Once a flourishing garden/Now just a bed of dirt

My little brother grew up to love nature. When he was here everything grew to its potential, but a year ago today it all ended. I believe that the things you enjoy on earth will be even greater when you get to heaven. So when I open those golden gates I will see gardens as far as my eyes can see. He won’t have to use his wheel chair to tend to it either. One of his favorite things to make was fresh salsa. All he did was chop onions, peppers, tomatoes and a few hot peppers together and the juices would all blend together to make a perfect salsa. Add a little salt and pepper to bring out the flavor and squeeze a lemon or lime for taste and to help hold the colors. Some fresh celantro is good, if you like it. 

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo

Joy McRoberts Limbach grew the hot peppers in her little Ohio garden. The big red tomato came from Judy Spicer’s tomato plant in Circleville. The garlic came from Evie Barnard in Kentucky and the okra came from Heather’s neighbor in Chickamauga, Georgia. The little tomatoes came from Heather’s tomato plants that grow well in the large whiskey barrels she has by her back porch. Put all these together then cut and cook the fresh vegetables in chicken broth and add all the rest of the ingredients and simmer for taste. Make it as hot as you like🌶. Serve over hot rice. This makes scrumptious Gumbo.

Lettuce, Lettuce and Lettuce Wraps

imageOk, the garden is planted from little plants the Gordon Lee High School agricultural class grew from seeds. I did this last year and I feel it helps them and I’m always happy with the results. We decided to concentrate on heirloom tomatoes and other good names like mortgage lifter and cherry tomatoes. Also a few Swiss chard plants and several kinds of hot peppers. I love cooking with herbs so we have thyme, basil, parsley and some oregano and mint that came up from last year. Well, since I’m not a real farmer you can imagine how surprised I am to still have this second generation lettuce growing. It’s growing everywhere. Lettuce from the raised beds have started growing even in the grass now. I was brought up never to waste anything so I’ve been very busy making salads, sandwiches and using big pieces of the beautiful green lettuce leaves under anything like chicken salad and pear salad and whatever else I can think of. So now I’m onto Asian lettuce wraps. Maybe I will double the leaves! This is a great recipe. Easy to make and fun to eat. Oh, and have plenty of napkins handy.image

North meets South / French Clafoutis 

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On my recent visit to Ohio to visit my childhood friend, Joy McRoberts Limbach, I found growing in her garden these beautiful red raspberries. Well, immediately I thought of how wonderful French custard would taste poured over and baked on top of her Ohio raspberries and the Georgia peaches I had brought with me.  There is a special union when peaches and raspberries are put together. Try this for your next dessert. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

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                                                              (Oops! This was so good we almost didn’t get a picture!)

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Here’s What I’ve Learned About Gardening So Far….

  At my age,  I am learning as fast as I can about vegetable gardening! Lucky for me I have two very good teachers. The first is my brother,  Jonathan, who sits with me in the mornings through the week and we have our devotions and coffee on the front porch where we can feel the weather of the new day starting, whether it be the sun or the rain and some wind on most days.  Just listening to him talk about “our little garden” he tells me way more things than I’ve ever heard of. Plants are living things to him and he communicates that in every sentence he speaks. For example, one morning we were looking up to see if rain was going to come soon because he said you’re not to water until the plants bow their heads and ask because it’s good for the roots to grow deep in search of water and that makes them stronger. Then we walked to the garden and saw some dead leaves at the bottom of the plants and he said it’s better to cut them so not to disturb the ground by pulling which might bother the roots. And  throw the dead leaves outside the garden so if they have disease on them it won’t get on other leaves. On another morning when we were watering because the rain wasn’t coming for several days I started to pull a few dead leaves when he said ” stop” and he continued to tell me that when the leaves are wet from rain or watering and you touch them with your hands you could get bacteria on the plant from your hands. Who would have thought!! And he talks all the time of the importance of the sun. The more sun the more vegetables and the better tasting they are. That’s why when planting he is so particular as to where the garden is planted to make sure shadows from the house or tall trees don’t fall on it so to allow the most sun available during the day.

Then I have my beloved brother in law, David Yaussy. Through the years I have watched him  grow all kinds of things in between rocks and in drain spouts. In yards and places you wouldn’t even think possible. He’s never afraid to try. He’ll talk to me about ideas for hours and has spent time sending me emails with detailed lists of what I need to buy or build. So this year my son, Adam built our above ground garden using his math mind to calculate the proportions and it’s perfect! No bending over to hurt our backs and with the right soil combination the vegetables are growing crazy.

Thank you, to these important men in my life!!  And I’ll have to say thank you to my husband ahead of time because when I’m gone to see my sister in California this summer  he’ll have to water and collect all this wonderful bounty!!

Spring/Fresh Veggies/Salads Galore

 I think it’s terrific how most cities are now having open farmer’s markets in the middle of there downtowns. This past weekend Roy and I met our friends Dianne and Jim Corn in Knoxville, Tennessee at the first of the season fair. Do you see the color and size of these radishes? You never find them like this at the grocery store. I had to purchase them right away and since I carry little packets of salt in my purse I ate one right then. Perfect! No pithiness inside of these jewels, just a peppery crunch. Here are a couple of new recipes you can try and of course just add them to any salad