August is a peachy balancing act. We watch our peaches grow on the tree, from golf ball size, to acquiring a rosy glow in the warmth. We reach up, carefully palpating the fruit, to know when ripeness comes close. My neighobors and I share this summer ritual. Finally, the day of juiciness comes close. Peaches are getting larger, beginning to soften.
Now peach gathering becomes a competitive sport, shared by by many that gather. Two days before the ultimate juiciness would be achieved, I went out to check the garden .
Indeed, a young porcupine was tree-center, happily munching on a peach. Of course, This porcupine had already munched on several others that were half eaten. I tried a little conversation. No joy. I gently tried to push with the broom, No movement. The porcupine finally moved off with a stronger pull, quite unhappily. A few quills went right into the branch and stayed!
Chipmunks are neater eaters. They are dextrous enough to eat all the peach flesh and just leave the stem dangling! There are smaller, more delicate visitors as well.
I know the peaches won’t last the night. It’s too much porcupine temptation. While they are not dead ripe, they ARE the way this porcupine likes them. I learn to pick early, and, like the porcupine, begin to pick while the sun is warm.
With ladder and basket, I pluck in summer’s fine taste. I heat the already nibbled ones, and leaved then close to the porcupine’s den. A few are lobed into the forest for the deer. Soon I’ll be drinking peach ginger lemonade, making peach hand pies to share with my friend Kathy, and whirling peaches with yogurt and cardamon for breakfast. Summer bliss.