Thursday, July 21, 2011

July in the Garden & Belgian Independence

Ahhh July, the hottest of months... let the dog days begin! My dad decided to start a vegetable garden this spring for the first time and I was thrilled to be around to help a bit. He built raised beds, brought in some top soil to suffice until our own table scraps had composted enough to use, and planted some seeds that we ordered from FEDCO. We now have a garden full of golden chard, dill, sugar snap peas, zucchini, beets, nasturtiums, basil, chives, cucumbers, and onions!

Looking down into our beautiful Golden Chard
In the evening the other day, the light was just right for taking photos of some of the flowers that are in bloom. It's been a while since I have spent a summer in the eastern US. It's different from the west but beautiful. I love the colors of the warm months, the wafts of sweet nectar from the lilies, the buzz of bees, the feel of the wind gently caressing your skin.

Some sunflowers that my mom bought at the farmers' market
Stargazer Lilies brightening up the lovely late afternoon
Hydrangeas beginning to bloom and turn pink
Oh and in case there are any Belgians reading this... Happy Independence Day! Today marks the 180th anniversary of Belgium's independence from the Netherlands. Although this was actually declared in October of the 1830, they celebrate July 21st 1831 because that is the day their first king, Leopold I, took his oath. Considering how unethical, greedy, and corrupt a lot of kings are, if you read about them, Leopold actually seems like he was a pretty cool individual. He even tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to regulate female and child labor, which I give him props for. That is pretty progressive considering this was the late 1800's!

I am always fascinated with people who have interesting lives and Leopold's childhood intrigues me because when he was only 5 years old he was appointed a Colonel in the Russian Guard! I just cannot imagine how something like that would actually manifest itself. I mean, how much can you expect from a 5 year old? I wish there could be 100 versions of myself that lived in different time periods, in different social circumstances, in different parts of the world, so I could truly have a better understanding of other people's lives and perspectives!

A portrait of Leopold I by George Dawe

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