Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm Lovin' the Harvest

If it weren't for tomatoes, I think I'd blow off July and August in Alabama and just move off up north and live in Maine or New Hamp-shire - somewhere where the fish of the day is scrod instead of catfish. 

It would be somewhere that a bag of popcorn wouldn't start popping if you accidentally dropped it on the asphalt. 

The weather here in Alabama reminds me of Panama. In Panama, where you can almost throw a rock and hit the equator, it gets hot and steamy. Most of the natives in Central and Latin America have learned to take a nap during the hottest part of the day. Stores, restaurants and offices close.

I was thinking that maybe we could adopt that practice here in Alabama too. Instead of a two-hour nap, maybe we could nap until, say, September. 

We could all wake up from our summer hibernation just in time for the kickoffs of the Alabama and Auburn football seasons. Can I get an amen sisters and brothers?

That does sound appealing, but it's the harvesting of fresh tomatoes, squash, okra, sweet corn and other fruits and vegetables we plant in the spring that keeps me here.

Sure you can buy fresh produce up north, but you can never be sure that some misguided farmer hasn't treated the crops with organophosphates or some other gosh-awful chemical that would make a new eyeball appear in the center of your forehead. 

It's the harvest that keeps me here in Alabama. 

We had a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for breakfast yesterday. If there is a more perfect summer meal, I'd like to hear about it. 

A close second is fried squash and/or okra. 

Even as I write this, Jilda is in the kitchen working on a vegetable soup mix that will be worth its weight in gold this coming winter. 

She learned how to make vegetable soup from her mom, Ruby. Basically, you take fresh peas, corn, okra, squash, tomatoes and any other veggies that happen to be "coming in" at the time, put them all together, add some magic ingredients and then put it in a big old pot to cook on the stove until it begins to blend together. 

When the concoction cools down, she divvies it into quart containers and stores it in the freezer.

Once the frost is on the pumpkins, it's time to start pulling out cartons of vegetable soup.

It's good to heat and eat just like it is, but she often tosses in some ground chuck or beef tips, which makes this soup mix out of this world. 

When you eat it with a pone of hot buttered cornbread, you remember why you stay in Alabama when it's hotter than the devil's skillet.

It started raining just now. My heart rejoices. I thought our new metal roof had created some kind of arid microclimate that was keeping the rain out of Empire, because we hadn't had a decent rain since we installed it. 

When it stops rattling the roof, I think I'll step down and check on the tomatoes to see if they've grown any since this morning. I'm craving a BLT!

Read more: Daily Mountain Eagle - Loving the harvest 


  1. your description of Alabama weather doesn't really endear me to the idea of traveling there... yet we are headed to Huntsville soon. Nice blog--I was surfing and found it. I'm following. :)

  2. Your soup sounds great. I also like the idea of the sleep too although I doubt its as warm here as it is with you it still isn't very nice for working sometimes. Home grown fresh Tomatoes are hard to beat for flavour and shop bought ones can't compete at all.

  3. Hey there,
    I wouldn't want to sugar coat it.
    A lot of people visit Alabama in October and think WOW! This weather is GREAT! But when they come back in July or August they usually say - HOW DO YOU PEOPLE LIVE HERE??????
    The thermometer will be hanging near 100 with very high humidity.
    Huntsville is a fun town. I have friends there.
    Bring a change of clothes.

    Thanks for the follow.

  4. The weather sounds like Florida. I went to visit my sister there and I didn't see how people lived there. On the way home we hit Nebraska and I said to my husband, "The temperature must finally be going down, it isn't very hot any more." But no, it was still 100 degrees, just low humidity.

  5. We've had hard rains for five days now. Usually it hits about midnight or later, so if I wake in the night, I am lulled back to sleep with the sound.

    When it rains in the late afternoon or early eevening, it brings thunderstorms and rumors of tornados. The thing that's irritating me tonight is they are telling us again and again, "go to your basement or the lowest point in your house and get under a work bench or a heavy piece of furniture". I have no basement and the heavest thing I have is a bed and it's upstairs!

    I take a nap almost every day after lunch. Problem is someone usually calls and wakes me up!

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