Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hot Out and The Cones are Coming!

It's quiet. Not even the birds are chattering. Both daughters are home and sleeping the morning away in their beds and today promises to be a crisis of demands. My time will be divided among everyone's needs. Likely, I won't garden. But now the garden hardly needs me. The squash plant has so far delivered three golden fruit (yes, I checked squash are fruit!). The tomato plants have tiny green nodules. The cukes continue their ingenious climb up the cage. The eggplant could use perhaps a little spray of soap-sodden water to ward off the pest that's nibbling away at its leaves. But other than pulling out the occasional bind weed or poke weed intruder, the garden is likely the only one who won't make any demands on me today.

Out front, I am waiting with anticipation the arrival of my purple coneflowers (right). This heroic lady was the last to give up her glorious reign last Thanksgiving, when her purple pedals stood firm against the chill breezes rolling in. Already, her cousin Rudbeckias, the crazy daisies are in full bloom. And her companion black-eyed Susans are vigorously green and full of promise.

The Rudbeckias, or Beckys as I like to call them, are members of that huge family the Compositae of which the majestic sunflower is king. But I didn't realize that the name "Rudbeckia" stems from a little Linnaen payback to a wealthy patron. Poor impoverished Linnaeus, who stuffed his shoes with paper and often went hungry, was invited to live with Rudbeck the Younger in the town of Uppsala in 1702. (Readers of the Girl with the Golden Tattoo, which I just finished, will recognize that significant town from the story.)

Rudbeck was working on a thesaurus of English and Asiatic languages and the Linnaeus was engaged in sorting out the order of plants. The two hit it off and as a guest in Rudbeck's home, Linnaeus got to eat well. So in naming this genus, he declared: "So long as the Earth shall survive and as each spring shall see it covered with flowers, the Rudbeckia will preserve your glorious name." Word is that Nissan Pavillion must now be referred to as Jiffy Lube Live. Indeed, as naming rights go, Rudbeck has had some staying power.

I hurriedly type now to finish. One daughter is up. Pancakes anyone? Then, we're off. Claire wants me to sign her up for a gym membership. Patsy needs scores of documents prepared for her school counselor to begin helping her with the college search. There's no food in the house. The bundles of mail are stacked and in need of sorting. The sheets and towels must be laundered. Shouldn't I finally sort the winter clothes out of my closet and put them away for the summer? And the yearly physicals and doctor's appointments need to be scheduled before school starts again in the fall. And the dog needs a walk. And the Sunday meal must be prepared--a fish dish? And all the friends will be over soon to welcome Claire home. The morning quiet is ever so short lived. But to tell you the truth, I'm poised and ready for all the noise to begin. The Putterer

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