged or two-winged creature comes along for one bite. Then he naturally doesn’t finish the job but moves on to the next one. This year I seem to have a problem with cracking. Again, at the point of perfection, a big split occurs. I think I have inadvertently been over-watering. The tomato beds are located near my new fall plantings and the sprinkler hits them almost every day! To solve these annoying problems, I have been picking all the not-quite-ripes. They cover all the horizontal surfaces in my kitchen. Daily, it seems, I toss out bad ones. My chickens, unlike me, are happy. I’ve always been able to salvage enough for winter sauce making.

If you get a chance, a Squeezo Strainer is a wonderful purchase. It separates the seeds and skins from raw tomato juice. The resulting juice can be enjoyed as is or cooked down into a sauce or paste. I use a large crockpot to avoid burning and to allow me to walk away for a day or two. I did not till in my field peas, and remarkably I have the beginnings of hundreds of pea pods. These are a generic English variety which need shelling. In order to harvest them I will need to place a stool into the bed. This is a 20’ x 20’ area planted completely solid. I think it will be the first time I have had significant peas in the fall and it was a mistake. Go figure.

I had a loaf of zucchini bread which was a bit stale and dry. I hate wasting food, so I made it into French toast. Both Violet and I thought it was the best ever. I’ve stopped making French toast in the traditional manner. I cut the bread (often the end pieces of homemade) into cubes, soak in the egg, milk and cinnamon mixture and cook in a crockpot. We all can enjoy it at the same time rather than someone slaving over the griddle flipping a few at a time. Sadly, I’ve begun purchasing maple syrup again. I ran out of my Dad’s homemade. Before his death last year, he boiled down hundreds of gallons of sap in a 50 gallon tank he fashioned himself. It takes at least 50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup. Think about this the next time you complain about the price.

Violet and I attended the Fiddle and Whistle concert held at the First Baptist Church last Saturday evening. What a wonderful selection of Irish music. There was some serious foot-tapping by all. On our way home, we saw a great display of fireworks on Spring street. There was a wedding celebration on Tashmoo at the Hambrecks. I sang a verse to Violet of When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day. She’s an appreciative child and didn’t roll her eyes at me.

At my friend Kitty Burke’s suggestion, I cut the boltonia by half in June and July. Now it is blooming beautifully at a reasonable three-foot height. In the past it has been way over my head with a feeble bottom four feet. Hopefully I’ll remember to repeat next year.

I am at a loss concerning our world situation. The demonstrations in the Middle East have added to a sense of free-floating anxiety. As far as the video that seems to have ignited the whole affair, let me make two comments. I am a big fan of free speech — I use my right to do it as often as possible. However, I do refrain from yelling “fire” in a crowd. The advent of the internet has speeded up crazy interchanges at an alarming rate. The head of Hezbollah in Lebanon has encouraged “shouts and fists” to avenge the slander of the prophet.

The Nixon bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam war caused the reaction at Kent State in Ohio which resulted in four dead. I was living in Washington at the time. I attended a huge rally which started at several embassies. It culminated with tear gas, mounted police and an angry mob totally destroying a police car with their bare hands. I remember feeling justified. Granted I was in my 20s and relatively fearless.

The angry young men in the emerging democracies have no concept that our government did not sanction the movie trailer and likewise they feel justified with their behavior.

I’m not above some conspiracy theories involving the presidential election. How did we get here? In a handbasket?