rain song

It’s been a hot dry late summer here on the Sechelt peninsula. This afternoon I was making ravioli — roasted Tonda Padana pumpkin, blanched kale, fresh sage, garlic, ricotta — and as I fiddled with the dough and the small mounds of filling, I heard the most beautiful passage of frog song. The rain song. I went outside and sure enough, a tiny tree frog was huddled in a corner under the eaves.

P1100487I thought I heard a weather report promising rain but when I just checked, it doesn’t seem likely. The frog is as hopeful as I am — and maybe as deluded. All summer I’ve weeded and watered the vegetable garden and I want a break from it. There’s a lot of produce to pick and process. Jars of pickled beans to be labeled and stored, tomatoes to be made into bruschetta topping, basil to be pureed with olive oil and garlic and frozen in small portions for pesto base. (I like to mix in pine nuts and parmesan cheese just before I add the base to pasta.) Eggplants ready to pick. Many red Thai chili peppers to be made into jelly, maybe with Chardonnay grapes. (We grow a few wine grape vines for their leaves and shade but never intended to make wine with them. If we can get to them before the Steller’s jays or the elk, they make good savoury jelly, with herbs or other flavourings.)

So more watering. And we’re preparing part of our house for change — new carpeting. I want to paint my study first so have cleared out all the furniture, the boxes of papers, the talking stick my daughter made me in grade 3 (“You give readings. You could take this along!”), decorated with ribbons, feathers, glitter, and a little bag of dried sage tied to its base, the framed copies of archival photographs in which the horses leaving the old roadhouses stare at the photographer with such avid interest that I think there must be a story there somehwere (and of course it’s probably the magnesium ribbon the photographers used for flash for the long exposures), the piles of notes on my desk. Which is taken apart now and stored in the back of the house until I’ve painted (a deep dusty rose) and the new carpet is laid. I’m typing this at the dining table while the honeyed light filters through the grape vines and the frog has gone silent, perhaps having heard the updated weather report.

morning

I went out to begin the watering but found myself admiring the abundance of a summer garden. It’s not long ago that I showed you the hopeful beds of March, with their painted signs and tiny sprouts of garlic (which is all harvested and hanging in the woodshed to cure), a little clump of chives, the first crocus — and a lot of bare soil. We’ve had runs of hot weather followed by days of heavy rain and other than producing slugs the size of the late dinosaurs, the results have been pretty fine.