"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?"
— Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi
The plan was to clean a couple of flowerbeds, plant half a dozen clematis and move the tomato seedlings to the garden. I almost managed it. I cleaned one flower bed, removing honeysuckle, bindweed, Virginia creeper and an unknown monster that has glossy heart shaped leaves and that pousse comme rien. Mind you, I love the scent of honeysuckle, I love the inverted umbrella shape of bindweed flowers, I love the elegantly serrated leaves of Virginia creeper and I admire the perfect elegance of the heart-shaped thingie. I would allow them to grow rampant were it not for their deplorable tendency to strangle the roses and perennials. So, I go on periodic eradication binges, uncovering rockery and liberating irises and peonies. Today, before I could do much damage to the pesky creepers, sirens went off, policemen parked their cars across the intersection at the end of our block. Next, a policeman went from door to door telling residents to stay indoors. That was pretty alarming, considering that once the university louts are gone for the summer, nothing much disturbs the peace of my village. It was more alarming to hear that there been been a chlorine leak in the water plant less than a block away from my house. That was the end of gardening for the day.
Retreating into the house was no great hardship. At a humid 80F plus, the weather was more conducive to inertia than to great battles with giant creepers. It helped that lately, the Infanta had been trying her hand, quite successfully, I might add, at making ice cream. Homemade ice cream helps calm the nerves, soothes irritation and helps clear the mind. A bowl of the Infanta's ice cream is pure magic. Her first effort, pictured above, was delicious, but since she had run out of ice while making it, the texture was slightly grainy. Her next attempt, fresh strawberries flavored with Fiori di Sicilia was perfectly scrumptious. For the moment, she is using an electric ice cream machine I picked up at a thrift shop for 25 cents or so. If I know her, eventually she will dust off our old hand cranked White Mountain ice cream maker and make a gelato with herbs--perhaps lemon and lavender. For the record, it cost about $15 to produce the first half gallon of ice cream. It is a good thing we did not have to shell out $ 500 for the White Mountain model a fancy mail order catalog was offering a few months ago.