Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August Blessings

We have been having delightful weather in Southern Illinois. High temperatures are so difficult on those with multiple sclerosis, so I have reason to appreciate more moderate temps. Hearing the news folk remind us one evening that it had been over l00 degrees on the same day a year ago made me doubly appreciate the cooler weather.

After he had been mowing the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land around Woodsong, Gerald came in and invited me to ride behind him on the “mule” to enjoy how pretty some of the back fields are right now. There are meadows of native grasses blowing in the breeze separated by the mowed areas for water run off. Last year he was excited about the partridge peas, but because of early weather and rain conditions, they are less abundant this year than last. Yet especially at the edges of the native grass patches, we do see a good many of the pretty lacy green plants with bright yellow blossoms.

The star of the field this year, however, is a plant I had never heard of before—bundle flowers. Brown has always been a favorite color of mine, although I like bright colors too. The bundle flowers are little brown balls or bundles filled with seeds that will drop to the ground soon and be there for bird food. We frequently see quail around the farm now and are grateful for their come back.

The garden is producing not just zucchini but enough acorn squash to even give away although there is only one acorn squash plant. It was accidentally bought by Gerald as it was mixed in with the zucchini. Most autumns I buy an acorn squash or two and one bright turban squash to create a centerpiece with other veggies. Then before the Christmas season, I cook them. But we had never grown acorn squash before, and we have really enjoyed this addition to our summer menus. We are also enjoying fresh tomatoes and okra.

The women in our church enjoyed a wonderful repast at Charlene’s on Monday night, and just when we thought it could not be any better, she brought out fresh peach cobbler. We have been able to get local peaches at our Kroger store, and many of our August meals have ended with a peach or a dish of sliced peaches.

Gerald came in tired tonight from his travel on an Angel Flight with his pilot friend Herman. However, he was feeling good at seeing a two-year-old and his grandmother transported to receive care for the little boy's legs which had been burned in an accident. Gerald loves to fly and to experience the amazement of going over so much territory in a short time. Since they had been delayed by the lateness of the flight that brought the duo from Cleveland, they had only returned to Marion in time to eat “lunch” at supper time. So just as I entered the kitchen, to cook a bite, Gerald said he had already eaten. So I was blessed with extra time to start reading When Lincoln Came to Egypt by Professor George Washington Smith originally published in 1940 and then republished by Gordon Pruett in 1993. I finished the introductory essay by John Y. Simon, one of our area’s outstanding historians who died this July. With my hometown of Jonesboro preparing for the sesquicentennial of the Lincoln-Douglas 1858 debate, I thought it was a good time to read the book.

I picked this book up at our village library when I returned William Keller’s History of Jonesboro, From 1803 to 1899. I grew up with Bill, who was just a year older than his cousin and my friend Shirley and I. Although I knew he was employed at the historical society in Springfield, I did not realize until after his death how much research and writing he had done. One of my deep regrets was that I did not take advantage of reconnecting with him after he retired in Jonesboro. I am sure that he had many answers to much that I want to know about the town.

I had a difficult time getting this book (Bill’s thesis for his master’s degree at SIU in 1956.) because it had been checked out earlier from the SIUC Special Collections. Naturally it finally arrived when I was busy with other projects (like shredding zucchini). Since it could not be renewed and had to be back by in the morning, I was glad Gerald was on the Angel Flight and I could read through the lunch hour and finish reading and taking the notes I wanted.

1 comment:

Meg in Tally said...

I remember squash from the garden...fried squash, squash bread, squash pie, pickled squash, baked squash...ugh! Way too much squash. My mother was creative --but not enough to make me want to EAT the squash!!

Gerald needs to write about his Angel Flights --I bet he meets wonderful people!