West Bethel July 22
The dwarf dogwood is living up to one of its alternate names, bunchberry. The clusters of bright red berries have replaced the dogwood-like white blossoms on the forest floor and at the edges of meadows. Meanwhile, the wild low-bush blueberries are in full fruit, and we have had several days of fresh berries on our cereal. Hope to pick enough to freeze some for next winter. In our back yard we have some ripe raspberries on the bushes we transplanted from Flat Road.
The Garden of Eden was a busy place over the weekend. House guests included our daughter, Kate Griffin, her husband Ken, and son Owen; Mike’s sister, Ruth Smith, and her husband, Fred; nephew Dan Smith, his wife Tama, and their son, Connor. Day guests on Sunday to help celebrate Mike’s 80th birthday were our eldest daughter, Cyndy Stancioff, her husband Paul, and their elder daughter, Elisabeth; our youngest daughter, Martha Siegel, her husband Kirk, and their children, Molly and Andrew. Also on hand were cousins Eric and Lucia Schwarz, and their son, Peter, with his wife, Kathy, and sons Chris and Nick. We missed Robbie Griffin and Louisa Stancioff, who were at camp for counselor training and a workshop of international vocal music students, respectively.
Picnic food was scarfed down by all, followed by birthday cake and ice cream. Then there were a few rousing games of croquet with Grandpa’s new set which was a gift from the Griffins. Another gift he received was a peach tree, which has now been planted with hopes for some succulent fruit next year. We also recognized the recent 16th birthday of granddaughter Molly, and the upcoming birthdays of Eric Schwarz and Fred Smith. Louisa will also have a birthday in August, but that celebration will have to wait until she is home again.
We have been very much interested to see exactly what kinds of fruit trees are here at the G.o.E, other than apple, that is. We have already enjoyed the sweet cherries and now find that we have three pear trees of at least two varieties. With the new peach tree, this is becoming quite the orchard.
Mike has provided me with several interesting bouquets of wildflowers, goldenrod, spirea, black-eyed susan, yarrow, liatris (which must be an escape from someone’s garden), and daisies, among others. In the woods I’ve seen a number of mushrooms, none of which I recognize as edible. What I will be looking for in the coming weeks will be chanterelles and black trumpets, which are relatives of each other and quite delicious. There also looks to be a bumper crop of blackberries in the offing.
We are nearly caught up, after our time away, on laundry and weeding (the latter thanks to Mike’s sister, who is a gardening maven); and Dave Freiday is working hard on the landscaping at the front of the house. We have been shopping for appropriate shrubs to plant there and hope to have things looking decent in a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, I await hearing from you about what is going on in your lives and gardens. Keep me posted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 824-2917.