Since we arrived home, nearly midnight, on the fourth of July, our days have been full.
The weeds were all pulled to reveal little rows of seeds that sprouted in my absence. Kale has been coming into my kitchen by the arm full.
Onions are being pulled. We had our first cucumber, followed quickly by many more. Zucchini, Chard, Eggplant, Purple Beans and Snap Peas, Mint, Parsley, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Blueberries and Currants move from garden to plate and sometimes just straight from plant to mouth.
Our hens, which were little more than awkward, gangly adolescents, are now shiny and proud. We check the coop every so often for that very first egg.
Will it be brown? Blue?
There are berries to harvest.
And a sink full of strawberries fills our house with a sweet fragrance as they simmer in the process of becoming strawberry syrup and butter.
The first jars of this year's harvest on the shelf.
Mornings I wake up early and notice the room brighten as I carve the surfaces of the mugs and bowls I have brought home to work on.
One sunflower after the other blooms over the surfaces of the cold clay. The sunflowers in my neighbors compost pile have been peering over the fence at my garden for weeks and just the other day the green tower of leaves next to the bean tepee burst open. “This is the day our first sunflower bloomed”, I think to myself. When was that again? The day before yesterday? The day before that?
The mornings are brisk. The days are hot and the water cold.
In perfect Missoula style the city is bursting with energy.
There are festivals. There are the markets. There are the tubers on the river and the surfers on the wave.
There are potlucks and birthday parties. There is Waldo hiding in down town stores and we explore marking off the spots where we find him. We walk through the galleries of the Missoula Art Museum and when we come home we print our own mono-prints of rockets and chickens and when the paper gets old there are all sorts of other surfaces to explore.
Hands get a brief rinse and paint caked bodies slide onto the picnic table bench next to Adam and I.
An interlude in all the summer fun to enjoy dinner.
Fennel, Cucumber and Chicken Pasta Salad
½ pound gluten free pasta (or regular pasta)
- heat water and cook according to the directions on the packaging.
1 fennel bulb (thinly sliced)
2 bunching onions
3 Tablespoons butter
- heat the butter in a satuee pan and add fennel and onion, cook until slightly caramelized
- pour the fennel into the serving dish and then cook
2 chicken breasts
- while the chicken breasts are cooking mix up the sauce for the pasta salad
½ cup plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 cucumbers (chopped)
¼ cup cilantro (or mint or mint and cilantro)
- chop up the chicken, make sure it is completely cooked
- Pour the sauce over the fennel and gently mix in the pasta and cooked chicken.
The dishes are washed and the kids scrubbed and as the sky grows dark the kids finally crash into bed.
Cleaning that ring around the tub and the paint splatters on the wall will have to wait until tomorrow.