We had some fun on Facebook the other day. I've been babying this melon all summer--produced by a volunteer vine that popped up in a tub full of lettuce, beside the garden fence. It flowered well, but the weather got hot too quickly and only one fruit "set": this one, which was so heavy (3.5 lbs) that I tied it up in a sling to keep it from breaking its stem. Since I have no idea where the melon came from, I posted the photo on Facebook and invited people to submit names. There were some truly creative suggestions: Lettuce Eat Melon, Magical Mystery Melon, Cinder-melon ("at night, it turns back into lettuce"). The winners: Felon Melon (contributed by Taffy Hill, who gave it that name because I'm a crime writer); and Dolly Parton (contributed by Lindy Barnes). Why Dolly? Round. Ripe. Really.
A couple of days later, the Felon Melon (aka Dolly Parton) appeared on my menu. Delish--and even better after a couple of days in the fridge, where the plant sugars got sweeter and the flavor intensified. I've saved seeds. Too late for the fall garden, but we'll see if Felon Melon can offer an encore in the Spring 2011 garden.
More garden stuff. August is planting time, and I've been busy. Pole beans, bush beans, cantaloupe, cucumbers, kale, okra, zucchini, dill, tomatoes. Also pre-sprouting fall potatoes, although I don't hold out much hope of making a crop. I'm trying to be more faithful in keeping a garden journal, so I will have better records for later comparisons. My friend Dolly Knox gave me a pound of fresh lady peas (wonderful, delicate southern peas). Somehow, I forgot to plant them last spring, so I'm glad to have these. Some will go into a salad with my last two tomatoes and some sliced green bells. The peppers are producing very well this summer, and I've put quite a few in the freezer.
Book report. I know I'm sounding like a broken record here (I do lead a boring life!). But the book--The Tale of Castle Cottage--is going well: about half finished with it, aiming for early October. There's a kind of bittersweet quality to it for me, since it's the last book in the series. I'm saying goodbye to characters I've learned to love over the nine years I've known them. Beatrix and Will, of course. But also the villagers, and especially the children--Jeremy, Deirdre, and Caroline, who are beginning to grow up and enter their adult lives. I'm also aware that the book is set in 1913, only a year away from the beginning of the Great War, which irrevocably changed all their lives. When the book comes out, I think I'll put up a page or two online, with some thoughts about what might have happened to all these wonderful people.
Reading report. Lots of interesting stuff this week. I bought an iPad, installed both Kindle and iBook apps, and am using it as an ebook reader, mostly. I like it very much--although it wasn't the easy set-up I expected. Not Apple's fault: I had an old copy of iTunes on my computer, and the update didn't install correctly. Just started James Speth, The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability. Long title, challenging read. I also have a biography of Abigail Adams--looking forward to it.
Print reading: I just finished Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World, by Stan Cox. Really NOT a comfortable read, since (like lots of other people, particularly in the southern tier of states) I am addicted to A/C. But after this book, I can tell you that it will never be "invisible" to me again, and I will use it much more carefully and deliberately. Read this book only if you are a serious enquirer into our energy predicament.
I also ordered Carol Deppe's Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, as a garden reference. Browsing through it with excitement. I see veggie experiments in my future.
Reading note. When the crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, and to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.--Milton Friedman, quoted by James Speth in The Bridge at the Edge of the World