Hidden amid a sea of leaves, the cantaloupes are coming on strong.
I've dabbled at growing melons a few times before, but they've always turned out to be smaller than they should have been, and most haven't actually ripened completely. So this year, when I didn't plant out the melon starts until the first of August, I didn't hold my breath expecting a successful crop; I simply figured if they turn out, fine, and if they don't, at least it was worth a try. However, after a slow beginning, the vines started to go crazy, filling most of the bed with overgrowth and--yes--fruit. I've been watching them grow, but was still surprised when Aaron looked at one cantaloupe closely the other day and determined that it was, in fact, ripe. Since then we've harvested five more. And they're great--some of the best I've ever had, full-sized and with sweet flavor without the heavy, over-ripe taste you sometimes get. Yay!
The second melon we've got is called Lambkin, and I was pleased to discover that it's classified as a "storage melon", meaning you don't have to gobble it down right away, because it will keep for several months after it's picked. Very strategic, that. You can see it below. When ripe, the light green parts will turn yellow.
Here's the front bed, with its various features. The mass of greenery holds one hill of delicata (winter squash) plus the two melons, though at the moment it's very difficult to figure out exactly where the original 'hills' are located.
There's also a striped dahlia at the back of the bed, which has been putting out a lot of cut flowers for the house:
And a few bachelor buttons that sprouted from the mix of flower seeds I tossed out:
The flowers and melons have been well pollinated by many bees, who also come to this front bed area to take advantage of the pollen on the matilija poppies. Sometimes I've seen five or six bees on one flower at the same time.
Our pear crop is in. We got nine nice little Bartletts, which is, frankly, all our tiny little tree could support:
Inside, i've been drying zucchini slices (good for adding to minestrone in the winter, because they soak up some of the soup liquid and help thicken it) and partially drying tomato slices before freezing them.
The cooler mornings are perfect times to take a walk to the Park Avenue pond...
where you can enjoy the scenery, or watch ducks glide along through the water plants or out into the larger part of the pond. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the reclusive nutria who feeds among the water foliage, or see a fish leap out of the water, as I did the other day. Spending time there is such a peaceful way to start your morning.