Chilly to hot in nothing flat

More and more we no longer enjoy a tempered island climate. We had extremely cold weather this winter. February was mild but March and April were cold and stormy. We started planting much later than usual. Now the greenhouse is full and the tender plants are clamoring to get into the soil.

All the hardy plants are out, finally—broccoli, bok choi, red cabbage, shallots, chervil, cilantro, lettuce, radishes, brussels sprout, arugula, garden cress, beets, parsnips, spinach, leeks—both the hardy seedlings and the seeds. Yesterday we put the pumpkin plants into the lower garden. Today we put out sungold cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, patty pans and a couple of six-packs of cucumbers.

Tomorrow I am hoping I can plant paste tomatoes in my rosa garden. Every year it seems one of the six-packs has lost its label. I’m trying to figure out what it is. It matters because some years an unlabeled bunch of tomatoes went into the paste tomato garden and turned out to be huge maincrop bushes. And vice versa. I’m narrowing it down. I started seeds for 6 paste tomatoes and 10 maincrops: 3 reds, 3 orange, 3 pinks and a Black Krim.

Wednesday and Thursday were hot, damned hot and Thursday, humid as well. We went out in the morning but it still got hot shortly after we started to work. I wore shorts and even though I put on sunspray, my knees got lightly bured.. I have to get sandals out of the closet and put away some of the winter shoes.  It’s gone close to 90 both days.

I started reading, rereading and annotating the first of the mss. for my annual juried intensive poetry workshop. This week I read and annotated the first two. Can’t do three as I usually aim for a week, because most of the plants in the greenhouse want out and we have to prepare for Saturday. They’ve finally opened up the bridge again so we should be able to get into Boston this coming week – it’s been at least two months.

Xena is playing with something behind my computer right now. She has the habit of eating catfood normally on a saucer. She is our only cat that begs, as she learned that from Puck, who did not beg but demanded. She is much more polite. When the smell of something at supper appeals to her, she sits down in a chair at the table and simply stares at us. When we give her a little piece, instead of eating it normally, she takes her paw, uses it like hand and puts the piece in her mouth. She is imitating how we eat at the table. I’ve never had a cat act like that.

Today we have our annual Kentucky Derby party. Wood is picking mint for mint juleps. I did a little cooking Friday, but today is devoted to getting things ready and madly cooking. Twenty-one people are supposed to crowd into our rather small livingroom. I’ll make deviled eggs, guacamole, put out gravlax and cheeses and crackers, stuffed mushrooms, tuna pita foldovers and Maryland baked chicken pieces. People are bringing more food. It has cooled down considerably. It’s partly sunny. Woody will make mint juleps for everyone who drinks. Sodas for those who don’t or fruit juice.

With the spring so very late this year, the garden work is just about all at once. It’s time to do everything. At least I got my novel out of the house. But at the same time, I have to be preparing for my workshop. Not only will I be working on the individual mss., but I have to go over all the lectures and handouts and assignments. Monday I’ll start doing that with Dale. He is one of the most loyal and helpful friends I have ever known. Our friend Martha is the same way. They really go out of their ways to help. Both of them have been involved in helping another friend who had a serious eye operation at Mass Eye and Ear and should be released to be picked up today.



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