Rubenesque Landscapes

The first is somewhat obviously if skillfully Photoshopped, but it’s still interesting.



When I turned this collection in for my final grade in entomology, it seemed substantial. Now it looks so tiny and sparse.

In my office I have little tins and vials of new insects to pin, but of course, they’re dried now and pinning will not be so easy without rehydrating them. When they’re fresh, their hemolymph helps “glue” them to the pin so they stay put.

I need collection boxes with flip lids like the one pictured. Bioquip has fantastic entomology supplies, and I feel a little shopping spree coming on.

Homegrown, Local and In-Season: the dark side

This year, I’ve eaten much more in line with the above sentiment but have been chagrined to discover that it’s something of a challenge – and not in the way I expected.

In early summer, the strawberries were staggered and we had several handfuls a day for about a month. The birds helped themselves, and still we had plenty. They were fabulous on cereal or directly from the plants.

The cherries were next, and it was a so-so year for them. We had plenty for us and shared quite a few. They weren’t as good as previous years and only one of the two trees really bore a good amount of fruit. The dogs ate whatever fell to the ground.

A month or so ago, we ate blueberries by the pound as our 4 bushes all came into fruit at the same time. This wasn’t even a good year for blueberries. The flowers bloomed when it was still too cold and wet for the bees that pollinate them, so the harvest was sparse compared to previous years. Nevertheless, we were awash in Vaccinium for two solid weeks.

Three weeks ago, the peach tree simultaneously produced about 25# of the most delicious, incredible peaches I have ever had in my entire life. The tree looks like a decrepit twig, but I won’t cut it down because, really, fruit like that? Nectar of the gods. Sadly, much of it went to waste because a) there was no way I was sharing, b) my back was out and I couldn’t can it, and c) I can only eat so much stone fruit in a day. Live and learn.

The pear tree is bearing a good crop for the first time this year. The dogs are beside themselves and I keep finding stashed pears in the house. Yesterday, the lab brought me one and laid it on my pillow while I was still asleep. As soon as I made the sounds of waking up, she changed her mind and jumped up and ate it. I haven’t tried any of them myself yet; they’re just creeping up on ripeness.

Blackberries are also ready, so ready in fact that the smell of them is everywhere in the late afternoon.

Apples are looking good. I’ve thinned the crop a bit so the fruit can develop a little larger. As I recall, these are baking apples – not that it stops the dogs who will even eat crabapples, though they make faces.

Zucchini. Here’s where it gets ugly. The neighbor has brought over probably about 30# of zucchini in the past few weeks, as well as green beans, summer squash, and cucumbers. It was lovely and rustic the first time, but now my tiny kitchen is looking like a commercial set up with pans and colanders and knives and garlic strewn about. Both sides of a double sink are overflowing with zucchini, there’s more I haven’t unloaded yet, and I’ve already roasted two pans worth.

I think tonight I’ll wait in the dark on the porch with my shotgun. The freezer is nearly full and I’m wising up to the midnight zucchini drops.

What I didn’t know about seasonal eating is that it’s marked by periods of tiresome repetition: a few weeks of eating more of something you love than you really wanted, particularly if you plan and continuing to love it. Even blueberries get old after ten days.