We're back from our lovely vacation, and I have spent most of the morning and the early part of the afternoon getting the house put back together. I scrubbed and scrubbed before we left, knowing from experience how nice it is to return to a clean house and how depressing to return to a dirty one.
For all my scrubbing, as soon as we brought in the luggage and towels and boxes of books, the house lost its clean and tidy vibe. It will probably take days, even years, to return it to its former glory. And given the heat and the humidity around here, well, girls, I don't know if I'm up for the full job. I may watch "From Larkrise to Candleford" DVDs and knit instead.
One job I'll need to be up for soon: processing tomatoes. The vines are loaded down with them, and I predict we'll start seeing ripe, red globes by the end of the week. I plan on canning gallons of spaghetti sauce until I can't stand it anymore and just start freezing tomatoes whole. I made a lot of very fine sauce from frozen tomatoes this winter. All you do is thaw them in bowl, then throw them in a pan with some sauteed onions and garlic, break the tomatoes up with the edge of your spatula, and then let the sauce cook down until it's thick enough to do something with. Easy as pie.
I need to take some pictures of the garden to show you. It's gone wild, as it does every year we get enough rain. Lots of green beans and lima beans and little melons and HUGE zucchini (you really have to stay on top of the zucchini or else they turn into cavemen clubs overnight) and yellow squash and crowder peas. It's a bit much, really, but fun.
Have you read any books by the English writer Miss Read? She wrote tons of them, mostly about two villages, Fairacre and Thrush Green. Her first book was published in 1955, and she continued to publish until the 1990s. She died earlier this year at the age of 98.
I have just begun my odyssey with Miss Read (real name: Dora Jessie Saint). I checked out Emily Davis from the library, and am enjoying it very much. It's a fairly straightforward, unadorned sort of book, but it satisfies my anglophile soul. So far there have been several mentions of knitting. Need I say more?
Here's a description of Miss Read's oeuvre from Wikipedia, in case you think you might be interested:
From 1955 to 1996 Saint wrote a series of novels
centred on two fictional villages, Fairacre and Thrush Green. The first
Fairacre novel appeared in 1955, the last in 1996. The first Thrush
Green novel appeared in 1959. The principal character in the Fairacre
books, Miss Read, is an unmarried schoolteacher in a small village
school, an acerbic and yet compassionate observer of village life.
Saint's novels are wry regional social comedies, laced with gentle
humour and subtle social commentary. Saint was also a keen observer of
nature and the changing seasons.
No matter how much I enjoy our time at the beach, by the end of the week I'm ready to come back to my little world and my little dog and my messy kitchen with its tiny oven and the window over the sink where I can watch my garden grow a little wilder every day.
It's nice to be home.