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the weather is noticeably less oppressive and this has made me feel a bit as if i were waking up from a sleep or recovering from an ordeal. yesterday, we were sitting on the porch with a friend having some tea and as i looked out over the garden, i could have sworn that the air was clearer, as if the hazy mantle of summer had been lifted. the summer months really are a sort of purgatory around here, and at the end of them i am just happy to have gotten through it and carried as much of the garden with me as possible. the plants are waking up, too, and i have been sowing new seed in the vegetable beds. i read in barbara damrosch’s garden primer, my garden bible, that you can put wet burlap over newly sown seeds to keep the soil damp. this was always a real problem, and i am happy to report that it works marvelously. the first batch of seeds that i sowed less than a week ago has started to germinate and i lifted a bunch of the burlap this morning. now to see if they can survive the other challenges that lay ahead — a seedling’s life is tenuous in the early days!
we had a bit of a scare the other day. a friend of ours, hamdi, was over. he had come by a few weeks ago, and i walked into the house to find that he and ali with a mess of tools, fixing things. turns out, his father used to work as an electrician on the wiring in big buses, which run 12 volt direct current electricity, just like us. our solar panels basically charge car batteries, and that is where we draw our power from. if we had a slightly bigger system, we could take it one step further and convert that power into an AC current (220 volt, here in turkey), which we may still do. for the time being, though, all of our lighting and until recently our fridge were running on 12 volt power. hamdi is a man of action, and it was not long before he had rigged up lights for us in the outside kitchen and on the porches. he brought these tiny little bulbs and i sort of smiled politely, thinking they would not do much good at all, but as it turns out those little bulbs are the kind of thing that you would use in headlights, and they give a lovely, cozy light. it is great to have light in the kitchen outside; it sort of makes me feel like i am running a restaurant, for some reason.
anyway, hamdi was over and he and ali were up to something or another, drawing diagrams of circuitry. i went down to the red house where we sleep, to mop the floors because it was getting really dusty. about an hour later, ali called down to me that he was spitting blood. hamdi looked in his throat (he is a doctor) but did not see anything, but theorized that the bright red goobers were probably not coming from his lungs. they decided to wait and see what happened and nothing did. we had dinner and went to bed and ali coughed up more blood. this time, i was seriously freaked out. with my dad having died so recently of lung cancer and ali being a pretty heavy smoker, i jumped to all of the bleakest conclusions that you can imagine, and i am someone who goes all the way with my imagination, so by the time i was able to fall asleep, i was a widow on the mountainside. the next morning, i practically chased ali out of the house to get him to go to the doctor and things turned out not to be as bad as all that. they took an x-ray and did a blood test and the doc said that it is probably bronchitis and gave him some antibiotics. still, it was scary, and ali threw all his cigarettes right into the trash. and yesterday, our friend suleyman, whom we were having that cup of tea with, said that blackberries and their leaves are very good for throat and mouth infections, so i am plying ali with blackberry leaf tea.

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