The guys in the family are camping (locally) this weekend. I am coming and going from camp, but also playing taxi-driver to my daughters. When I am at home, it is business as usual which at this time of year is canning, laundry and housework, and homework. As I write this, I'm downloading audio files for my Spanish Language course.
The last two days I have spent many hours picking and pickling veggies from the garden. Yesterday I made 6 pints of bread and butter pickles and four pints of dilled green beans (which I love!) Today, I made some basic dill pickles (6 quarts) out of cucumbers that got too large before I got to them. So I cut them into spears short enough to fit neatly in the jars. These will be very, very dilly dill pickles... Each jar has dill seed, dill weed, and still-yellow dill flower heads, all from the garden.
I'm also taking time several times a day to peek at the caterpillar nursery in the front yard, otherwise known as a patch of bronze fennel. I have about 10 swallowtail caterpillars, in various instars, feeding on the fennel. The three or four that were there last month seemed to vanish, and I never noticed any cocoons. I'm afraid the likelihood of making it from caterpillar to butterfly is pretty slim, but I'm giving them food sources (for adult and caterpillar), and habitat, and hoping it helps at least a little bit.
The local farm stands are offering lovely plums, apricots, and nectarines right now. . I sampled a pretty yellow shiro plum at the market, gobbled up two delicious nectarines (one on the ride home in the car) and then stood over the sink when I got home to eat a fragrant, incredibly juicy nectarine. Yum. Just-made pickles on the counter, fruit juice running down my forearms, a breeze blowing in through the window screen... It's been a good day here in the country. I hope it has been a good day wherever you are too!
photos by Aisling, August 29, 2008 1) tiny cosmos in garden trail 2) bread and butter pickles 3) two swallowtail caterpillars