Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And the heat goes on, la di da duh di, la di da duh die

We're still dressing for summer down here. Labor Day means nothing in the southeastern US. Our first date for expected frost is the end of October or even early November. Heck, we go back to school before Labor Day. Why wait? It's still going to be hot,which is a good thing for the garden. Tomotoes? Still got them. Okra? Comin' on. Eggplant? Can I get a break? Please. Marigolds? Late summer is their time. My impatients are full of blossoms. 'Tis the season for...butterflies. Tomorrow I'll start a unit on caterpillars because they are all over my parsley.
Johnny Appleseed? He'll will just have to wait until October.
The picture above is of an okra flower. They are relatives of hibiscus and are very pretty looking out of my kitchen window. Most of the plants are showing signs of age-related stress, a phenomenon I am slowly coming to understand. But here is the most important thing: they are still productive,and occassionally pretty, despite being dried up and scraggly looking overall.

Tomatoes and Okra

Some okra, cut up
One onion, cut up
Some peppers, cut up
Garlic chopped (one or two cloves)
Chopped tomatoes (or one 15 oz can diced tomatoes)

Sautee the onion, peppers, garlic and okra in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the tomatoes. Cover and cook over medium to low heat until softened to your liking. Very nice with polenta, known as grits in the South, y'all.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It was a clear, crisp, blue-skyed morning. Down South it's the kind of morning that signals a shift, an unmistakable change in Earth's movement. We know that the long summer has passed and that, even though there will be more warm days, relief has come. We celebrate The Day. August is so hot, you see. But by mid-morning on That Day we were transfixed by tragedy unfolding in New York City. Appalled and speechless as first one, then a second, skyscaper filled with workers, people like us, collasped taking them to certain death. Disbelieving, we wrenched ourselves from the TV to do the day's work knowing that there would be more blood shed. War. Years later I photographed this memorial to those who died that day. It is painted tiles hanging on a chain link fence in Greenwich Village. The tiles, reportedly the work of children, are mostly hearts, doves of peace and American flags. But when I singled out the tiles and looked closely there is one, of twin towers that no longer stand, with a beautiful blue sky and a golden yellow sun reminding us of the clear September day when our world shifted and changed.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord shine the Light of his countenance upon you.
May the Lord be gracious unto you.
And give you Peace.