Sunday, July 15, 2007

Time to Eat Our Bounty and Leave

Within 48 hours we should be leaving Mississippi, our Madison home that has just been named one of the top 10 little towns in America (by Family Circle Magazine), to finish out the summer in the lower Catskills. I'm ready. No regrets about leaving this late.

When R came home with two tomato plants some few months ago, I barked, "What do you think you're doing? We've never had luck with raising tomatoes!" He planted them quietly in two terracotta pots and said, "Let's try once more. These are bush tomatoes, just the right size for eating."

Sixty-four days these tomatoes needed to bloom and produce slices for my bacon/tomato sandwiches. I knew we'd never see them turn pink before we'd be in New York. Our delay in leaving has brought us several ripened ones along with figs for our cereal most mornings.

We were never good at raising food. We would've starved had we been early pioneers. Nothing we did gave us a break in planting. We tried nut and fruit trees only to see them wither and die. We asked questions, read articles, followed directions. Nothing worked. The last tree we planted was the fig, and we put it in a corner where no other growth was, sheltered on one side by a fence and forgot it. Steadily it grew and occasionally gave us a hint of a taste but offered no bragging rights. Now it's an old tree and producing enough for enjoyment.

Some eight years ago the tree had grown four feet into the yard. Bushes planted by our neighbors nearby were vying for the sunlight. We had clipped and sawed limbs from year to year to control its growth to no avail. The tree kept growing upward, revealing its juiciest fruit out of reach.

I've had a week to enjoy these brown kisses as is or sliced into a bowl with a bit of cream. The tomatoes are sweet and juicy, making my BLT the best ever. These enjoyments are the few rewards I like about summers in Mississippi.

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