Monday, July 8, 2013

Settling in to summer

I came home early yesterday morning - my soul still catching up with me, still buffeted by the jet stream somewhere over the Atlantic, Wait for meeeeee, shellshocked by the hot weather of the opposite season and the flattening light, so different from the transparency and bright chill of the Cape - to a spotless apartment filled with flowers and gifts. The tall white allium are the elephant garlic from Frank's Hudson Clove fields on the South Fork. He has been trying to interest local florists in them, but they think they smell. They don't!  (There are also green garlic scapes in a bag in the fridge, supper for tonight). Roses from the Frenchman, violet syrup and a handmade card from Amy, books and cards from Dinah.

So different from when The Tick house sat for us. He is a music journalist, now. I wonder if he has learned to clean toilets, though?

After breakfast of croissant and coffee, I spent an hour on the terrace, stunned by heat and perspiration, hacking back the clematis in hopes of its re-bloom, trying to diagnose the massive die back in the blackspot-shocked climbing Iceberg (a drip from the airconditioner right onto its base may have contributed), and cutting out the dead canes, removing pansies from gone-to-seed pots and deciding once and for all that the Thalictrum and Japanese Nepeta have to go. Finding the Gloriosa lilies where they had insinuated themselves amongst the tangle of geranium, and tying them up, and cutting back bloomed lilies to their fringed green stalks. Tethering buckling lily stems to stakes and noting that the Dunyazades are a month ahead of schedule.

It had been the wettest June on record, with over 10" of rain in the month. Average rainfall for June is just over 4".

When I came back inside I was slathered in indelible and electric yellow lily pollen and my clothes sodden.

In the afternoon I began to tackle the roof farm but that will be a long process. I hauled out many weeds, cut the dill seeds for drying, admired the pretty green coriander seed and ate a lot of blueberries.

Then I gave up and had my third cold shower of the day.

...followed by a delicious drink.

Now, the roof pops in the heat. I can only hear it because the roar of the airconditioner on economy mode stopped for a minute.

The thought of cooking indoors is unbearable. Last night's supper was spindried chicken (bought at Union Market - yes, I still go there for that rotisserie chicken!), avocado and mango salad with terrace mint, and a welcome-home glass of cold prosecco.

...but raw foods and solar ovens are speaking loudly to me.


  1. Welcome home! And thank you for the stories and pics from SA. I enjoy this blog more than I can effectively state :)

    Btw, while checking the weather the other day, the ad strip on the side of the page included an ad for your book on Amazon. It was both delightful and creepy (creepy in that I now wonder if someone watches what I'm watching). I haven't bought it because I'd rather buy it from you than Amazon (assuming you'll sell them directly and make more that way). If that's not accurate, please say so :)

    1. Thank you, Paul. A very nice compliment.

      Ha, an ad! I had no idea. That is a bit creepy. Or creepily delightful?

      You ask a good question, and one to which I have given no thought. I suppose it makes sense for me to buy books at a reduced rate from my publisher, and sell them direct.

      Then again, I'd also love people to buy from real bookstores :-)

    2. I'll see if I can order it through a local bookstore (which will serve two purposes as I'll have to find one first). Independent, of course :) I assumed that every author had a few dozen copies of their book that they brought with them to sell at speaking gigs (like bands do with CDs).

  2. Thank you, Marie and Vince, for sharing your adventures with us, and the ways you make a beautiful life. The allium is so elegant.

  3. Welcome back! Glad to see Estorbo succeeded in rescuing you from the clutches of THE DOGS.

  4. A three-shower day! I love to have a couple every summer - it makes me feel like a 'real' gardener.

    Had not thought of buying THE book directly from you, so ordered from Amazon the second i saw it link. Now i am feeling bad about that decision. I often accuse Mithell of being the king of instant gradification, but apparently the apple fell pretty close...

    Glad you're home and things seem to be in good shape - good sitters - but enjoyed your travels, too.

  5. Thanks so much for the interesting and informative posts from SA. I love that there is a place in this world called "the Great Karoo"! I attended your talk at the BBG in May, and I would be happy to make the trek from upstate to hear another one about the flora and fauna of South Africa. Just a thought...
    Welcome back!

  6. This heat, and I'm guessing you have the humidity too, unbelievable, no?

    I call it Zumba gardening.

    Drenched with sweat. Covered with mosquito bites. Losing the battle of the weeds. Again.

    So glad you're home. Like to feel you're close by.

    xo Jane

  7. The tick, how funny! Ok, I won't say my line, it would be too much...


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