Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ahhhhhhh...........Summer In Arkansas......

I know summer is here when I get my first vine-ripened one of these:
To me, garden ripe tomatoes, watermelon and cantaloupe are the tastes of summer. Cecil brought in a HUGE, sweet, delicious cantaloupe Tuesday, and graciously left me half of it. I fin
ished it off last night as a late night snack. It was yummy, too! I haven't had a watermelon, they aren't ready yet. Should be some ready by July 4th, though. One thing about the mild drought we're having, it usually makes all the fruit and melons sweeter. We'll see. I certainly hope it does.

A good friend and neighbor keeps us supplied with garden produce all summer. He makes a huge garden and shares with the whole neighborhood. He has never been married, but he has always gardened and froze and canned his produce, besides what he generously shares with the community. And by the way, he is 87 years old. I am 42 and I couldn't do what he does. Bless his heart, he is out there every day in the sweltering heat, tending to his garden. He can afford to buy his produce, but it's a labor of love, and he says it gives him something to get out of bed for every day. It's probably why he is still going strong at 87 and I'm grunting and groaning all day long, too.

He gave us our first 3 ripe tomatoes of the summer yesterday. They are still a little firm and not quite ripe enough by my standards, so they're ripening for slaughter on top of the microwave. He is keeping us supplied with cabbage, yellow squash, cucumbers, and plenty of Kentucky Wonder green beans. I like all green beans, but in my opinion, you can't beat Kentucky Wonders for flavor. I don't particularly like stringing them, but they're so good I don't mind it too much.

As m
y grandma would say, we're eatin' high on the hog right now. I do love the fresh garden produce of summer, it is one of the advantages of summer. One thing that I haven't had this spring is wilted salad made with garden lettuce and green onions. It just doesn't taste the same made with store-bought lettuce and green onions. Fry up some crisp bacon or salt pork and then pour the smokin' hot grease over the torn lettuce and chopped green onions...........Mercy, I can eat a dishpan full of the stuff. And don't knock it until you try it, folks. Mama always put fresh garden radishes in her wilted salad, but I'm not too fond of radishes.

Some things about summer I'm not fond of all include these things: FLIES,mosquitoes and the HEAT. Every time the door opens, more flies buzz in. I despise the nasty critters. If it's not flies, it's mosquitoes. The flying bloodsuckers are lurking everywhere, especially close to dark, through the night and early morning. If you want to know if anyone plays Little League or any other night time sport, or is a parent, just look for the mosquito bites. And anyone who likes night fishing or coon hunting or any of the other after-dark pursuits around here must like getting blood transfusions. I'll just donate mine to the Red Cross, thank you very muchly. Even if they miss the vein once or twice, it's better than donating it a little at a time to the bloodthirsty winged hordes. Plus there's the itching thing, not to mention the various and sundry diseases both flies and mosquitoes carry. Ewwwww.............(shudder)

Then there's the HEAT. I hate to be hot. I also hate to sweat. Usually being hot is followed very shortly by sweating. I. Don't. Like. Being. Hot. And. Sweaty. 'Nuff said? Summer in Arkansas means lots of both if you're outside at all. Even at night the temperature sometimes doesn't drop below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Ick...OH, ICK!! Between the flies, mosquitoes and the heat, don't I sound like a tourist brochure for Arkansas? Y'all come, now. Ya hear? :-)

Okay, that's all I have for now, blogging friends. I have a Father's Day post for this weekend I am working on, and I hope to post something else before then. Hope everyone is having a Great week, and blessings to all. :-)


Dick said...

Diane, I would gladly send you our rain and take 5 or maybe even 10 degrees of your heat. I'll bet you wish you could can some of that heat to open & use in the winter. Heat & precipitation is why I like to spend winters in Arizona and only the rest of the year up here in the northwest. But, we do get hot. By the end of July it will probably regularly be up to 82 or so every day and only down into the lower 60s at night! Right now I could make a run across the mountains to the dry east side of the state and find temps 10 or more degrees higher. I'll go over there about the 4th of July for a month.

Sue said...

How long does that miserable sounding weather last? I don't think I could stand that either!
You & I agree 100% on the fresh veggies. We grow a huge garden, but we also go to farmers markets and the nearby produce stand. Haven't had fresh tomatoes yet, though...

Barb said...

As usual, you made me hungry. We get Rocky Ford cantaloupes here, grown in southern Colorado, and just the best.

I'm with you - I hate to be hot. Growing up in SE Texas, believe me I knew hot muggy neverending days. It's hot here, gets up to almost 100 every day, but this is WESTERN Colorado, desert country, so it's d.r.y. which makes all the difference. Still, I gave up suntanning years ago and choose now to stay inside my wonderfully air conditioned house! As much as I can!

Meow said...

Hmmmm, flies, mozzies, heat ... yep, that sounds like summer to me. I guess the flying critters are not something I miss with the colder weather. I do miss the warmth, not necessarily the hot, though. Warm is nice, hot is not !!
Have a great weekend ... mmmm, canteloupe.
Take care, Meow

PEA said...

Our garden just finally got planted...a bit late this year cuz of the cold temps we were having. Now everything is coming up but it will be a while yet before anything will be ready! I love eating our own fresh veggies from the garden!! As for the mosquitos, I can relate...we can't even sit outside in the evenings, the little vampires are everywhere...grrrrrrrr

Brenda said...

