One thing I learned early in my cooking life was brewing — coffee, that is.
In our house, at that time, my father was the primary coffee drinker. The drink was prepared in a percolator on the stove. When larger amounts were needed (work crews for haying or threshing), mother used the boiling method.
Coffee’s not the only beverage you can brew. Tea comes to mind. Of course, don’t forget a very popular drink among my ancestors — BEER!
Several men I know in the next generation have experimented with making their own beer. Kits and directions are available at specialty stores and on-line. Or—if you happen to have a mother who’s good at gardens and following directions for storage and harvest — you can cut your shopping list by one item.
Growing hops in the back yard. The support is out-grown play equipment.
Brewing beer pairs well with baking bread. Yum! Yum!
August: hot, humid, tired. Sometimes all the tasks come in a rush and overwhelm a person. The final, hectic weeks before school started. (I remember roasting in the store trying on a new winter coat.) The garden is demanding harvesting — which leads to canning — which requires lots and lots of boiling water adding to the already humid air.
In recent years, the tempo of my life has changed. (For the better, I think.) My children are grown. I live urban rather than rural. However, no matter how urban your current life — you can find a touch of rural at the Farmer’s Market.
Some in our area have a permanent building or pavilion. Others set up with tents in a park. Look for produce, home canned treats, honey, snacks, and local crafts. Different markets have different rules. At some you can even connect with a local author.
This amateur photographer snaps a shot, she does not always pay attention to items (or people) near the edge. Yes, I line things up and sometimes wait a minute or move to one side or the other to avoid including certain things. Often other amateur photographers enjoying the same sight.
Once in a while — when reviewing photos later — I find a gem. The romance writer in me found this difficult to resist.
Put on your story telling hat and make up something about the couple captured when I focused on the sculpture.
I confess — I didn’t notice them until I was editing out a pair of the aforementioned amateur photographers.
A well-dressed couple in the rose garden.
Is he photographing her? Preparing to propose marriage? Will she accept?
Grandmother opened the back door and pointed to the garden. “Bring me a “T” food.”
Pausing at the edge of the tended earth, I thought for a moment. I don’t especially like Turnips. We don’t have a Tangerine Tree. We buy Turmeric at the store, in the spice aisle. Turkeys are banned from the garden. Tea doesn’t grow in this climate.
Then I spied them — standing so tall with red, ripe fruit.
In the vegetable garden August is filled with picking, washing, cutting, and canning. Hot water in great quantities as mother performed (and directed) the preservation and storage of vegetables to tide us through the winter.
Flowers formed a joyful spot in their own garden, or on the edge of the vegetables. Their names escape me now but I do remember the year I was ready to take gladiolus to the county fair as part of my 4-H project. However, it was also the year we had a puppy — who decided the best place to roll and scratch his back was in the middle of the flower bed. (I took the dahlia. — It’s always wise to have a back-up plan.
Our neighbors grew difference flowers from our variety. They had hollyhock beside their garage. Decades later, the sight of this portion of the Missouri Botanical garden takes me back to the flowers grown by previous generations.
Do you have a flower garden? Fond memories of other gardens?
Stressed? Harried? Rushing from one task to another without time to draw a deep breath?
Too many of us have too many days of busy, busy, busy. We have work obligations. Family commitments. A friend we’ve not seen in ages sends us a message. That organization we joined calls for volunteers. And the literal pain in our neck returns.
How to slow down without losing valuable items such as employment, family, friends, and health?
Can you find five minutes? A chair or bench is helpful. Take a seat — breath deep — close your eyes — and imagine.
When you can’t visit in person — bring a peaceful scene to mind.
Are your thoughts cheerful — a small house surrounded by well-tended plants?
Or do you think sinister–night, no moon, and an abandoned structure in the midst of overgrown vines?
A clever writer could construct a book which fits either description. Or another — how about the modest house acts as a gateway to another world.
Today’s photo — taken at the Missouri Botanical Garden — falls into the first category. For a little over a century, a series of employees such as chief gardeners lived here. Then it sat vacant for more than a decade (a tinge of the sinister?) before receiving a much needed renovation.