Derek was pretty tired this afternoon, so after we put Kiki down for a nap, I took Calvin and Zeebie for a walk around the block. As we approached the sidewalk from our little walkway, Calvin asked which way we’d turn. I said we’d go left. He pointed one arm to the right, and said, “That way goes to the Hot Place.”

He didn’t actually say it with caps, but it still cracked me up. I had taken Calvin with me earlier when I went scouting for rhubarb, and he hadn’t worn shoes. When we crossed the street, he had to hot-foot it, because the asphalt had already been baking for hours.

So on our walk, Zeeb wanted to ride in the wagon. I pulled him. We mozeyed along to the house 2 doors down from us, where there are about 20 different varieties of roses, and we smelled every single one. It’s really amazing how much variation there is in the smell of roses. I love the really fragrant ones that have a hint of lemon.

The owner of the house, a tiny, 90-something man with almost no voice came out and asked if we wanted to see the ones in the back yard, too. So back we went, and there I found a row of lush, tall chard. Ahhh, how I wish those dang quail hadn’t eaten the chard sprouts out of my garden. They ate 2 rows of chard, 2 rows of spinach, and 3 rows of mixed salad greens. Now I have none.

Well, my neighbor said he was just going to throw away the large leaves, to get to the young, tender ones, so I offered to take them off his hands. He gave me a grocery bag full of lovely swiss chard, which will undoubtedly go into something like this this week. Luckily, there are still several tiny pockets of cilantro that I will be able to use. I guess the quail don’t like cilantro. Or any of the other herbs, for that matter. Which is good, since the violence I feel towards them for eating my greens would have been impossible to contain, had they robbed me of my herbs. I would have had to borrow the neighbor kids’ BB gun. And then I would have been sent to the Hot Place.

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