I don't think I've ever had a salad that was wilted on purpose. Hmmm.

Those garden fresh veggies do sound good. I love tomatoes, watermelon, and cantaloupe. That's what summer's all about.

I tell ya, I don't miss the sticky hot thickness of Arkansas summers.

Have a great weekend!

Mike Goodwin said...

My mom loves gardening, especially the edible kind. :-) Not much of a chance of doing that in my current living situation. Nothing like home grown veggies, though.
I'm looking forward to your Father's Day post.

momteacherfriend said...

We hit a roadside stand as we headed out of Arkansas. I picked up some tomatos, apples, peaches and a watermelon. That watermelon was do delicious! The growing seasons are so different. We will not have produce until late July and August.

Those flies. You guys have them terrible. Absolutely can not leave the door open...or they swarm in.

Heat. I escaped the scorching heat. Thankfully, you saw Ihow I did with moderate heat.

I love giving hearts. That's what life is about. Sharing with others. awesome you have a neighbor who lives it out. I also agree with him , that it igves him something to get out of bed for. We need that.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Hi Diane
I thought we were the only ones that used fried salt pork, In todays world it is a no no but has been an esential here for years . You make me jealous now with all your garden treats , you lucky rabbit you ! we are still warming up here but it is getting nice , I would not be able to handle your kinda heat for long esp away from the ocean .
BUGS yep they love summer like all of us , I heard using a dryer sheet softener tucked into your hat ,clothes whatever works wonders , That and of course RAID , if the spray dont get them squishem with the can hehehehehe
Hope your well

Dawn said...

I lived in Heber Springs from first through 5th grade, when we moved back to Minnesota, where our roots were - way up to International Falls! What a change. I have fond memories of Arkansas, but have not been back for years.

Barb said...

'scuse me for a minute Diane. Brenda! Spinach salad with hot bacon dressing is the best! And it's wilted. Want the recipe?

BooMama said...

Must. have. rain. soon. It hasn't been this dry here in at least four years...but the veggies make up for the heat. I have lots of tomatoes on the kitchen counter right now, so life is good. :-)

Brenda said...

I'd love the recipe, Barb.

Diane, I've been meaning to tell you that I love your new profile picture.

Diane said...

Hey, Everybody, thanks for rocking the comments!

Dick--Hi, and 82 doesn't seem hot to us....Now 102, and we're talking hot. :-)

Sue--The miserable weather lasts through September, and sometimes into October. It varies some.

Barb--I've heard that about the dry heat, but I'll have to experience it for myself. 100 degrees is just hot, no matter the humidity.

And I LOVE Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing!! Yum...... :-)

Meow--I guess we have the heat and the flying, biting critters in common with you there Down Under. :-)

Hi, Pea--And welcome! Nice to meet you, and make yourself at home. ;-)

Mike--I have my Father's Day post ready, but I might post something else either tonight (Friday) or Saturday, and post the Father's Day thing on Sunday morning.

Diane said...

Hi, MomTeacherFriend--Yes, you left just in time to miss the hotter weather. It was 98 today and miserable!! Thunderstorms in the area now, but nothing here yet. We really need the rain!! :-)

And Mr. S. is a good Godly man, bless his heart. :-)

Green Eyes--I love fried salt pork, and it is so GOOD for you, you know, LOL!! The dryer sheet thing has never worked for me, and you'd never have enough Raid for the amount of bugs WE have! You're better off whacking them with the can. ;-)

Dawn--Welcome to blogging! And welcome to my blog. Make yourself at home, friend. ;-)

BooMama--We are in the midst of a drought here, too. Thunderstorms all around us, but no rain here yet. :-(

I only have 3 tomatoes so far, and I am ripening them for slaughter, LOL. :-)

Brenda--Thanks for the comps about the pic. I told Barb, it's the one from Mother's Day with Jessica, and that's her hair on the right side. I haven't tried to edit it out of the picture, so it looks like I have extra hair roaming around free, LOL. :-)

Dawn said...

Tell me how Heber Springs is these days - it's been years. My dad worked as an electrician on the dam years ago - he was a bivocational pastor with 4 kids. I haven't been there since I was 17. Would love to see it again!

Diane said...

Dawn, sorry I don't have any pictures. We were there at night and didn't actually drive through the town, just around the area, so I couldn't really tell you. You might do a google search on the name that might tell you something. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. :-)

Brenda said...

I used to take my kids to Heber Springs to go swimming in Greers Ferry Lake. We always went to the Tumbling Shoals area. That was 10 or 12 years ago. I'm sure it's changed some since then. Probably a lot different from when you remember, Dawn.

Dawn said...

Greers Ferry Lake is what was created when they built the dam my dad wired. Before that there was a bridge called Tumbling Shoals Bridge - it was so rickety that it was very scary to drive across. But it was "famous" because you could see the opposite end before you saw the end you were coming to. We were from such a conservative time that we, as the pastor's family, had to find a hidden from view swimming hole to cool off in those horribly hot summers - our denomination at that time frowned on "mixed bathing," - I never quite understood that, because I never bathed with my brothers, but saw nothing wrong with swimming with them!