The Perfect Day

Let's just get it over with and declare today the winner. It could get no better. 

Cool in the morning. Forty-six degrees. Nice fall touch. But it warmed quickly. Mowed a little grass, as the lawns perked up with last week's rain. The gardens are in good color. 

Went grazing. Ate snow peas first, then raspberries, red and yellow, then a green pepper and about six cherry tomatoes. Tried a Honeycrisp, which looked perfect, but it wasn't ripe. A pity. I threw it as far as I could into the swamp eliminate evidence of my unwisdom. But the grapes were perfect. Ate two clusters. 

Afternoon nap. Then went for a run on the railbed. The dust is still settled from the rain. Birds fluttered along ahead of me as I approached. Crickets on either side chirped in stereo. Still warm enough to run without a shirt on. Wanted to run with less, but I haven't yet dared go four miles in such a state, although eighty-five percent of the time you could get by with it. It's that other fifteen percent that will get you in trouble. And the Amish use the trail some. Hate to scare the kids. 

Drove back to the place in the old Ranger. Picked six cobs of corn, two big tomatoes, a bunch of Goodland apples, some snow peas, and my new favorite vegetable, the incredible, edible, nutritious purslane. Please read the article. You all have it in your garden. It is time to eat it. Tonight, I stir fried it with lemon basil, snow peas and left-over lamb roast. It was scrumptious. 

Then I juiced the apples with carrots and celery, boiled the corn, and I think Lance and I had a great little supper. 

Went up to Joe and Kae's on the bike as the sun started to set. Turns out Kae had been foraging as well. Her dish was better than mine, but I had no room left for any more than a bite. 

Then on the bike for one of my favorite rituals on a perfectly still evening in the summer: Biking as slowly as possible on the tar and watching the sun set. One car went by in 40 minutes. One jet flew elegantly over head, quite low. No sound until it passed. No wind. 

More natural sounds: The swans honking in their new home (my swamp got too low on water) 3/4 mile north. Sandhill cranes on the stubble field 1/2 mile away sounding their rubbery croak. A hoot owl across the lake on the DNR land, his hoot lingering across the water. Mourning doves. Dozens of kinds of crickets. Two mallards quacked out of the reeds when I came near, then fifteen more rose up and startled me good. 

Smells: The cool air smelled like a glass of cold water. Spicy clovers. Heavy swamp smell. Grass. Cedar mulch in the garden. Corn field along my drive. 

This fun would not have happened when the road was not paved. With pavement, one can glide silently with the bike and hear everything. With gravel all you hear is crunching.

The back gear could use some WD-40. 

Overhead, some elegant cirrus clouds high up scissored back and forth. When I looked at them for a long while, they popped into 3-D, just like those optical illusion things. 

No use for a camera, on the 3-D clouds or anything else. Best just to soak it in, store it up for winter. I almost longed for a tape recorder so that in the silence of winter, I could play an hour of evening summer noises. 

With the sun down for good, the air got real cool quick, cool to the point where it felt warm when I finally stepped in the house. 

There could be no more perfect day in northern Minnesota. 

Here are some purslane recipe ideas.