Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Peppers, Mainly

I love peppers. Other than the onion family, they may be my favorite vegetable. This year we grew Serrano, JalapeƱo, Cayenne, Super Chili, and Anaheim (my favorite), and Tabasco peppers. 

The day before our first freeze was predicted RH cut all the Tabasco peppers, one pepper I hadn't used all summer, saving them for hot pepper sauce.

I save pretty glass bottles that are perfect for hot vinegars that enhance pots of pinto beans or collard greens all winter.

This is the easy kind of preserving that is all I do anymore. No more chili sauce, corn relish, pepper relish, pickled peaches, and every kind of jam and jelly that I made as a younger homemaker.

Here's a picture of my mother who keeps me company in the kitchen, the expert chili sauce maker. I especially love this picture that was used at her celebration of life service the week before everything shut down in 2020. I was sitting by her when the picture was taken, our arms around each other, and I think about that when I cook.

Dewena was her middle name, as it is mine.

I stepped out on the kitchen porch later that day to cut the rest of peppers and some herbs for Bolognese sauce for supper.

Our little cayenne plant remained small all summer, not producing enough peppers to string and hang in the kitchen.

I'm wondering if I can just store them in a glass jar after they all dry? 

Look what RH brought in from a friend later that day. Wow, the mother lode of peppers! Perfect for stuffed peppers!

It was also a day for bringing in a few houseplants and I asked RH to bring in my favorite outdoor pot with three shade plants that was still so pretty. I picked them out with birthday money early summer, two different tiny ferns and the tall plant I can't remember the name of. Will they survive in the house? 

I also cut a few blooms from the Mandeville vine I bought with my birthday money.

This was our first time to buy this plant and it rewarded us with blooms all summer long in the garden.

I wish I could have brought the whole vine in for winter. Naturally after the hard freeze we were back to beautiful days. 

Perhaps we'll even have a Tender Tennessee Thanksgiving. 

What's it looking like where you live?

P.S. Here's the Bolognese sauce cooking away!

(This little plaque was in my mother's kitchen! Wish I knew it's history. Maybe my sisters remember?)

Thursday, November 2, 2023

"Try November's Love"

 With apologies to Melanie...

Winter's Lover by Joan Story Wright

Come now, forget your April-bitten heart,

And try November's love. He's strong enough

To tear your frail, beribboned dreams apart

And make you scorn the tender for the rough

Sureness of his love-making. Come be wise;

Put springtime's wistful fantasies away

And wipe the blatant rainbows from your eyes.

Rainbows will fade, but never the gusty gray

Of winter's bleak caress. Spring buds deceive;

Not so this bitter lover. Take his hand.

He offers frank commands for weak appeals

And he will trade cold truth for make-believe,

And, for rain's phantom fragrance, the demand

Of a little muttering wind to pluck your heels.

When I read this poem the other night in my November 1951 issue of Ladies' Home Journal, it filled a hole in my heart I didn't realize I had. I can't express how much I needed it.  I needed tough vigor and trust, not sweetness, not this November. 

I needed belief in this month that is my favorite, belief that we will make it through the headwinds that winter might bring. 

When we moved here seven years ago, RH planted two Natchez crape myrtles out front. I dearly love them but it is the old crape myrtle above that steals my heart each summer and now in the fall. 

This scene is what I see outside the bathroom window. I love this tree dressed in its summer beauty but it turns my heart to mush in late October and early November. Somehow the poem seemed to go with the pictures and they both give me strength.

Because it's a long way till summer.

I'm going to try November's love.