Mid spring is the perfect time in the garden. All the seedlings have grown substantially. Tomato stems need to be gently tied to their stakes. The plants are brightened with scores of little yellow flowers soon to give life to red, orange, yellow, pink and purple orbs. Sweet peas and scarlet runner beans wind their way over and through the trellises, holding on and stretching further every day. Light pink and soft lavender fragrant flowers rise from the Sweet peas. Orange nasturtiums and purple columbine adorn their mounds of foliage ... The hollyhocks are eight feet tall with cupped flowers providing shelter for the sleeping bumble bees. Bearded irises in shades of purple, yellow and pink are every bit as glorious as a Van Gogh painting and the roses are in first bloom boasting huge, fragrant flowers in every color imaginable. This is garden perfection!
It was one of those rare moments when the entire family was out in the backyard together. Carefully we surveyed the growth and progress of each plant which just a month ago were small and delicate. Sampling a leaf of sorrel or beet greens we harvested artichokes for dinner. We made our way to "pepper city" - five pepper plants growing in containers and encircled with chicken wire to keep the Basset Hound at a distance.
My son, keeper of the peppers got to them first when he shouted "Oh, no! There's a giant grasshopper in my peppers!" He ran for the shears, known as the grasshopper getters in my family and I called for Hucksley, the Basset Hound. Hucksley has discovered that catching grasshoppers is almost as fun as taking large chomps of broccoli leaves and florets as he bounces by. The dog was busy chasing a lizard so the grasshopper getters where put to use. Snap! Got him right in the middle. Of course, we were all chuckling. Except for Andrew, who now was faced with wondering what to do with a grasshopper that he had captured mid body in the garden shears. We yelled "Take it to the trash can and chop it in half" which was more than Andrew could bear. He thought it would be much better to smash it on the back side of a shovel. We knew the armored creature wouldn't be destroyed so easily and sure enough it flew away. We all laughed as my son looked on, shocked that the grasshopper was still quite alive! Alas he had no choice but to grab the shears, recapture the prehistoric flying creature, dangle it over the trash can and snip, with half of the grasshopper still managing to escape. But, determination won out and amidst our laughter, the grasshopper getters, and Andrew did the job! We cheered as one less menacing grasshopper would reside in our garden. This was family life at it's best.
Just another day in paradise...