|Hot days of Summer|
|Saturday, August 31, 2013 12:03 AM|
We all know it’s been hot-hot-hot, but the corn and the beans sure look good. Some of the corn must be seven feet tall. Here we are at the end of August and fall colors are just around the corner. I love autumn and I even like winter but this hot humid stuff makes me be a prisoner of air conditioning. Many of us remember the days without air conditioning. My husband, Hups, said 1936 was one of the hottest summers, with many, many days over 100 degrees. They even slept out on the front lawn. I’m so glad we have air-conditioned churches, also.
We always did a lot of canning in the summer and didn’t know what air conditioning was. My mother and I usually did our canning together, considered three hampers of tomatoes to be a good days work. We had the kettles of tomatoes cooking, with the hot steam rolling and then put the canner on and more steam would roll. We did peaches, tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, pickled red beets, green beans, apple sauce and more. We made ketchup, too. Our daughters helped when they got old enough.
Now some of them, along with their husbands do a lot of canning. In fact on this hot summer afternoon, Mary and Jim just came over and went to the basement to get all my empty canning jars from the old days. They even canned sauerkraut.
We canned pickles, too. Remember bread and butter pickles, Virginia Sweets and 14-day pickles? We had three- and five-gallon crocks of pickles sitting up on the countertop. Every day or two, we had to do something with the pickles. Some we even layered with grape leaves to enhance the taste.
My favorite method of canning was to use the Conservo. It was a double-decker canner. It was so nice to go to the cellar and look, with pride, at those cans of goodies. One year, we had over 100 cans of tomato juice plus what Mom had.
Some of my favorite things of summer are the fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the sweet corn. We are fortunate to have two really good farm markets in town and right outside of town.
Hummingbirds are also at the top of my list of favorites. My hummingbird feeder is hanging on a shepherds hook, just outside my “office” window. It’s in the shade of an evergreen tree most of the day so the juice isn’t so hot.
It’s fun to watch those little birds fly in or just hover over, while they check things out. Last year we had trouble with ants getting into the feeder, so this year we outsmarted the ants by putting axle grease or Vaseline at the bottom of the shepherds hook near the ground. That solved the problem.
As my friend, Ruth, said: “Isn’t it funny that the older we get, the more joy we get out of the little things.” That is very true.
Hummingbirds like certain flowers such as the red Monarda (bee balm), trumpet vine, coral bells and other flowers that they can stick their little beak into. I intend to plant more Red Monarda is strategic areas, especially near the bird feeders or just outside my kitchen window, where I can observe them.
I have most of my flowers in containers this year. By planting in containers, I can care for them and pull the weeds as I sit in my chair. They do take plenty of water in containers so my garden hose is always handy.
I have cardinals, gold finches and rose finches too. Once in a while a blue jay flies in.
I noticed that the finches like zinnias. I also have the squirrels, both black and gray. They have such a carefree life, just chasing each other up and down the trees and going to the bird feeder. I also have some beautiful butterflies.
Delphos is famous for all the ducks on the canal. We often have to wait as they cross the street. Did you see the buzzards flying around town this summer? I’ve heard they have taken up residence in some trees in the northeast section of town. Keep your eyes open to the skies and you might see one the eagles that nest out along the Auglaize River or the heron (fish crane) that nest in a woods near Fort Jennings.
Have you noticed that some robins seem to stay all winter……wonder where they spend the cold winter. So much for the birds.
Have you ever tasted pumpkin blossoms? I planted pumpkins in my little garden area of the flower bed just for the blossoms. However, my crop was not so good. My neighbors, Chuck and Alice, had a bumper crop so they shared with me. Oh! So good!
Let me share a new cucumber recipe with you. My daughter, Karen, introduced this recipe to me and it is almost a dessert.
1 cup low fat mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
4 teaspoons vinegar
½ teaspoon dill weed
4 medium size cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 green onions, chopped
I do not peel the cucumbers and I add a little chopped fresh dill. I like dill and it adds a little color to the salad.
The Diesnstberger III story will continue Sept. 14.
Enjoy the season!