Snap. Snap. Snap.
My pile of snapped beans keeps growing as the heap of freshly picked beans keeps diminishing. Summertime can be intensely muggy and warm in southern Illinois, yet who would actually want to skip this important season loaded with bounty from the garden and fields?
In our little mobile home it does get quite warm at times especially without having air-conditioning. I’m not complaining, it’s just something to work with. On the hottest days of summer I find it refreshing to spend time in my parent’s woods at their cabin that my Dad and us children helped one another design and build 10 years ago. It’s entirely enveloped by maple trees providing cover from the summer sun.
Julia and Austin are always delighted to join me on our little walk to the woods. Naptime isn’t on their list of favorite activities, but if they have a chance to take naps in the cabin instead of in the house, it’s a welcome change for them. Austin especially likes being put to sleep as we swing on the front porch. Julia always eagerly volunteers to push us back and forth, delighted to help put Austin to sleep.
I usually avoid having to work in the garden during the hottest part of the day, then tackle what needs to be done in the morning or in the evening after supper.
Remember how my husband Daniel had a brainstorm of covering the entire garden with plastic strips and then mulching between the rows? To a large degree it was a smashing success. I would like to share a hint with you, though. Double check to make sure your straw doesn’t have any seeds in it from the wheat tassels. Here is what happens: instead of keeping the weeds down you’ll actually be planting wheat seeds resulting in lush greens strips between the black plastic.
Uh-oh. Yeah, that is exactly what happened to a part of our garden. We debated about what would be the most practical route to eliminate it. One evening Daniel’s ambition kicked in as he started pulling handful after handful of weeds. Even though pulling weeds isn’t the most pleasant job ever, we ended up having a companionable time together. We tackled our mundane task, discussing the continual efforts needed in maintaining a closeness and heartfelt connection as husband and wife, yet how precious and rewarding it is to accept God’s love and freely give to and receive it from one another, blending together as one in the Lord.
The plastic cut back tremendously on the hours of labor needed to keep the garden free. We look forward to using this method next year with most of the plants. Dainty plants such as carrots prefer to not to be close to the plastic which causes them to wilt as the sun beats on it.
The individual holes we poked for items such as sweet corn, green beans, melons, and squashed worked fantastic. As the plants grew the weeds weren’t able to get enough sunshine or find sufficient space to squeeze up beside the plants thus diminishing their ability to grow.
Working in the garden is enjoyable but nothing beats harvest time. I enjoy keeping a basket on the table with a variety of vegetables which keeps me from having to run to the garden every time I need a fresh veggie.
Garden goodies can also make great gifts! Recently I had fun making a pair of anniversary zucchini for my parents on their 30th wedding anniversary. I decided to tie 2 zucchini together with a golden ribbon. Using a marker, I drew hearts on it and wrote tidbits like “The twain shall be one flesh” and “What will God have for you in the next 30 years?”
Daniel’s dream of raising big, juicy candy onions is finally coming to reality this year. After struggling with harvesting only small and medium-sized onions we’re finally having a good turn-out. The rows of onions look outstanding. Seemingly they thrive on some extra fertilization and lots of watering.
Now, how about having onion pie for supper? If you like it as much as do you are in for tasty treat.
30 saltine crackers
1/3 cup oleo, melted
3 cups onions, diced
1/4 cup butter
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup milk
Mix crackers and butter and 1/3 cup of butter and press into a 9” baking dish. Saute onions in 1/4 cup butter until onions are slightly tender. Spread onions over cracker mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Readers with culinary or culture questions or stories to share may write Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.