one thing that i miss about elusive drive is the vegetable garden. actually, all of the garden, but mostly the vegetables. and the herbs. right about this time of year, we would plant a dozen or so tomato plants. (and yes mom, we would walk the irrigation troughs barefoot to get the water flowing through them nicely). at least a couple of tubs full of basil. rosemary and oregano and mint were growing year round, and we had a bunch of different varieties everywhere. ok, i also miss the gardenias and the jasmine blooming right outside the doors and windows. i do not miss the mockingbirds perched in the pines outside my window at six a.m., taunting the squirrels and everyone else in the neighborhood with their cawing. but i do kind of miss waking up in the middle of the night to grab the b.b. gun and pop a couple of low pressure rounds at the hind flanks of the deer trying to knock over the tomato cages. ditto the squirrels trying to abscond with the one-day-from-perfectly-ripe peach. i mean, i miss successfully shooing them off. because when they did get that peach, which was more often than not, i was pissed. there is nothing quite like spending an entire spring and summer watering a tree, watching a peach mature from blossom to succulent, blushing ripe fruit, only to witness a cartoonish squirrel swoop out of the oak tree and then hop away with your dashed expectations of pure peach heaven in its teeth, pausing to look back at you every few bounds, flicking his tail at you, just to make sure he’s getting the most mileage out of his mischief. i miss the bouganvillias, but i do not miss those gnarly thorns. i miss being able to walk out and cut a piece of aloe to squeeze the sap (is that what it is, sap?) onto a sunburn. but mostly right now, as i snack on some “tomatoes on the vine”, the closest produce market alternative, i miss the homegrowns. because there is nothing the same as a tomato grown in your backyard.