Fleur-de-Summer’sEnd

 Pink cosmos, orange marigolds, and crayon-colored zinnias are a gift from my father.
He died three years ago today, after a long illness that kept him out of the garden for several years. But this spring, when I resurrected his raised-bed gardens, I was rewarded with a small patch of volunteers—seedlings of cosmos, marigolds, and zinnias. I carefully weeded the area to allow the upstarts growing room, and voila, as summer comes to a close we have Daddy’s Flower Garden and fresh-cut flowers for the house. Truly a gift from the heavens. Laurie Lynch
Provider from Providence:  When he was living in Providence, RI, nephew Wille gave me a packet of  “Provider” green beans. I planted them this year and love the variety.  Now that I’m an office worker, I don’t get into the garden as often as I’d like. The “Provider” beans got away from me. When I found time to harvest them, they were much larger than I’d normally pick, but I picked them anyway. I tossed them in a little water with a sloshing of Fasta & Ravioli Co. garlic-infused olive oil over high heat…and out came delicious,tender green beans.
Hay-Bale Winner:Although the hay-bale garden was less than a success, I must tell you one plant thrived in the environment: Thelma Sanders’s Sweet Potato squash. This heirloom is an acorn squash with cream-colored skin, and it is slightly larger than the green type. I did a little investigating and read that Thelma vines are sprawling, tough ladies that flourish in dry conditions, wet conditions, hot conditions, and even cooler conditions. In other words, Thelma is idiot-proof and hay-bale-proof.
Rainbow’s Other End:No garden should be without Swiss chard. The rainbow colors of the stalks and leaf veins allow it to dress up an ornamental bed, but I love to eat it. During the Fleur-de-Lys years, I harvested Swiss chard often, keeping the plants dwarfed. This summer, my chard plants are reaching skyward, past my knees. Beautiful, but the vegetable farmer in me wants touse (OK, eat) them. The three of us can only eat so much chard pie and steamed greens.  A thought came to me while I was in the kitchen making German Potato Salad with hot bacon dressing. Why not sauté a few chopped ribs of chard with the onions for the hot bacon dressing? Why not, indeed? The debut of Swiss-German Potato Salad.
Craving Felt ‘Round the World: I had a craving for smoked salmon this past week. I bought a sliver at the supermarket and was inspired to make a simple pasta dish for dinner: 1 pound of pasta, about ¾ cup of whipped cream cheese, three ounces of smoked salmon, a small handful of home-grown Picasso shallots, and a sprinkling of fresh chopped chives. After cooking the pasta, I drained it and mixed in the cream cheese until the noodles were coated. Then I tossed in small bits of salmon with the chopped shallots and chives. Craving satisfied, and an easy, after-work meal served in minutes, with a side dish of sliced heirloom tomatoes.
As it happened, I mentioned this pasta while Skyping with Marina. She replied that earlier in the week she had the same craving and came up with a similar dish! She tossed cooked pasta with a little cream, cream cheese with herbs, strips of smoked salmon, chunks of cucumber and tomato, and a pinch or two of chopped dill. We laughed at the coincidence, though living on two different continents. If you like smoked salmon, try the mother-version, or the daughter-version, or make up your own!
Written on Slate:“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” –Sophia Loren

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