Late this afternoon, the hot blue sky clouded over.  The air grew thick and heavy.  Dare I say, humid? Humidity here in the Pacific NW is not the same humidity that suffocates the East Coast, but still. The four of us, plus our little Westie, Duncan, took a walk to the mailbox and around our loop. I said it seemed like a perfect day for a thunderstorm.  Then the big drops started to fall, cooling our bodies as we got inside.  My kids, being so little, took off their clothes because outside made them “too hot!” and were running around inside in underwear and a diaper, respectively, chanting, “Come on snow!” or something like that.  Then they got out the winter clothes and were being very silly.  I stepped outside at this point.  Nature and I needed to convene. Summer rainstorms and I have a little history.

The thunder never rolled, but I let the drops fall while I gardened, solitary. It was heavenly and so centering.  It was what I imagine church must feel like for so many. I pinched the blossoms off of my tomato plants, which are as tall as I am this year and finally heavy with new fruit.  I have decided to try “stressing” them, as I have read it is the key to a good tomato, once the plant has bore fruit. I harvested some of our heirloom tomatoes.  I snuck the first “Sungold” of the bunch and didn’t offer it to my husband or kids. My arms smelled of tomato after brushing against so many branches.  I thought of how my friend TJ once mentioned he loves eating tomatoes right out of the garden, and I wished I could give him one. I harvested the first of my lemon cucumbers, the seeds for which I got from my friend Marie. I dead-headed my cosmos; I stared at the orange zinnia whose petals are still unfurling and marveled that I’ve been trying to grow those cuties for six summers now, but this is the first year I put them somewhere I wouldn’t forget about them. As I was doing all of this, I thought of the planning of this garden last summer after reading so many gardening magazines for years and clipping ideas, after too much garden space at my last house taught me that smaller is better {when it comes to gardening, not slices of pie}. I thought of the people from Craigslist who came and dug up all the cedar trees that were previously tightly nestled and towering around my deck, and how glad I was that they freed up the space for this perfect garden location.  I thought of my husband hauling home loads of rock from the quarry to frame the four beds, and of the hours at the farmers’ market, buying starts.  I thought of my girls helping me plant and weed and water all summer.  And I brought in the days’ harvest and was thankful for all the fruits of my, and so many others’, labor in my garden this year.

Earlier today, while the sun was still hot and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, I watched Teensy Fresh Scratch swim all over an inground pool by herself, no flotation devices, and no worried look gracing her cute first-grader face. She had just finished her second-to-last swimming lesson of the summer, and she was now swimming {for real swimming!} and goofing off and exploring the bottom of the pool with that self-satisfying knowledge that she finally reached the goal: she could not only get out if she fell in, but she could have fun. I was hit by a sudden memory of being six years old in my uncle’s pool in California, floating on my back with my swimmies on my arms.  My mom’s cousin told me it looked like I could take them off, so I did.  And nothing bad happened.  And I swam.  And it became the thing I loved most as a kid. I loved sharing that parallel moment of my triumph with my daughter’s, right at the same summer in our lives.  She worked so hard in swimming lessons since she was a baby, and here she was, finally enjoying the fruits of her labor {and many a swim instructor’s!}. I felt proud of her and for her.

All summer long, I’ve been baking new recipes, though you wouldn’t know it from reading this blog!  I know the recipe sharing portion has been lacking, but it’s because I have been having too much fun away from the computer, which is okay!  And I’ve had some set backs with what seemed like an endless string of crummy recipes that I was testing and a weird threat to my business. It’s been sort of like writer’s block for bakers. It’s not to say we didn’t enjoy eating them, but some were delicious-but-too-labor-intensive, and some were just…meh. And then I stumbled upon a new cookie for my menu that is just to die for: the chocolate cherry cookie.  I adored chocolate covered cherries as a kid, and this satisfies that tastebud. After a couple months of frustration in the kitchen, I finally was able to truly enjoy, and want to share, the fruits of my labor.

And now I feel like I am really enjoying the fruits of this labor of love. I love this blog.  I can’t say enough how much fun it is to write here in this space and send it out into the world to see what comes back.  My readership has increased, and I have had over 4,000 visits to this little corner of the internet since I began near New Year’s Eve.  Wow!  I never imagined that!  Some of my favorite bloggers have popped over and left encouraging remarks, and my blog has become the. great. thing. that I am proud of in my life, next to my family. Not too bad!  I recently purchased my own domain name:, which will also get you to this site now. It feels so official. I like the commitment it makes me feel.

If you’re enjoying the fruits of my labor, too, check out my latest film reviews, and please subscribe to this blog via email through the little spot up under the right part of my heading at the top of this page.  Or “like” Fresh Scratch on Facebook!

Now, go out in the garden or wherever it is you have religious experiences and write to me about it!  I’d love for you to share with me.


Mrs. Fresh Scratch

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