Now that the scorching sun of summer has sought its way back into our lives, getting the balance right seems more important than ever. You would think that reducing the number of workable hours in a day because of the hovering heat makes it easier to live in the moment and enjoy some time off, which we indeed do. It’s sad, of course, that the grass is dying, turning more yellow by the day, but it saves a lot of time otherwise lost on mowing, not my favorite activity by far. One look at our fruit trees though shows this is no time to get lazy; picking and preserving for less sun touched days simultaneously require an undiminished work ethic and a cheerful appreciation for the gifts of our garden.
A Dutch children’s rhyme, venerating the virtue of obedience and the power of restraint, has a little boy discovering a plum loaded tree with fruits the size of eggs, seducing him to dig in, but has him following his father’s orders, rewarding him in conclusion.
Personally I’ve never understood the attraction of this type of fruit, with their taste not being unpleasant at all but their texture preventing me from ever craving them. I feel the same unjust disgust for some fish dishes, like canned tuna or raw salmon, making me want to reject eating it in advance but then praise their glory if I do. An inconvenient inconsistency, especially with Ivory being pescatarian.
We cut down a couple of Les Pierres’ plum trees last winter, not because of my aversion but rather due to deferred maintenance. The previous owners let things grow wild, a commendable attitude but not very effective when it comes to food production. For some reason or other the remaining trees are not very abundant this year, saving me time and effort, at least I reckoned, before taking into account the Mirabel-explosion in a friend’s garden and multiple other offerings and calls for help. Little boys, balance, obedience and restraint, right?
P.S. Ivory has written a brilliant extended article about an aspect of living at Les Pierres that was left mostly unspoken here. It’s published today in “de Volkskrant”, highly recommended obviously, but in Dutch. You can read the article online here.