It's that time of year--at last! Our tomatoes are later this year for some reason. Perhaps all the rain in June and early July slowed down pollination. We've been getting a few here and there, enough to keep us happy, but now the boom is on. Yellow, pink, black and red are filling up the table on the deck as Larry brings them in. He prefers picking before they're completely ripe; I like to leave them on the vine as long as possible but since he's doing the picking, I'm not complaining.
I have always loved tomatoes. Some years we plant as many as 14 varieties, but this year I think we're down to 7 or 8. My absolute favorites are the black varieties--Black Prince and Black Crim. This year I could only find black cherry tomato plants so that's what I bought, along with some Cherokee Purple that seem like black tomatoes to me. Next favorites are the big pinks and deep golden yellows. This isn't to say I don't like reds! But these others are pretty much only available to us in summer, so I really look forward to them.
|Our house at 514 East Quarry St, later renumbered|
as 8807 Quarry Road, in Manassas, VA. We were
hard on that old place! You can see the attic window
in this photo.
Once inside the attic I would tiptoe carefully on the boards that spanned the rafters, being careful not to let my foot slip and go through the lath-and plaster ceiling of the room below. That would have disaster! I'd have been in bad trouble and even worse, I'd have given away my hiding place in the dark, unfinished, hot attic.
There were three secrets, I discovered, in the attic: First, if I stretched out on the floor in front of the half-circle window at the front of the house, there was a most delicious, steady breeze. It was cool there even on the hottest northern Virginia days.
|Me, at about the age I was in this post.|
I remember Mom trimmed my bangs, and as she tried
to even them up, they just got shorter and shorter!
Then there were the boxes and boxes of old books. These books had belonged to my grandparents and when they moved a lot of their things ended up in our house, and up in our attic. There I discovered Janice Holt Giles, an author I still enjoy re-reading. There were many other books, all best-sellers from the 1930's, 40's and 50's. I read all that summer, eating tomatoes or sometimes Concord grapes when those came ripe.
And the third secret: from that half-round arched window, I could just barely see, if I positioned myself right, the blue Bull Run Mountains. I would look at them as I read Giles' The Enduring Hills, imagining myself living in a cabin in the mountains. How little I knew then that that is exactly what would happen.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.