My slovenly, half-wit gardening technique is paying off! Among the pumpkins I noticed a large weed, larger than the others, with leaves like a tomato plant. On closer inspection I discovered tomatoes on the large weed. Hooray! A freebie! It is in the general vicinity of last year's tomato plants and although it is hard to believe there was a tomato we didn't eat, this is obviously the case.
This takes the sting out of the broccoli debacle. The big silvery green leaves now look like those crocheted doilies my grandmother used to put on the arms of chairs. Darn bugs.
I think next year I will rake in a bunch of compost (which already has plenty of seeds in it) and sprinkle tomato, broccoli, lettuce, squash, carrot, snap pea, cucumber and watermelon seeds in, willy-nilly. I will then wait to weed until things are vaguely recognizable. I might put a few flagstones in so we can get around in there, but that's IT. Phooey on this year's grand master scheme of timed plantings! Phooey on companion planting! And phooey, phooey phooey on broccoli bugs!
The sunflowers are still doing fine, thank you for your concern. Although they were almost not fine. Not fine at all. One of them appeared all scrunched up and bent over, which was surprising since it had been just tickety-boo the day before. So I inspected it more closely, which was a big mistake. It was all scrunched up because it was under seige. The whole top had been wrapped up by a spider - a really, really big spider - which I removed with the hose. I tried to free the plant and that's when I realized that the really really big spider was a furious Expectant Mother spider and boy had I better run. So I did.
I checked on it a few days later, after the expected life span of said spider had elapsed, and it is again tickety-boo. The sunflower, not the spider.
The discovery of the new tomato plant happened on our way to the beach. We go to the beach around 4:00 when every one else with any sense is going home. It explains our fabulous tans. But we just can't be bothered to get there early enough to get a parking space. And then it's hot, and crowded and, you know, sandy. So we wait. And it's still sandy but not so hot and not very crowded and I highly recommend it if you aren't trying to accrue Beach Hours but just want to go swimming.
We are not alone in this. Tonight we ran into a couple I know from a Former Life, and their twins, who are one month younger than Studley. Their son, Diego, sure does make Studley look like the pastey-white future captain of the chess team. At 20 months, Diego is already pulling off "Latin Suave" effortlessly as he saunters around in his Speedo. Studley is blissfully unaware of his own hibiscus-printed bathing trunks, which hit mid-calf.
I met Diego's parents when they first arrived in the U.S. and needed to learn English. One of my many, many jobs was teaching English to adult speakers of other languages. You know, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). When I first started teaching, I taught ESL (English as a Second Language) but then that was proclaimed Politically Incorrect because it implies that the student only speaks his or her native language. Which is just silly, because no one who has ever taught someone from another country would EVER assume they only spoke one language. They are smart cookies, those Speakers of Other Languages.
Our kids hit it off. Lucy even said "Hola" to Clara, and rolled the "r" when she said her name. Lucy and I are learning Spanish so we can tell secrets in front of Studley and Chris. They're boys, so they probably won't even notice. I'm thinking I should call my friends and set up a play date so their kids can learn English and my kids can learn Spanish.
And as soon as they learn Spanish I am renting an apartment in Barcelona for a couple weeks and drinking teeny tiny coffees on terraces until I've spent all the money I saved on a Spanish tutor. I'll unleash the chickens in the garden while we're gone, so they can fend for themselves and add another dimension to my new Chaos Theory gardening plan.
And then I will write an article for Mother Earth News which will fund Studley's new Speedo.