|Shaved Fields of Soybeans|
|Dylan at the Cracked Truck|
But I can't stay long away from the country and this afternoon I called on my friend and neighbor, Barb, for a tomato raid. Barb and Dave plant a modest, but artful garden in their front yard. Each year has a different pattern, but always features tomatoes prominently in tall cages. This year, Dave made a circular bed bordered in bricks and planted a central column of sweet corn. Tall wire cages contain 4 tomato plants, set in 4 corners like the points on a compass. Their tomatoes are always plentiful, even in this drought year, and they generously share their bounty with pushy neighbors like me. After several years of their kindness, I now just take it upon myself to announce that I'm coming to raid their tomato patch. It is my excuse to visit and chat a little with Barb, and then we go out together to pick sun-ripened tomatoes. Each of the four cages holds a couple of varieties, so that both grape tomatoes and standard sized ones have adamantly intertwined and appear to grow on one plant.
Now that winter approaches, Barb and I have been keeping an eye on the frost advisory. She called me to let me know that the light frost we got the other night didn't hit her tomatoes, but that it was time for me to come and pull up the plants. She lets me hang them upside-down in my basement where the leaves dry and crumble to dust, but the tomatoes themselves cling to the vine and slowly ripen over the winter. That's the way we'll have ripe tomatoes in January and February. No,they are not sun-ripened, and they do get a little bit wrinkly on the skin, but they are at least as tasty as grocery store tomatoes, picked green and ripened inside a box on a truck from who-knows-where. Barb and I chat as we pull the ripened fruit from the vines. The bushes are still heavy with green tomatoes, and we pull the plants up, cage and all, and stuff the bulky green column into the back of my car. I take it home and cut the plant out of the cage, stem by stem, to hang in bundles under the stairs in my basement. The sun is going down, and I'm carrying bundles back and forth, dreaming of fresh tomatoes in the depths of winter.
|DREAM IN BEAUTY;|