Sadly, I came home from Vermont to discover that all of my beautiful loaded tomato plants had been stricken with late blight. For those who don't know: late blight is the fungoid disease that caused the Irish potato famine, and it strikes apparently healthy plants late in the growing season, just before harvest. The fungus can be passed by wind and infect every tomato and potato on the property, and it overwinters so you can't compost the plants. The good news is that my potatoes are far away from my tomatoes and look fine. The bad news is that James and I spent a glum and tedious afternoon yanking up my tomatoes and burning them.
Otherwise, life in Harmony has donned its August cloak. Locusts are humming, and the goldenrod is blooming. I am reading the poetry of Jane Kenyon and the essays of Joan Didion and the detective fiction of Dorothy Sayers. The boys and I are listening to a terrifying but compelling podcast series called "Charles Manson's Hollywood." The boys are reading Beowulf and Infinite Jest and the shorter plays of Beckett. In the evenings we watch episodes of Better Call Saul and eat enormous bowls of raspberries. All of us are laden with graduating-from-college work/editing work/getting-into-college work/hard-physical-labor work, but we are mostly cheerful and even sometimes productive. Facsimiles of Dave Brubeck and the Band rise from the digital piano. There are never any leftovers, and the refrigerator is always empty. The bathroom cupboard is cluttered with strange hair-care products advertised to create "that just-got-out-of-bed look." Late at night I hear the voices of young men as they walk around the yard under the stars and murmur to girls on their cell phones.