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Column: Tomatoes and the march of time

I was initially delighted Monday when, for the first time this season, I was able to pick ripe, red cherry tomatoes from one of my two potted cherry tomato plants on my patio.

So sweet. So yummy. So ... a sign that this summer is going by way too fast.

Props to Farmington Greenhouse for the great job they do of getting those little seedlings ready for me. I've been pretty pleased with my little patio garden so far this year. I've been picking summer squash and zucchini for three weeks already, and I have a bunch of yellow banana peppers I have to figure out how to use. It's even almost time to pick my first cucumbers.

But those tomatoes. Those threw me for a loop. And it's not just the cherry tomatoes. It's one of the Roma tomato plants, too. Ripe and ready.

I know I should be pretty happy and I am, to an extent. Then I started to think about it. I've had years when I haven't gotten my first ripe tomatoes until the week after the Dakota County Fair, and then the state fair comes along, and then the weather turns colder and before I know it, I'm dragging tomato plants into my front door at night.

I think I've maybe just found the right size planters for the various goodies I grow on my patio. But there's a whole psychology involved here. A psychology that, in my world, tells me summer is coming to an end.

There are other triggers, too. Like Tuesday. It was the last night of the beau's spring softball league. Every Tuesday since April, I've hauled myself to Eagan to watch softball. But that ends this week. I'm not really sure what we're going to do with all this extra time now.

Even the date of this week's paper - July 15. Right in the middle of the month. A not-so-subtle reminder I have about two weeks to find an anniversary present for my parents, and a birthday present for my brother. Those celebrations fall on July 30 and July 31, respectively.

Then, before I know it, I'll be in allergy-overdrive. Something about the Dakota County Fair, it's like all of a sudden my hayfever kicks in and I'm going through boxes of tissues. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad, but the past few months have just flown by, so it seems like I just got done with my spring allergy spell.

There's lots of fun to come yet this summer. We are lucky enough to have the county fair in our own community, and I'm lucky enough to get paid to go to it once in a while. There are a few fund-raisers and fun events planned around the city, and there's always that fantastic trail system of ours for an evening stroll. And after this week, I now know where the best fishing spots are in town, so maybe we'll hit those one weekend.

But already, I'm making plans for things coming sooner than later. In just a few weeks, I'll work at the Minnesota Newspaper Museum at the state fair. Three days after the fair is over, the Legion Auxiliary will hold a salad luncheon. Auxiliary meetings start a couple of weeks later. In the meantime, I'm on the committee that is planning a Patriotic Day event for the community in November.

You can see where I get ahead of myself.

Maybe I'm overreacting to the whole tomato thing. Maybe I'm just an awesome patio gardener. After all, I did plant them on Mother's Day, right? In any event, I think I have a solution to slowing down a bit - I'll just have to sit out on the patio and enjoy a few more evenings a little more. And it probably doesn't hurt that I can munch on some fresh produce while I'm out there.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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