What I Am Going to Miss

In just seven days, I will be watching as a handful of strangers come and pack up all of our possessions and load them on a truck for a haul to South Carolina.  While Bridgeport has not been our full-time home, it is in the area where our families live, and has been an important part of our lives for the last sixteen years as it was the place to come home to between long-term construction projects.
One thing about Audley taking a job in corporate headquarters is there will be no more “coming home” between projects.  We will be settled in one place, making a new home, this time one our own children will return to as they get older and go off to college.
While I love the city and all of its conveniences, I am going to miss this little town in Alabama.
 Just a little.
I am going to miss our little place in the county.  It’s nothing fancy by any means, but it is ours.  It was all we could afford eleven years ago, and we have made some precious memories here.
I am going to miss my chickens.  A lot.  It is going to be quite a change going from freedom of expression in our own yard to homeowners association rules.  Unfortunately, “farm animals” aren’t allowed in our subdivision.  My little birds left Sunday, moving to their new home with my parents.  I cried, just a little.
I am really going to miss their fresh eggs.
I am going to miss my peach trees.  I have loved caring for them, picking their lush fruits and canning them for winter’s use.


I am going to plant some in my new backyard.
I am going to miss my fenced in garden spot and bringing in baskets of fresh tomatoes for salsa.  It looks like raised beds will be the garden of choice in our new home.
I am going to miss my flowering trees:  the crabapple, the plum, and the apple.  They are so beautiful every spring.


I would say That I was going to miss all thirty-one rose bushes, but I am digging nearly all of them up and taking them with me.  The day-lilies and peonies, too.

Audley is real excited over this decision.

{Why yes; my voice is dripping with sarcasm.}


I am really going to miss the kitchen I designed and my husband created for me. I love my oak floors and open plan.
And I am going to miss a whole lot of people.  First, my family. Second, those amazing friends who are like family. Third, I am really going to miss the sweet little girl I have kept for eighteen months.

And fourth I am going to miss our oldest daughter, Samantha, more than words can say.

Kids grow up.  They go to college.  They get engaged.  I know my parents and my in-laws will take good care of her, but it doesn’t take away the pain of leaving her here.
Samantha with her fiancee, Justin. My grandkids (that I won’t have for at least 5 yrs) are going to be gorgeous!

Moving away is a stay-at-home-mom’s biggest fear, but sometimes, you just have to put on your big girl knickers and go with the flow.

{It’s going to be okay.}

Late Summer in the Garden

It’s been a long, hot and dry summer this year, but despite the harsh elements we have enjoyed quite a nice harvest from our little garden.
Planting a garden was such an exciting time for us this year.  While it didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped,  we have still enjoyed all we have gained from it.
Peppers have grown nicely in the garden this summer.
I didn’t think to take pictures at the beginning of the summer but finally found time for a few shots late one evening last week.  It definitely doesn’t show all of our garden or the best it has looked this summer, as the effects of heat and drought are evident.  But, my little garden has been something to be proud of seeing that we are fairly novice gardeners.
The pride of my garden has been the cucumbers.  We planted ten plants early on, but only six survived and has produced far more than I could ever imagine!


Audley built me these great A-frame trellis’ which I trained my vines to grow up.  There were several reasons for this, the main one was to keep my chickens from dining on the cucumbers before I did!




It was so much easier to pick the cucumbers as they dangled from the vines, and I didn’t lose any to rotting because they were on the ground.


You can see how the afternoon heat wilted my leaves.
And we have all loved the pickles made from these delicious cucumbers!
75 pints of pickles have made for some happy children!


My tomatoes have fared nicely as well.  I planted heirloom Brandywine and Rutgers tomatoes, Romas and cherry tomatoes which we have all enjoyed in salads, salsas, straight off the vine and of course we had a few fried green ones.  I have put up much of these tomatoes to use in soups, chili, and other great tomato based dishes this winter.
Our watermelons have grown more than anything this summer, trying to take over the entire garden in the process!  We planted sweet Sugar Baby melons which are just about ready for picking.
I have wished that we had some sort of trellis for the melons because they did run so wild through the garden, but also because they ran right out of the fence as well as up the fence!
And for the melons that decided to grow in the yard?
Chicken food they became!  If you notice, this on is still attached to the vine!!
The black-eye peas are really just now starting to take off good.  So while everything else will be tilled under in a week or so, my peas will have at least another month or so to grow.
Of of my favorites parts of my little garden this year was to plant a row of cutting flowers. In the later part of April I found a bunch of gladiolus bulbs on clearance and decided to plant them all in the garden. Mixed with zinnia and some other pretty flowers I have loved the burst of color that has greeted me this summer!




