Earlier last week—before the heat wave—we had our windows on the first floor open, creating a cross breeze. Bird song filtered in through the screens. The wind chimes, on the front porch, played a whimsical tune.
It was inspiring.
It was the kind of morning that lends itself to sitting on the back porch and listening to the world awaken. A red-winged black bird flew overhead, singing check, as is described by Cornell University’s TheCornellLab. A petite moth, wings whispering of pale blue, flitted by the back door.
It was from this vantage point that I noticed a couple of dandelions—gone to white, feathery seed—standing alongside the dark leaves of a Burberry bush.
I found the contrast to be magical, and, of course, fodder for fiction.
And, then, there is the lonesome call of a rather leggy mourning dove, welcoming the twilight at the end of each day. Perhaps a youngster, he sits atop the garage’s chimney, cooing.
Not everything last week was calm. Fun, in this house, tends to get a little loud.
Inspired by David Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, my husband bought thirteen different frozen pizzas. Typically, Portnoy visits pizza parlors in whichever city he is in, sampling fresh pies. His slogan, “One bite, everybody knows the rules” is now a staple in our home. Due to COVID-19, Portnoy had to transition to tasting and scoring frozen pizzas.
A decent score on Barstool Sports’ scale (1-10, never whole/even numbers), can increase sales. Recognizing this, companies began to ship frozen pizzas (and other complimentary merchandise) to Portnoy to sample. The man is THAT influential. One good word, and he can make a small company flourish and websites crash (from his fans, who do not blush at his language, rushing to place online orders).
Back to our frozen pizza. Sampling several frozen pizzas was something that we could replicate for ourselves. Thus, the hubs purchased Celeste, Newman’s Own, Red Baron, PICS, Wild Mike’s, Stouffers, Tostitos, Elios, Digiorno (deep dish and rising crust) as well as a few others.
All thirteen pizzas were baked and sliced. A friend joined us for this pizza extravaganza. We sampled, “just one bite”, of each pizza. The conversation surrounding every bite was humorous.
“The sauce tastes like ketchup.”
“It’s stuck on the back of my teeth—like melted plastic.”
“The crust is too bready.”
We were so full by the end of the taste-test! The top scoring pizza was Red Baron (my husband’s favorite and, yes, the results were probably rigged) with a 6.5. My own favorite frozen pizza—goat cheese pizza—was not represented. It’s not the easiest pizza to find, nor do I know the name of the brand that produces it, but it is lovely!
Needless to say, our refrigerator was well-stocked, over-flowing, with pizza for DAYS.
My raised garden bed is full, too—with bright green seedlings!
There’s something breathtaking about watching green shoots poke their way through the earth, reaching for the sky, for the sun.
My lettuce and kale seedlings came up first, followed quickly by a perennial flower mix.
The carrots, poppies and zinnias are now represented in the raised bed as well.
It is at this point in sowing seeds, that I ran out of room.
What does one do with extra seed packets? Container garden!
There are various flower pots scattered around our lawn. Three of them were the containers that last summer’s Crimson Maple saplings came in. Now, they’re home to Serrano peppers (someday, maybe, they’ll sprout?), my gladiola bulbs and, finally, Shasta daisies.
In late April we pulled two Burberry bushes from the front yard (using the Ram and a heavy-duty metal chain). Now, filling one of these vacancies are sunflower sprouts!
From muted-colored marbles to sprouted seeds, my peas are coming up:
The beans have made their presence known, too:
And, while it might be awhile before my marigolds germinate, the petunias have popped through the soil of their hanging basket!
My rows of lavender, like the marigolds, will require some time to germinate. I am, however, still fascinated by their turquoise seeds.
I am in awe, too, of all of the wildflowers growing in our yard. The Pool Hole (not only the birds’ favorite dining spot) also harbors a flowering plant that I can’t identify. The flowers on this plant close during the day, forming bell-like shapes. At dusk, they open revealing white stars.
Their image is, in some ways, reminiscent of the poetic language of Song of Songs 2:11-13:
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
– As written in the New International Version of the Holy Bible
The other wildflower that has me spellbound is bright yellow and resembles a buttercup. I believe, however, that because the stalk has so many leaves, it’s not my Great-grandmother’s favorite bloom.
Although not a vine—nor wild—when the wind blows in a particular direction, it carries the intoxicating scent of the neighbors’ lilac bushes. Johnny Jump-Ups, undoubtedly descended from yesteryear’s hanging baskets, display vivid color in the odd nooks and crannies of our front lawn:
Johnny is often accompanied by a shy, wild violet that is as profuse as it is elegant.
So much beauty, so much to learn from watching a seed transform into a plant, and so much pizza! Life is good, when we focus on the positive. And, I am so very thankful to still be here, to be able to soak up every moment and every bite of it.
Thank you, Dear Readers, for checking back in this week. I hope the days ahead bring you fair weather and fun. Plant something! Watch it grow! Eat a tremendous amount of pizza! I am sending prayers, love and light your way.
With Love & Gratitude,