The Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are here. Uncomfortable heat and humidity. It’s a given that temperatures will be in the 90s unless a rare “cold” spell brings the mercury down to the upper 80s.

Parts of my yard are thriving. Parts aren’t. Between my big holly tree and my equally big maple tree, the once-green grass is dead. I guess those trees suck up too much water when the hot days of summer set in. Never mind that I have a sprinkler system.

blog dead grass

The cucumber crop is about shot too, but I think it’s time. As least that’s what I remember from my youngster days when I was a professional cucumber picker. The cucumber season ended in early July, and then I began helping with the tobacco crop.

(See recent Telegram column:

I’d rip out these half-dead, yellow vines, but they’re still blooming and I continue to get the occasional cucumber.

blog dead cukes

Other parts of my little backyard garden are thriving. This year’s sleeper hit has to be my okra plants, bought on a whim to replace some pepper plants that had died.

I’ve learned okra are like cucumbers. I need to check my plants every day, or the produce gets too big to be tasty. I’ve harvested quite a bit of okra and have to fry it to get my husband to eat it. I don’t do a lot of frying anymore. It’s time to give some okra to the neighbors.

I’m also proud of my squash, and they’re easier to cook. I simply put a little olive oil in a sauté pan, slice up the squash, and fry/simmer until the vegetable is kinda mushy. Just like my mama used to cook it, except she probably used a few spoonfuls of bacon grease to get things started instead of olive oil.

blog cooked squash

I haven’t spent all of July monitoring my yard, however. This past weekend, I attended an intensive writing workshop.  Intensive as in sit in a classroom from nine to five. Along with some tips for writing fiction and helpful critiquing on a piece I submitted, I also learned there are a lot of smart, gifted people who are serious about the craft.

Blog Writing Workshop

Can you find me in the picture?

As the dog days of summer continue, maybe I’ll just stay in my air-conditioned house and get as serious as this crowd is about writing that great American novel.


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