Wednesday, June 22, 2011


And, so I have returned to my love and my nemesis – the garden and the insects that keep me on alert. Life moves along even when you don’t obsessively baby-sit, prune, coddle, and stare. In the week since I left them I was occupied with other life needs and pleasures:
the first cherries of the northeast, tender pole beans in a trio of colors carrots
so tender and sweet, and not to forget to mention time with good friends. It was good to be distracted.

Now, back in my own yard my ritual has started up anew – so many sneaking weeds to seek out and pull. Flowering herb heads to be nipped in the bud and added to the evening salad. I anxiously await the arrival of the corn and watermelon. I left the corn was no higher than my waist, and after a few drenching storms in the past week they have responded by exhibiting an adolescent growth spurt. They are now, proudly shoulder height with long tassels popping out. I know they need to cross-pollinate, and there are about nineteen stalks ready to get-down. Though I don’t think I will be harvesting any for the Fourth of July weekend but anytime there after I am sure. My itsy-bitsy orbs have swollen into quite recognizable future seed-spitting contestants, and they have spawned many new orbs.

I did get some good advise from the farmers I know up north regarding some of my trouble spots, and fingers crossed they might start to flourish. The one reassuring bit of information I got was that the habanero grows slower than the jalapeno and I should stop worrying that they are feeling neglected. I was most grateful to learn that for I am, in my mind at least, to making my chili sauce this year from my own backyard. I will wait the thirty days they want, and in the meantime the

okra requires cooking; tomatoes are bursting on almost every plant, and cucumbers and zucchinis mysteriously mature overnight.

Summer Bean Stew – yields 6 servings
7-ounces Swedish brown or kidney beans
1-large onion – chopped
4-garlic cloves – chopped
1-jalapeno - minced
1/4-pound okra – sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3-cups chopped tomato
1/4-cup chopped fresh sage leaves
2-ears of corn – kernels only
2-small zucchini – cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2-tablespoons – roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Soak the beans for about 8 hours in 6-cups of water. Drain the beans, and place in a 4-quart pot. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reducer to a simmer, and cook for an hour. After an hour drain the beans again, and return to the pot. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno plus 3-cups of water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for another 1-hour.

Then add into the beans the tomato, okra, and sage leaves. Simmer for 30-minutes. Stir in the corn, zucchini and parsley. Cook for another additional 10-minutes, and then season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

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