In many years of enjoying the fruits of others' gardens, while assaying only tomatoes and some herbs myself, I never really watched the process of making vegetables.
I've always been in awe of the reality of putting a seed in some dirt and getting fully formed flowers or edibles, but I never really watched it happen. IT'S SCARY!
It's the zucchini and beans that impress me the most, at this point. After weeks of just sort of sitting there, they've acknowledged their genetic link with Audrey (Feed me, Seymour) in "Little Shop of Horrors," but without claiming stray neighborhood animals, so far as I can tell.
I pick the only four extant zucchini in the morning. There are seven more when I get home, all perfect 7- to 8-inch specimens. The beans that on Sunday were the size of julienne potatoes, begging to be included raw in a coleslaw, are by Wednesday the size of my finger. Ain't summer grand?
And to top it off, the fireflies are back; I think only those who have lived where fireflies don't can appreciate the sentimental, grounding thrill that accompanies their debut each year.
With my side yard pumping out food at a pace I can't begin to keep up with, I'm a perfect candidate for the Anne Arundel Medical Center "Healthy Vegetarian Cooking," a two-hour program being offered from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 19.
Class participants will learn how to follow a vegetarian eating plan, with emphasis on keeping fat intake at recommended levels. Food preparation, recipes and tasting sessions will be included.
The course fee is $10 per person, with advance registration suggested. The class will be at the medical center's Medical Park in the Health Education Center, 140 Jennifer Road, Annapolis.
For information, or to register, call the Health Education Center at 224-5751, voice mail extension 5751.
* The medical center has put out the call for volunteers for the Friendly Visitor program, part of the Hospice of Anne Arundel Medical Center. Hospice offers a home care alternative to traditional hospital or nursing home care for the terminally ill. It's a concept with exceedingly wide-reaching ripples, making a positive difference in the lives of patients and their families.
Volunteers in the Friendly Visitor program receive training on issues such as spirituality, family grief, hospice philosophy, communication and specific bereavement issues. Their charge is visit hospice patients and their families and provide emotional support and respite care.
The next Friendly Visitor training class is scheduled for September. Interviews for potential participants are under way. There is no charge for those who expect to become involved with the Friendly Visitor program; a fee of $25 will be charged to those who simply want to learn more about the hospice.
For information or to schedule an appointment for an interview, call coordinator of Hospice Volunteers Sandra Porterfield, at 280-6578.
Outdoor concerts and parades are a special part of summer, an the Navy seems to have a mission to make our summer tuneful and vivid.
The Naval Academy Band Wind Ensemble presents a free concert Tuesday at City Dock at 8 p.m., and the Navy Band from Washington presents another at the same venue on July 12.
In subsequent weeks, plebe practice parades will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Worden Field on July 18, 20 and 28, with formal dress parades at 6:30 p.m. on July 22 and 29.
There will be other parades in August, highlighted by the parents' weekend parade on Aug. 13 and the final formal dress parade on Aug. 22.
& Information: 293-2291.
With more summer music, the Starlight Summer Concert Series, sponsored by the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County, offers jazz by Gino's Great Music at London Town Publik House in Edgewater on July 6, and the popular folk group Hard Travelers at Quiet Waters Park on July 13. The concerts are at 6:30 p.m. and are free, though park admission will be charged.
/# For information, call 647-0057.
For those who have considerably more energy than I in the heat there are two racing events being sponsored by the Annapolis Striders next week.
On Saturday, July 9, at Bates Track behind Maryland Hall, the 13th annual John Wall Memorial Track Run will be held, with the Junior Medley heats beginning at 6 p.m. Adult one-mile heats start at 6:30 p.m. Registration begins at 5 p.m., with fees of $3 for Annapolis Striders and $4 for non-Striders. There is no fee for Junior Medley runners.
The Women's Distance Festival 5K race, followed by the Men's Run After the Women 5K, will be held Saturday, July 16 at West Annapolis Elementary School, 210 Annapolis St. The course is slightly hilly, covering residential streets.
The Women's Distance Festival is part of the Grand Prix Series of women's races. Mail pre-registration will be accepted through July 9.
Because of the holiday production schedule, the South County neighborhood column, which usually appears on Monday, is included in today's edition. The Brooklyn Park and Ferndale/Linthicum neighborhood columns, which also usually appear on Monday, will run Tuesday.