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Flourishing favas before the squall that knocked them off their feet.

Flourishing favas before the squall that knocked them off their feet.

Last evening I returned home from a stormy (for San Diego standards) day to discover my precious fava beans completely toppled over from the heavy winds. My first reaction was “is there a trauma doctor in the house?!” I have been babying these beans, planting them from seeds and watching them flourish far beyond my expectations.

Fallen angels.

Fallen angels.

Tiny green fingerling beans are even starting to lengthen and grow from their sweet white flower petals.

This little one is well on its way.

This little one is well on its way.

I quickly decided not to give up on them. I would resuscitate them! Delving through my drawers to find something to tie them to the wooden braces already in the beds, I found an ace bandage. Stretchy and soft, I cut it into quarters lengthwise then cut 15 inch pieces. In the rain with darkness closing in, I carefully gathered up sections of the tall stalks and attached them to the posts as gently as possible. By the time I finished, they were again standing tall, although many of their delicate stalks had snapped. When the weather clears, I will add more posts and re-tie the favas to give them more breathing room but for now they are out of the ICU.

Successful surgery. Patients are doing well.

Successful surgery. Patients are doing well.

A kiss to make it better.

A kiss to make it better.

My Italian garden will survive. The good news is that my chicory, Cimi di Rapa, a kind of Italian broccoli and Rapa Toscana are all healthy, thriving and getting ready for an Italian festa using all these veggies I planted from seeds I purchased in Italy. This is the greatest reward of gardening. Bringing a bit of ciao back home.

Chicory or Chicoria whose celery/fennel stalks are a springtime staple in Italy.

Chicory or Cicoria whose celery/fennel stalks are a springtime staple in Italy.

Cima di Rapa, bottom, romaine, left and kale on the right. A salad a day keeps the doctor away!

Cima di Rapa, bottom, romaine, left and kale on the right. A salad a day keeps the doctor away!

Garden freshness, just picked and ready for a dinner creation.

Garden freshness, just picked and ready for a dinner creation.

That night I celebrated my successful surgery with a sauté of my garden goodness – swiss chard, two varieties of kale, parsley, thyme, shallots and shiitake mushrooms all spooned over some soft and creamy polenta I brought back from Lucca. The perfect meal for a rainy day. It soothed my soul and reminded me how good everything tastes when it is just out of the heart of the garden. Heart to heart. Benissimo!

DSCN5578Ciao and Love for now,

Maria