HELEN LANG: Anyone with a can opener can serve peas

The end of July and the first couple of weeks of August are often like being stuck in the bowels of a roaring furnace.

The next few weeks promise to  be brutal. It has already been hot, but the end of July and the first couple of weeks of August are often like being stuck in the bowels of a roaring furnace.

I suppose when winter comes we’ll recall these over-heated  days with  fondness (as we carefully button up our heavy coats and wrap another woollen scarf around our goose-flesh covered necks — and we haven’t yet even opened the front door).

Today there is a welcome gentle breeze to keep it  from being  too warm and the sunshine is glorious. There isn’t a cloud anywhere. Talk about being spoiled.

This is the beginning of harvest season, which means a lot of work for the house-wife, as her husband staggers in carrying another basket of fruit and vegetables for her attention. She can’t decide whether to scream for mercy, or hit him with the frying pan, but calms herself long enough to say, fairly calmly, “That’s enough for today, dear, unless you want to help get them ready for freezing, bottling or cooking.”

He pleads a head-ache and totters off to lie down in the bed-room where there is a big fan to sooth his fevered brow.

If this sounds mean, please forgive me, I speak from experience.

I adored my husband, but  never understood his disinterest in the garden.

He loved the fresh produce, but wanted no part in “producing” it, which  was the part that most  thrilled me.

Anybody with a can-opener can serve peas. but they just don’t taste the same as those fresh ones, or the ones you’ve frozen.

This is what keeps gardeners in the vegetable plot, wielding the spade, the rake and the hoe and hauling the hoses, of course. Actually it’s a disease and you just can’t stop until  you drop in your tracks, in the middle of a row of ripening squash.


•   •   •   •


This has been a mad few days. Every time I put my head down on the pillow in early afternoon for a bit of a nap there would be a buzz on the intercom and it  would be another member of the extended family (with several children in tow) wanting to come in for a cup of tea and a cookie, of course! Some of the family from Alberta wanted to go to the beach, so I sent them off asking that they come back for me in about half an hour, which gave me time to make a sandwich lunch, adding  cookies and a large bottle of pop, which we all enjoyed, perched on a log. It was fun. The kids enjoyed it, anyway. With plans to come back, this time Nanny is going to buy hamburgers to take to the beach for lunch.

All my adult life I have saved money for my old age and now I think it’s time to spend at least some of it! I love these dear people and would like to help make their holiday as happy as I can.

My token effort to talk about gardening this week boils down to talking about dandelions.

One of the little girls in my extended family was enchanted by dandelion flowers that had now become fuzzy, round seed-pods.

She learned to blow the fluffy tops away. Children always seem to be interested in something new (don’t they have dandelions in Alberta?).

Incidently, I want my hamburger with four slices of crisp bacon and a big slice of cheese added. If you’re going to forget your diet, why not do it in style?

Yahoo! Fat city, here I come!


Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

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