This is the time of year I have those marvelous dreams in the night about a garden bursting with all sorts of vegetables, flowers, herbs and of course lovely chickens pecking among the rows and rows of my bounty. Abruptly I awake, and my dreams are dashed when I look out of my window and see our three resident feral cats sitting with expectant looks waiting to be fed.
Off I go to the food bin in the pantry to scoop up enough cat food for all of the cats — plus the errant raccoon who somehow knows when to appear.
I have tried to plant a garden for many years, and by now one would think I should have had it mastered. But no, I haven’t gotten a green thumb yet. There are some people here in Bluffton who can just look at a plant and it will grow and flourish.
I have a favorite “secret” garden on Buck Island Road that, every year, is a riot of all kinds of fruits and vegetables. I have never seen a soul working in it. In the winter when all is cold and dreary, I pass by and know that very soon the garden will burst forth with life. As if a miracle happens when spring arrives, I see that someone has plowed up the earth and empty rows are in place. Suddenly green stalks of corn appear, then beans, then tomatoes and lastly okra plants push up through the soil.
I go past the garden at least twice a week on my way to the grocery store. On my last drive by, I saw the garden awash in various hues of green goodness. The family who lives in the house probably wonders who in the world this crazy lady is who drives slowly by, “green” with envy.
I have learned to just look at pictures in garden magazines, although temptation slips in once in a while. Now I stick to container gardening — only flowers for me. I do have several lemon trees that, after flowering, are laden with baby lemons, which for some reason drop off at a whim. Once I counted 20 little lemons on one tree and later ended up with four ripe fruits in the fall.
I can only thank with much appreciation our merry band of farmers who set up at the market every Thursday on Calhoun Street. Without them we would have a much less delicious and colorless life at our house.
This following recipe is one my grandmother fixed with cucumbers she bought at the Athens, Ga., Farmers Market. My grandmother did not cook — someone did it for her — but once in a while she surprised us. You will need two cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced. Put them in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (taste as you go), a pinch of salt and two ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the icebox to chill for an hour. You can add thinly sliced onion if you like and a bit of freshly ground pepper.
Dog collars, cat bowls
I have seen lots of postings on Facebook lately about lost dogs and cats. I saw an advertisement for a dog collar that will help you in case Fido decides to wander off. The collar will make your life much more pleasant if this happens to your pooch. If you have access to the internet, you can use GPS to find your best friend anywhere in the United States. The collar can be had by going to www.linkakc.com to order and for more information.
By the way, if you think your cat is a finicky eater, it might be the bowl that it is fed in. Have you seen your cat bat food out of the bowl before eating? Cat’s whiskers are very sensitive, like little antennas, and if they have to eat from a deep bowl, it becomes stressful for them. If you change the size of the bowl to one that is wider and more shallow — even a plate will do — your cat will be much happier.
Celebrating the flag
We just celebrated Flag Day, and I found a few interesting tidbits about it. The colors in the flag were chosen intentionally: red for valor, white for purity and blue for justice. No one acknowledged Betsy Ross for sewing the flag in 1776 until 40 years after she died. We have always had a soft spot in our hearts for her. When the children were little, we took them to Philadelphia. The first place they wanted to visit was Betsy Ross’ house to see how she lived and, of course, the Liberty Bell. By the way, Pennsylvania is the only state that observes Flag Day as a legal holiday.
Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street or at email@example.com.