The Low Down

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Forest Grump

This blog starts with a bad mood.

I had to get out of dodge to get this one under control, so I just started walking. Out the back door. Towards the garden. Which keeps flooding... sorry early spring dreams. On my way I noticed some ripe wild blackberries under a tree. Yum! After I stuck a few in my mouth I remembered a (rainy) trek in the backyard a few months back.

The hubs noticed the large number of wild blueberry trees on the pathway, so I decided to go see how they were progressing.


Not only did I score some great berries - I also introduced my legs to the 2014 mosquito population. When I shared this fact, friends graciously told me about Shea Butter and Vitamin B12 as bug deterrents and Orajel as a soothing relief. Who knew?! These facts may take my foraging dreams and my pancakes to a new level.

An afternoon in the woods and an antioxidant-full breakfast-for-supper turned out to be just what I needed.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

And Ode to Springtime

There is an exquisite symphony happening right now in the backyard. J’s grandmother was a gardening visionary. She left a legacy of floral artistry. Even though I never met her, she has made herself known in her garden. 

The music began in the wake of our strange Ice-Blanket. Just when the winter felt endlessly long and cold– the strong, quiet, notes of dignified camellias began. To me, camellias are a reminder to hope in the drear of dark days, like the warming of strings in the orchestra... reminding me that the days will soon lengthen and the concerto is about to begin...

I cannot get over these blooms!

Then, the slow emergence: gentle tunes of Japanese magnolia, the bride’s wreath, and fig leaves. My eyes tingled with anticipation. Finally, this Saturday, the choir! A crescendo of cherry blossoms, daffodils, dogwoods, azaleas and wisteria left me speechless.

The Yard

A show like this is humbling for the failed gardener in me. Every year, I have dreams of a bountiful harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, basil, peppers, and so much more. I imagine a lovely garden of magnificent flowers. But, I often find that I kill more than I coddle. A mint plant even died on my watch, which I hear is virtually impossible. I’ll keep trying though, channeling the gifts of my gardening ancestors.

Because that is what springtime is, I think. It is hope. It is chucking last year’s wilted failures and starting over with a few new seeds and seedlings. My second generation tomatoes will surely outshine the first. I just know it.

What are you planting this season?

PS - I debated about posting this, thinking that the writing is too flowery. Then that thought made me giggle.

PSS - Though tempted, I purposely avoided the words whimsy, ethereal, airy and epic and am further banning them from this blog. Double whammies if I inadvertently use them and thank you, social media for ruining some great adjectives.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I have a confession

Over the past two years, I’ve fallen long and hard for my home on the Gulf Coast. I’ve been reading Pat Conroy and Flannery O’Connor, listening to the Alabama Shakes, walking barefoot, decorating with (and eating) Satsumas and Meyer Lemons by the ton, getting creative with Conecuh Sausage and Peturis Farm Red Sweet Potatoes. Heck, I even moved in to a housed designed after Tara.
And you know that tiny morsel of seaside? The humble royalty of the south? The infamous raw oyster?
I ate one.
Ok, six.
I went to my late Pawpaw’s favorite seafood joint, Sea ‘N’ Suds. (Pawpaw Dub, the one who once convinced an entire kitchen staff that he was the Cajun Cook.) 
Granny Grace, Pawpaw Dub, Me, Mom
I was captivated by memories of gumbo, flounder and crab claws. I smiled at the childhood memory of his throaty laugh, the time he showed me how to eat an oyster and I squinched my nose. I had to give in.
And? I loved them. Should I change the name of the blog?
I had a second encounter with the little boogers on Valentine’s Day at Tin Top restaurant in Bon Secour. They tasted like they’d brought them in from the bayou out back. Fresh and heavenly. If you are a raw oyster virgin, I recommend you go there if you plan to try them around here.
Speaking of Valentine’s Day, have you seen this gem on Garden & Gun? I submitted my own Grandparents’ photo (#24) and ended up spending hours on the 14th reading the little blurbs and shedding tears, some for my late Gran and others for the lasting love stories.
Cheers to Oysters! Cheers to Love! Cheers to this beloved South!