Dating back to the years I lived in Iowa, I have enjoyed the flash of lightning and the clash of thunder that comes with an approaching storm.
From dorm rooms and apartment balconies I would scan the sky as storms advanced toward my location, the intervals between flash and clash growing shorter. Seeing simultaneous bolts of lightning shooting in opposite directions was a particular thrill.
I still enjoy watching storms. Indeed, as I start this column, I can hear rumbles of thunder from several miles away. Thunder upsets Bru, the senior of my two canine assistants, who routinely deposits himself on my office floor.
Any rain that spares me the added expense of watering our garden is welcome. In the main, this has been a productive season.
As usual, the raspberry crop was stunted by the shading of the kiwi vines. The blueberries were not the size that you buy in the grocery store, but tasty nonetheless. The blackberries were plentiful.
The report from the garden box is mixed. We continue to share our bounty of cherry tomatoes. We’ve harvested several Romas, but despite multiple plantings, stalks grew without the hoped-for globe and beefsteak varieties.
The dill, parsley and, particularly, basil served us well. I used our basil while making pesto for the first time. I like tomato sandwiches (a Southern favorite adopted after many years) and mixing pesto with the mayonnaise perked up the flavor.
I have found new uses (in eggs, for example) for our yield of banana peppers. The green bell peppers were good-sized and we had one plant decorated with a smaller red variety. I don’t like eggplant but our one plant turned out a few beauts.
My first-time pesto was matched by my wife’s successful pickling debut. She began with red onions, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and okra, then added banana peppers and carrots.
Regular readers know of our annual attempts to grow sunflowers. When this year’s efforts failed, we planted elephant ears, which have grown large and sway like fans in a breeze.
As for those kiwi vines, I trim that monstrosity regularly. It retaliates by growing shoots in places I cannot reach. The basketball backboard continues to tilt, its base no longer fully on the ground, pulled by cord-like vines that seem intent on toppling the stanchion.
The latest development is a vine that evaded our attention by winding its way around the leg of a wrought iron chair, sliding through openings in the seat and table and then snaking its way up the pole before curling around a spoke of the umbrella.
We have named it Seymour. (Before fans of “Little Shop of Horrors” suggest otherwise, the name Audrey holds a position of greater prominence in this household.)
I already have begun removing the non-producing tomato plants to make room for winter crops, likely lettuces, beets, carrots, maybe broccoli or cauliflower.
This column will be published as I make my annual pilgrimage to the cabins in the woods by the lake. There is brush and foliage to cut and my brother has left me an exterior wall of the larger cabin, which is in need of a fresh coat of green paint.
Unless there are whitecaps on the lake and the wind is blowing briskly in toward the rocky shore of our cove, I will take out a kayak as often as possible. My days there are always too few, but we must return before Labor Day.
Once upon a time, conventional wisdom held that political campaigns did not kick into high gear until after Labor Day. Those days are gone, along with the value of conventional wisdom. The 2022 mid-term election season began in earnest the day the 2020 season ended. Political campaigns are year-around enterprises, leaving no rest for a politics-weary public (never mind the reporters who cover the races).
A spotlight again shines on Georgia, particularly because of its gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races. The airwaves and internet already are inundated with political advertising and more — much more — is coming. Tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions already have rained on Georgia and downpours of millions more can be expected before election day on the first Tuesday in November.
From now until then, my forecast is for more sound and fury, and more heat than light. When I return from the woods, there will be plenty of storms to watch.