Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Okra Wars & Mater Magic

It has been so dry here, so unusually hot for this early in the summer, and the worst so that most can remember.  When you combine that with the survival mode we had to lean towards with my surgery....I sadly have a garden I'm trying to revive to it's greater potential!  It's hung in there, my husband did a good job while he was here and I'm out there doing my best to give her a good drink of water every day.  A week ago, I was in tears, praying that it wasn't beyond hope because of the heat and lack of moisture.  Today, I'm excited to share that my squash is coming back to life, my corn may just make after all, even if it's late, and I'm about up to my eyeballs in tomatoes!  We've had an abundance of peppers, although the bell peppers seem pretty bad off from the heat.  The pole beans are pretty much goners, but we still have purple hull peas and butter beans looking like they're going to come on through after all!  And okra.....oh the okra.

Yes, I fight with veggies.  Okra and me, we've had a tough go of it this week!  Sure, it ate me up a little when I cut some tonight, but more so when I tried to blanch and cut it to cover in cornmeal for freezing.  I was taught to make sure they aren't hard when cut.  Still, I ended up with a big, slimy, celery tough like bunch of shredded okra and seeds.  So, did I pick too early, too late, or just go wrong on my efforts to blanch?  There's more on my counter tonight and more coming on the plants, which hopefully means I'm going to have opportunity to get on top of this here particular vegetable....or so hopes my husband!

And the tomatoes.....how I wish you could see the tomatoes.  Let me tell you that I was told I wouldn't be able to grow a single tomato on this land.  I don't listen well as I took that as a challenge, and something God had different plans for when He led us to plant this garden!  We have batches of tomatoes ripening each day, with so many more on the vines to come!  I have cherry tomato plants that are loaded, one with probably 200 little tomatoes!  

 My canner has stayed on my stove and my sister and I are working our way through the harvest, learning as we go!  I wish I could kidnap my Grandma Betty, along with all of her canning goodies and keep her here through the summer to soak up all of her knowledge and great company in the process!  But since Grandpa probably wouldn't let me get away with that, I'm going to have to keep reading, listening, watching, guessing, and seeing what works and what doesn't.  In the meantime, we are being blessed with such good, healthy food, in spite of the torching heat and dry, dry weather.  My kitchen counter has taken on the daily role of garden extension, as you can see!

Just some of the tomatoes out today, I have more outside to ripen.  Lots of peppers, and of course the okra that has me baffled.  You can see jars of Peach preserves, Jalapeno jelly, and seasoned tomato sauce, which Nessie and I made just today!  Yes, we only made 4 jars....accidentally, but I suppose that's how we learn!  And it did make the house smell wonderful!

Nessie stirring down the tomato sauce as it cooked down.  We took turns keeping watch....the ENTIRE two hours because we were too afraid to step away!

Cass can't wait til he's a big boy and can be in the dugout like his brother!  Aiden's doing great in T-Ball and I've been able to go and watch the last couple of games!

Me and my babies.  Just missing our Alaina here....she had a birthday yesterday and is now officially in the double digits!  Oh how they make my days go round, fill with joy laughter, and remind me just how awesome of a gift I've been given.  I wouldn't trade my husband, these children, my life, our home, or our values for anything in this world.  God has been so good to us!
We are to be good, faithful stewards of what's been given us.  That means taking good care of what's been entrusted to us, no matter what the size or condition of the circumstance may be.  It's been on my heart the last several months that in doing just this I will honor God, being sure to make the very most out of every opportunity and circumstance He sends my way.  Does this mean I'm perfect in doing so?  Surely not.  I've spent way more time complaining and being ungrateful after this surgery than I care to admit.  And then I go back to this thought.....I'm to make the most and do the best with what I've graciously been given. 

My garden....it has grass EVERYWHERE, I've lost my pole beans, and almost my squash.  But I didn't let it go.  I decided to nurture and care for what hope was still there and tonight I'm rewarded with a peek of what may still come from my plants.  I can't pull my weeds right now, but I can water and pick.  That's doing the best I can with the cards I've been dealt this last month.  And I believe God is honoring that, as I hope I am honoring Him in doing so.  My garden continues to grow, the harvest keeps on coming in!  So tonight I am grateful.  Tonight I strive to do my best and give the most with what I've been given.  Not complain about what I can't do or wish I had things or abilities that I don't.  No, I am to be content doing just what God has laid out for me right now.  That, I can continue to reach for!

DISCLAIMER....If you're a man, you can quit reading this post now!  Thanks!

I need hormone guidance!  Any and all advice, direction, and reference would be greatly appreciated.  I need knowledge, personal stories, and opinions if any of you have any to give.  Thank you kindly!


  1. Good Morning. Our garden..we let go..the plants looked great..but with this heat they won't blossom..and we will replant later this summer.
    Now okra and purple hulls and even black eyes..love this weather..lol

    I don't have any right answers for the okra.I just pick them about 2-4 inches long..rinse them off..cut the top off..and then slice them..batter the way I told you earlier..lay out on a tray and freeze..then I bag up the frozen battered okra in bags for ready to fry.
    I never blanch..they turn slimy. I have okra in the freezer for a whole year..and they were just fine!
    No help on the hormone issue.
    The grass is actually good in your garden..it covers the roots of your plants..lol You can weed eat or mow it.
    Hope this helps somes..I am so wanting your veggies..I am so dissapointed we lost everything.This is the hottest we have ever been this early.And this drought is horrible.

    Hugs Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

  2. We're growing okra this year too. My dh was told to pick while they are still on the small side. The bigger they get the tougher they get. HTH!!


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