The Santa Clara Valley used to be known as Valley of the Heart’s Delight for its great farmland and rich orchards. They’ve pretty much been taking over by business and housing, but when summer time comes, I look forward to August, because that’s the time of year my neighbors come knocking on my door carrying bags of peaches, plums, nectarines and other goodies their trees produced too much for them to be able to consume.
Besides the overflow of stone fruits from random neighbors, I also enjoyed the bounty of my neighbor’s garden. Her lemon trees were unstoppable, and we constantly had lemonade. I also got oregano, dill, apples, and tomatoes from her, and she was so delighted I hadn’t killed her plants, that when she returned she gave me canned pears and applesauce as well. From Kelly’s homeschooling park day group, I received free cucumbers, tomatoes and apples. My own garden isn’t as generous, except in two plants, which seem to love my oddball care: jalapeno peppers and pumpkins, both of which I’ll soon have to pass on to my neighbors in turn.
I tell myself other people probably have their neighbors handing them bagfulls of peaches every year, too. But I like to imagine my valley is special, and that I’m especially lucky because of it.