The End

Two weeks ago I went to  our farmer’s market, looking for that last taste of sunshine. Imagine my relief when I drove up and spotted the orchard truck. Yes, they are here, it’s not too late for peaches, I thought as I parked. Then the doubts crept into my mind, maybe the peaches are gone and they are bringing apples. Oh no, please don’t say that!

I made a beeline for the truck as soon as I got out of my car. My eyes scanned the crowd. Usually this truck has a  line of customers that snake down the row past several jealous vendors. Today I saw only a few people waiting in line for service. This is not giving me a good feeling, but I continue. I will not abandon my quest for those fresh-off- the-tree orbs of sweetness.

What is that on the table? Could it be . . . Yes, they are still here! “This is the last day for peaches,” the sales lady says to me. Those are the saddest words. Ten loonnngggg months of no fresh peaches! Already I am thinking about July and savoring that sweet juicy bite. But, it is now and I buy two bags of peaches.

I return home with my treasures and carefully inspect them. Some are ripe and need to go to the refrigerator to preserve them. Some are not quite ripe and need to sit on the counter to ripen. Each day it is my task to determine which peach is eaten, which peach goes into refrigeration, or which peach remains to ripen a bit more. It is a labor of love.

Can you tell I L-O-V-E these peaches? Store peaches are just not the same. I know, I am a peach snob. If I can’t get them from the orchard I will do without. (I’m the same way about tomatoes.) The final peach has been consumed. Memories of the sweetness are etched into my mind, until next year.

Time passes so slowly as I wait for these to ripen.

Special Times

A birthday celebration was on the horizon. Once three friends were able to coordinate calendars (a major accomplishment), a plan evolved. The recipe for a birthday celebration begins by meeting at a lounge for martinis and munchies.

Toss in a trip across town to a food truck for a “twisted” taco. As we pulled up to the truck, our hopes were dashed. They were closed! It had been a cool and rainy day, so the truck decided to shut down early. Were we out of luck? Goodness no! (Do you know Pete the Cat? If not, you need to head out to the bookstore and check him out.) We hopped into the car and headed out for another food truck, The Traveling Taco. The specialty of this truck is a fried taco. It did not disappoint.

The final ingredient for the night was the laugh out loud movie Bridesmaids. Of course no birthday celebration would be complete without dessert. Mini-cupcakes and cake pops (balls of cake on a sucker stick) were smuggled into the theater. The only thing missing was the candle.

Great food & beverages + Funny movie = One delightful birthday celebration with girlfriends

The evening still puts a smile on my face when I think back on those few hours.

Patterns of Land

I travel across the state (270 miles) to work with teachers once a month. As I drive, I marvel at how the landscape changes through the miles.

Starting out the road is a black ribbon rolling up and down with small hills. Tucked into these hills are a few small towns every ten to fifteen miles. The country side is dotted with some cattle or fields of hay. This is familiar territory. As the miles roll by, the land slowly changes.

The hills become taller and slightly steeper. These are the Ozark Mountains. The trees change from oaks to pines. The denseness of the pines always surprises me. However, the temperature reminds me I am not in the Rocky Mountains. Distance between towns increases as the miles add up.

Suddenly the pine trees are gone, hills are gone. The land is flat. This is  farmland , rich black farmland. It is a patchwork of color and texture. Every shade of green has shown up for the show. I see deep, dark emerald-green to fluorescent lime green. As cornstalks dry in the fields, green gives way to crispy golden-brown stalks. Some fields have been leveled, they have been given a crew cut by the farm equipment. Cotton balls are beginning to burst from their bolls, polka dots of white, as far as the eye can see.

Last spring this land was underwater from flooding. I am amazed that the farmers were able to get plants in the ground. Farmers are amazing!

The next time I make this trip, the landscape will be in the midst of a change. Crops will have been harvested, so fields will be empty. Trees will begin their fall fashion show of colors. Every month the landscape changes. The only constant is that black ribbon of road.

If Hummingbirds Could Talk

Who doesn’t love hummingbirds? They provide me with endless entertainment during the summer season. Their feeder is perfectly positioned so I can observe them as I cook dinner, read, or watch TV.

They zip, zoom, dive, dart with the ease of the most accomplished aerial acrobats. They come flying in with attitude and I can just imagine the conversations they might have.

“Get out of the way, this is MY feeder!” as he barrels in shoving others off.

“What makes you think you’re the boss of this feeder, you don’t scare me!”

“This is mine!”

“No, it’s mine, find another feeder.”

“Quick, I can get a sip before that bossy fellow gets back.”

“Do you want to share?”

“Which hole has the best flavor?”

“What? Where’s the juice? Who drank all the juice?”

They hover around the window, watching and wondering when the feeder will return.

There is one who has been named King. He sits perched on the top of the holder surveying the yard before him. He is ready to defend his territory should anyone be brave enough to challenge him.

Like I said, they are very entertaining, especially when you hear their voices in your head.