It’s hard to like summer in the San Joaquin, but my friend Barry Iden suggested that the only good thing about it are the tomatoes, alluding to the fruit and vegetables from our gardens. But full-time jobs when I think about the man, and mostly woman-hours, spent to germinate, plant, irrigate, weed, thin and pick the assorted crops, when I think about the ground squirrels that denuded our apple and pear trees last year, the raccoon families feasting at night and the risk of rattlesnakes lounging in the garden’s damp lushness. If time and money were the only considerations, it might be more economic to shop in town. But last night’s sliced, vine ripe tomatoes with salt, pepper and volunteer basil are not available just anywhere.
With more than half of June thus far over 100° and less than a week away from Summer Solstice, we’re in production: raspberries, strawberries, early peaches and apricots, we’ve fed the neighbors who in turn bring part of their own harvests. And that too, the exchange of produce that brings us together, a throwback to the old ways that makes summer in the San Joaquin more than bearable, but enjoyable.
Last of our crop of weaned steer calves head to town this morning.