Bonanza came to visit last night, bringing bags of flax meal. I thought it would be the ground grain from flax, but apparently that is only good for making linen. Flax meal is actually the ground seeds of flax. I am researching what to do with it. All I know of is to add it to baked goods and breakfast cereal by the teaspoon, and I have six pounds of it, so I think I need some further information.

Unfortunately, I have mostly just babies in my garden right now, so I sent her home empty-handed. If she comes again next month, I can load her down with zucchini.

It is not yet the perfect time for zucchini. The perfect time for zucchini is when you are getting four young zukes every other day. That way, you can have them for lunch, dinner, or breakfast a few times a week.

Right now, it is two young zukes a week, so I have to decide: can I have it in my breakfast sandwich, or shall I save it for a lunchtime salad?

Almost immediately after the perfect point for zukes comes the point at which you are getting four fresh young zukes every day, plus two old bearded ones. This is the point at which you begin to make zucchini bread (the summer equivalent of fruitcake, according to a magazine I once read), zucchini cookies, and zucchini burgers.

Or leave bags of zucchini on the steps of neighbors.

Wuthering Heights is a terrific read. Right at the beginning you get the humor of Lockwood’s reaction to the pathos of the horrible Heathcliff household. Then you get the sad tale of Cathy and Heathcliff, told by Mrs. Dean.

I have to say that Mrs. Dean has always been my favorite character. She has tea and knitting, too, so I feel sure that she would have had an old-fashioned pleated tea cosy, and that is my Knit the Classics project for this month.

To make this tea cosy, you basically knit a rectangle of vertically striped garter stitch. You carry the yarn along the back and pull it tight at the joins, so that the reverse of the work looks like this.

The result is that the stripes get pulled up into pleats, giving you two inches of wool and air as insulation for your tea pot.

You’ll make two of these rectangles, by the way, and join them together, leaving openings for the handle and the spout. Shape the top, add a loop so you can hang it up by the tea caddy and the kettle, and Bob is, as they say, your uncle.

As for Wuthering Heights, it is the archetypal romantic novel. Not a romance novel, mind you. That is something different. Romance novels are genre books, as mysteries are, and therefore have rules. The basic shape of a romance (novel or movie) is that there are characters A and B, who will end up together. The center of the plot is some hindrance to their love — it can be mistaken identity (Fred Astaire did that a lot) or obligations on the part of one of the protagonists, or anything at all that the reader or viewer could believe would keep the two apart. Then the story must overcome the hindrance, just as a mystery must solve the central puzzle.

Wuthering Heights, since it is not a romance, is not bound by these rules. However, there are some characteristics of the novel that readers of romances will recognize. For example, Heathcliff and Cathy are soulmates, inextricably bound together by Fate (and by having supported one another through an abusive shared childhood), yet Heathcliff is entirely unsuitable as a husband. So Cathy must choose between the entirely suitable Edgar and her entirely unsuitable soulmate.

This device is common in romances, where the soulmate often turns out only to appear to be unsuitable.

In real life, there are many young women who seem to prefer unsuitable young men, because they are more exciting, more dangerous, and altogether more Heathcliff-like than the nice guys.

I do not know whether Wuthering Heights created this phenomenon, or is merely reporting it, but it has been a source of concern for parents of daughters, and for nice young men, for as long as I can remember. If you want to read a romance novel to compare with Wuthering Heights, Olivia Goldsmiths’ Bad Boy is a good one which focuses on this phenomenon.

Or you can read, much more briefly, about #1 daughter’s intention to marry a pirate here. #2 daughter is not necessarily drawn to Bad Boys, but we have noticed among her long string of harmless flirtations a slight preponderance of mentally unstable fellows.

Now Healthcliff is not just a Bad Boy, and Cathy is not a spunky romance novel heroine, but she is a saucy minx. and the Saucy Minx is just as much a fact of romance novel life as the Bad Boy. A Saucy Minx can be counted upon to Cause Trouble and to Drive Men Mad. There is a minority position in the family that #2 daughter is not so much prone to dating boys of tenuous mental stability as that she drives them round the twist.

As her mother, I do not of course take this position, but I admit that I watch her suitors closely, hoping to determine early on whether or not they will survive dating her. I would like to ask them for a certificate from the family doctor attesting to their calm and steady disposition, but that might be seen as interfering. #2 might have slight tendencies toward Saucy Minxosity. (Let me say, however, that I recently heard through the grapevine that she is considered straitlaced on her campus. Since she attends a school where “How is your walk with God?” is considered a normal conversational opener, I am proud of her for achieving this distinction, and I think it absolves her of any excesses of Saucy Minxosity.)

If, looking back upon your own life this past semester or over the years, whichever is appropriate, you discern a tendency to choose or to be a Bad Boy or a Saucy Minx, you might consider that this combination is only actually good in fiction.

Oh, and please leave your best flax meal recipes. I thank you. My family thanks you.