Friday, June 29, 2007


This morning I was surprised to find several ripe tomatoes. We had had one or two small Roma tomatoes daily this week--not nearly enough! They really ripen fast once they start. I don't have enough to can yet, but I don't care right now; I want to eat my fill. My family knows my fondness for tomatoes. Today's catch included the pink Arkansas Traveler, which is so sweet and good.

We have having just a bit of okra. That is a little late this year because of some weather problems at planting time. My husband likes "stewed" okra when it is very young and tender. He calls it "succulents." That is a real treat. Of course, there is nothing like fried okra. I keep it very simple: I slice the tender pods rather thin, marinate them briefly in buttermilk, coat in cornmeal, and drop in hot canola oil, frying to a nice crisp brown. Oh my! Can't do that often, but it is such a treat.

Vidalia onion is our favorite onion, of course, and I like to stock up on that when it is at a good price. I never thought I would see onions priced so high! Anyway, years ago, at Wal-Mart, I found a microwave dish shaped like a Vidalia onion; in fact, it was produced by the Vidalia people apparently. This little contraption was in the onion department, and I have had that one for a long, long time, but they are still available, I think all year long. I like to follow the directions, take the outside peel off the onion, slice off the very bottom root end and a slice off the top, and then make cuts into the onion all around the top. I add salt and pepper and either oil (canola or EVOO hello Rachel Ray) or a pat of healthful spread, and put the top on securely. I microwave this for 5 minutes and let set for 2 minutes. This is just too good, in our estimation. People in other areas say they can't find these cookers. This was such a hit with my sister and neice that I bought several for them. We found that slicing yellow and zuchinni squash, onion, green pepper, etc., and adding the seasonings and microwaving is just out of this world. Each little "onion" is just about serving size. It's hard to stop with just one. I wish I could grow Vidalias. Dream on.

I have done the above for lunch today, along with roasted chicken leg quarters seasoned with "pappareeka", as Paula Deen pronounces it, and those wonnnnnnnderful tomatoes. How easy is that. Life is so tough, but somebody's got to do it........

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just rambling thoughts..........

My garden has not been as productive this year as I was expecting. I am blaming it on first the freeze and then the hot, dry weather. Also, I think the bean seed we had for our Louisiana Purple Pod was not up to par. Anyway, we have had at least enough daily for our own meals and to share a bit with family/neighbors. Today’s picking was more of a gleaning—something I usually do at the end of summer. We planted a new row of beans a couple of weeks or so ago, and they are now climbing the trellises. Keeping my fingers crossed on them.

The tomatoes are looking good, and we are hoping that the blight doesn’t take over; same for the squash. Our garden is on low land, and for one reason that is good in that we don’t have to water as much as if on high ground, but the veggies do seem to be later in maturing. Just lucky to have that beautiful place, which is the main reason we are still in this location.

We were really late getting our cucumbers planted. They are just about at the blooming stage, and before we know it, hopefully, it will be time for pickles. In the past, I would make enough pickles one year to last two or three, and it may be that way this time. Don’t think I remember having a failure at cucumbers. I had a gift of about three pounds of cucumbers this week, and I am trying a recipe for bread and butter pickles, refrigerator style, to see if I like that. If it works, guess what family will be gifted with before long.

This morning, I canned three pints of cranberry beans from a short trial row in my garden. This was after about four pints earlier. We have been having them fresh, also. I have found out that bending over to pick the beans is trying on one’s back, so that would have to be a consideration in planting future larger areas. They are so pretty, though, and when the pods turn stripped or dark pink (thus cranberry), it is just plain gratifying to pick and shell the beans.

I remember many years ago my mother planted what we called “shelly beans” in her garden. They were so prolific, as were all her vegetables. My children were small and were used to fresh vegetables, as that was what they got when they visited “Mammaw” and then the largesse she favored us with on our frequent (planned?) visits to the country. This particular summer, Mammaw invited us to pick shelly beans from her garden. They were so beautiful that it just about made me feel greedy at the sight before me. I don’t remember now how many I picked, but I do remember that they were so delicious.

Fast forward now, last winter I was watching the food channel on TV and someone was preparing a recipe using dried cranberry beans. I don’t recall hearing that name before but ran across that at the grocery store where the pinto beans, etc. were. I bought a package and prepared a batch according to label directions, and we were pleasantly surprised at how delicious they were, and how economical. I decided to soak them and actually can them for convenience. Therefore, I only had to open a jar of beans and heat and season them for a meal, and we were ecstatic. We were into checking properties of foods because husband is a diabetic. We found out that dried beans are very nutritious and have a high content of protein. That is definitely a keeper in our food planning. Have to do some creative planning for them in the menu, but in the Southern tradition, that is not a big stretch. This is how I got the idea to plant the trial row to see if that would work, and it did.

Summer is definitely upon us, and I am glad that the most strenuous part of the gardening is over now. However, we still enjoy touring the garden in the early morning and late afternoon to enjoy how beautiful most of the things are, and are already making plans for what we will do next year.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why Terrapin Hollow?

Trying to think of a name for my blog was off-putting. This morning as I was taking my usual early-morning tour of our garden, I spotted a little terrapin camouflaged by grass, clippings, etc. AHA! Suddenly the name of Terrapin Hollow came to mind. This was the name of a creek that ran in a wooded area at the back of my childhood home in Prentiss County, Mississippi. My young siblings and I would wade in the shallow flowing water to cool our bare feet. We called that area Terrapin Hollow because we could just about always find a terrapin (or turtle, as we were apt to say) burrowing in the sand/water. I had always thought that name had a ring to it and hoped someday to use that as a catchy title for something I was doing, such as a craft, etc., but it never happened. Today it seems such a fit.

So, Terrapin Hollow it is, for my garden and for my blog. We have only had the garden approximately 35 years and had never called it anything but "the pasture" most of the years, because before we acquired that lot, the previous owners had owned horses and kept them there. There will undoubtedly be more about the garden all along.

Now with that done, off to other things.
First Things First............

I've been tempted to start blogging but felt timid about it, so I shall take baby steps. I think my main interest is going to be searching input from more knowledgeable persons than I regarding basic gardening. Actually, I have been a long-time gardener but had been away from it for some while until this year when I have had more time to devote to it. I couldn't wait for Spring, and then the freeze! Actually we (my husband and I) have done okay, considering. Still waiting for the first tomatoes to ripen, and that always takes too long.

Now that I have taken the first step, I shall try to organize what I have to say; therefore, some days may have a blank post.

More later regarding the seedlings I have had fun with this year. Hope to have pictures later, also.