We are having the most pleasant summer that I can remember. I have always thought southern Illinois summers were a bit excruciating at times but so far it has been extraordinarily mild. The nights have brought temperatures into the 50s. It’s absolutely amazing to have cool weather like this in August! Anyway, I just thank God and am enjoying it daily.
In some ways summer has been winding down a bit. A lot of my canning is done, although I do have a bunch of tomatoes in the freezer cut up and ready to turn into ketchup and pizza sauce once our busy stage of hosting church services is past.
Apples are next on my list. I’m hoping to make a bunch of applesauce and pie filling to can. I love canning, it is such a satisfaction to preserve foods in such a simple fashion as canning in your own kitchen.
To me, there is nothing like eating fruits and veggies straight from the garden or orchard but freezing and canning take second place. Julia and Austin never tire of joining me in the garden to help harvest tomatoes, beans, onions, beets or whatever may be on the list at the moment. They are diligent in helping me keep our weeds at bay and helping with the hoeing.
In our home, gardening is a family thing. My husband Daniel is the one who takes care of tilling and spreading manure (which we use as a fertilizer) or planting a cover crop in the fall to help improve soil conditions for the following spring.
Next year’s garden will probably not be the biggest we’ve ever had. Baby Dear will take priority. It’s kind of like one of my cousins who is also a young mother once told me “These little ones come into our lives like little kings and queens. Those with little babies know how things shift this way and that as everyone adjusts to doing all they can to care for their needs and fit into “baby schedules” which tend toward the unpredictable.
February looks like a long way off until we can once more, Lord willing, welcome a little darling into our home, but in the meanwhile we’ll keep enjoying the two children we’ve been blessed with. They will be turning 6 and 3 and they’re both excited about their birthdays this fall.
As I mentioned earlier we’re ready to take our turn of hosting church services. Services will be at our house the next four weeks. Lord willing, we’ll have church services at our house for a period of one month including youth Bible studies and hymn singing. Last night we were blessed with many hands which did help make the work light. Our youth group and several families were here for the evening. The ladies helped me with the cleaning, windows, walls, and such while the men and boys aided Daniel with various odd jobs such as finishing the garage, mowing weeds, etc.
By the time the evening was passed I felt deeply grateful for so many hearts and hands which gave us a lift. Not only did we get lots of work done, we also had fun laughing and talking as we worked. By the time it was getting dark all 25 of us were hungry as could be and enjoy supper together before dispersing.
I made several meatball sub casseroles along with sweet corn and applesauce. Several of the youth provided a dessert of homemade Twinkies, mixed fruit, ice cream, and salty snacks.
Now a day later I am wrapping up another summer day. Tonight the children and I went to the garden for goodies to make Sue’s “Summer Garden Specialty.” It really proved to be a hit. I’ll pass the recipe to you to try.
Sue a reader from Dayton, Ohio, shared this recipe with us and told us how her mother used to make it years ago.
As with many other recipes you can feel free to add or omit anything that strikes your fancy. Also use whatever amounts you may need. If you’re like me you’ll want to make enough for at least two meals if you’re at it anyway.
SUMMER GARDEN SPECIALTY
New potatoes, freshly dug
Corn, scraped from the cob
Salt to taste
Cook ham bone and green beans in water until nearly done. Add diced potatoes and corn. Cook until potatoes are tender. Next, dice tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion sets. Set on table raw. Each person can layer raw goodies on their plate, then smother with the green bean mixture.
Readers can write or visit Gloria at 10437 E. 300th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427