We have really enjoyed cutting our own flowers this year and have let them take center stage on our table on several occasions.
Did you have a garden this year?  How did the harsh elements affect you?


Southern Fried

There is something so wholesome and old fashioned about having a vegetable garden.  In a world that is filled with stress and busyness, it’s rather refreshing to spend time playing in the dirt and watching something grow from next to nothing.
We don’t look near this charming!


It’s an art that goes back generations, and definitely something I hope to pass on to my own children!

One of the highlights of summer is all of the fresh goodness brought in from our garden.  Often it’s a lot of work fighting the harsh summer elements to have a successful garden, but somehow through the extreme heat, struggle to beat the weeds, and then strange periods of heavy rains we have managed to pick fresh food which is finally gracing our dinner table.

All of us really look forward to the first okra of the season, which we were able to enjoy along with green tomatoes this past week.

I still laugh when I think back to living in Iowa when the produce manager looked at me like I was crazy and asked me “What is an Okra?”! 

{These were the same folks who put sugar in their cornbread and not in their tea, but oh how we loved them!}

Believe me, I was happy to show anyone who would try it exactly what okra is and how it should be prepared!

Could there be anything more southern than fried green tomatoes and fried okra on the dinner table?!

So here is my Southern Fried Okra recipe just in time for summer picking!

In a medium bowl mix together 1 cup of self-rising flour, 1 cup of buttermilk cornmeal, and 1 Tablespoon kosher salt.

In a separate bowl mix 1 cup buttermilk and 2 Tablespoons hot sauce (I am rather partial to Texas Pete).

Prepare a skillet with about 1 inch of canola oil and heat on medium-high heat.


Slice the ends off of your okra, then slice it lengthwise.  Dip in your buttermilk mixture, then batter in the flour and cornmeal mixture.

Drop the prepared okra gently in the skillet and cook about three minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.

**I cook my green tomatoes this same way!**


Crispy and delicious!  You just can’t beat it.

Do you eat okra?  If not, you must try it at least once this summer and enjoy a delightful southern treat!

What have you served up this season from your gardens?


Ah, Peaches!

“An apple is an excellent thing — until you have tried a peach.” 
George du Maurier (1834-1896)






Saturday morning I woke up to find my sweet husband had gone and picked all of my peaches for me.  While what he collected was just beautiful, I was furious to discover the deer found my lovely crop and had eaten about a third of the peaches!  


The rest are absolutely amazing and so, so delicious!
So I took the remainder of the peaches to make a scrumptious peach salsa.  This is Mr. Jones’ most favorite summer treat (he will fight you for a jar!), so just one recipe wouldn’t do.  We stopped by a local growers market in Clanton, Alabama over the weekend where I purchased a bushel of sweet freestone peaches!  I took half to prepare for freezing for ice cream, pie, and cobbler, but the remainder will make his delightfully sweet and spicy salsa.



Using fresh ingredients from both my garden and the market it didn’t take long to put together this unique treat:

1/2 cup organic white vinegar; 6 cups chopped pitted, peeled peaches; 3/4 cup red onion; 3/4 vidalia onion; 1 1/2 jalapeno pepper; 1/2  red bell pepper; 1/2 green bell pepper; 1/2 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro; 3 Tablespoons local honey (we used honey from my brother-in-law’s bee hives); 1 clove garlic, finely chopped; 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin; 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

{I use a lot of organics and locally grown produce in my canning.  If I am going to take the time to grow better foods for my family, I am going o preserve them in the best way possible as well!}


**In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar and peaches. Add onions, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, red pepper, honey, garlic, cumin and cayenne, bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. 


{Do not cook your peaches until they are mushy.  As soon as your mixture boils for about a minute, remove from heat.  The mixture will finish cooking in the jars.} 

**Ladle hot peach mixture into hot sterilized  jars, cleaning the lip of the jars, sealing and process in canner for 15 minutes in boiling water. 


Two recipes of salsa made for three liters in my Weck canning jars.   
Store in the pantry so sunlight doesn’t distort your color.  Serve it up with regular tortilla chips, or make your own using flour tortillas and cinnamon.  This salsa is divine with grilled chicken or pork.  It’s perfect for a sultry summer evening cookout, which is what our plans are for the evening!


Happy Monday Y’all!