I’ve tried planing gardens in the past. Lord knows I’ve tried . . . I really have. I tended to some cute, little cherry tomato plants and a few containers of herbs only to let them go to seed in the final few days of summer. Perhaps I’ve even gone so far as to book mark some raised bed gardens on the Internet or listened to a good friend talk about her “lasagna” garden, but that’s about it. I’ve read and listened. Personally, I know my limitations, and they are not quite ready for the full garden experience. I’ll leave the gardening to my family members.

Dave’s parents have planted a garden for as long as I can remember. Ever since the girls were toddlers, my father-in-law has had a garden of some shape or form in their backyard. I know it extended far before they were born because my husband has mentioned it, but I really remember it when they were about two or three and they would willingly traipse after their PopPop and pull out all the zucchinis that he asked them to. Even the dog got into the action when he found out that she went wild for wooly thyme and would roll around in it for hours on end.

When we got back from Germany this May, the dehumidifier in Dave’s parents’ house caught fire, and they were forced from their house in the middle of the night. They both made it out safely, but not before the smoke damage wrecked havoc with the electrical and pretty much everything in the house. For the longest time, they thought they would be back in around July 4th, but a dangerous stretch of derechos caused massive power outages in their town and kept them out for another two weeks. Through it all, they came back to the garden and kept it green and growing, sharing their bounty with the house keepers at the hotel where they were staying as well as the oil workers who have come into the area for the fracking industry.

Our quick trip through Ohio lasted only five days. The Girls are getting ready to pack up their apartment and move a few houses down the street, and school will be starting back up again for me in just about a month. Thankfully, we were able to bring a little bit of home back with us: a Miami t-shirt for Dave, some yarn from my sister, several good LEGO ideas for birthdays, a plethora of stories from my nephews and my niece, and about two bushels of produce from Donna and Pat’s garden. The Girls took tons of zucchinis as Jordan has discovered zucchini boats as well as kale for some chips, yellow squash for a quick dinner, and green onions to make it all savory. Me? I took home half a dozen cucumbers, two zucchinis, and the leftover yellow squash. My plan is to try Rachel’s zucchini boat recipe one night and make some yellow squash fitters later in the week.

But first . . . a quick batch of refrigerator pickles I found on Beverly’s blog and a cucumber-cherry tomato salad. Only problem? I have a real issue with reading teaspoons and tablespoons correctly. I frequently put in the wrong amount, which is odd because I’m a very good reader . . . I just forget about that whole t. vs. T. thingy. And you think it would have sunk in by now since I’ve done it twice in the past, and I know damn well that I did it this time, too. Should make for a devastatingly crispy and salty pickle, don’t you think?