Potatoes Out, Garlic In

Potatoes out

Potatoes out, garlic in. It’s that time of year. Potatoes come out of the soft, warm earth. No matter how many times I pull potatoes out of the earth, it’s a wonder seeing them appear. It’s amazing how potatoes suck in carbon out of the air, combine it with water and minerals out of the ground, and store the result in delectable nuggets full of vitamins and minerals.

Garlic ready to plant

And as I pull out the potatoes, I push the garlic in. This year I’m taking out the potatoes bit by bit. Instead of digging entire rows of potatoes out, I’m just pulling them out as we eat them, and planting a handful of garlic gloves. I should have most of the potatoes out by the end of November and the garlic cloves snug in their winter beds.

Bright afternoon sun

One recent afternoon a bright sun and unusual clouds made me stop on the way to the post office. It pays to look up. Clouds are always being quirky. So quirky at times it makes me wonder if they are watching to see if anyone notices what they are doing.

Curved clouds

How often do you see clouds like this? It’s like someone went crazy with a paint brush up against the blue sky. Show something like this to a psychoanalyst and what would they make of it?

calendula in bloom

Made Me Want to Cry

Blue skies on the morning of September 10.

I thought we’d escape dealing with forest fire smoke this year. In a normal year, by September 10 the fall rains would be back. Labor Day weekend is often a wet one in the Puget Sound. One year to escape the Labor Day downpour, we took off for Canada and on the other side of the border headed east. We had no plans as to where to go other than to escape the steady rain.

We ended up in Banff and on to Calgary. A bit extreme, but we left the rain behind for a few days and discovered the beautiful, California like, Okanagan valley of southern British Columbia, as well the spectacular Canadian Rockies.

Already on Friday, September 9, the smell of forests on fire was in the air. The skies were still blue, and on Saturday morning they were still blue, though the smell of burning wood was stronger.

After skies, orange with smoke on September 10 make me want to cry.

But billowing smoke poured into the skies from the Bolt Creek fire burning sixty miles to the southeast of us. Since the fire was on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, the smoke quickly turned the skies a Martian orange. It made me want to cry.

Sun through smokey clouds

The sun was barely visible. Maybe the sun looks like this on a clear day on Mars. I wonder how intrepid souls who travel to Mars will adjust to life without blue skies. Blue and green are the colors of life. We’ve evolved over millions and millions of years bathed in blue and green. Can we be content never seeing blue skies? Never being able to see blue skies again would certainly make me cry. That’s a key reason I won’t volunteer to settle Mars.

Bolt Creek Fire

Someone flying from Seattle to Spokane took this picture of the smoke billowing from the Bolt Creek Fire and spreading west over Puget Sound. Mt. Baker is the snow covered peak in the upper right.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to endure days on end with smoke in the air. By the next morning, there was enough of an onshore breeze to push the smoke east, and the skies were blue again. And this morning, a short spell of rain dried my tears.

What a Radish Becomes

Radish blossoms, dainty white with pink blush.

Radish have delicate white flowers. This one’s petals have pink blush tips. But by the time a radish blooms it can be a huge plant and hardly edible.

Radish plant pulled out of the ground and spread out on the pavement.

I let one go and pulled it out of the garden yesterday. Huge! Hundreds of blossoms. It would have produced thousands of seeds.

Chickens on radish plant.

But I wanted the space the radish took up to plant some fall crops. A huge radish bush with hundreds of blossoms is a treat for the chickens. It must have been a host to many insects, too small for me to see, but not too small for them.

Chickens enjoying pecking at radish plant.

Summer has past. Labor Day often heralds the start of the rainy season here. We had a few sprinkles yesterday evening, but the sun is out today and the forecast is for dry weather for the next week. The heat is gone and the days are more fall like than summer.

Radish root

And what of the radish? It’s turned into a gnarly root. I’m sure it is chock full of fiber but it would be like chewing on wood. When you think about it, the radishes you see in beautiful bunches in the market are but babies plucked out of the soft soil. Little babies who will never experience their true destiny of becoming a bush with hundreds of butterfly like blossoms.

Ripe blackberries

Blackberries are in peak picking condition. I like to pick them in the late afternoon when they are warm from being in the sun all day. It’s like eating warm blackberry pie fresh out of the oven.

Spaghetti squash flowers

And the spaghetti squash seeds I tossed on composting Alpaca droppings have turned into a jungle of green vines and lovely yellow flowers. There’s still time for the spaghetti squash to ripen before frost arrives in a month or so and puts an end to their vigor.