Clark Hollow Ramblings: Hot-weather garden and the beach

I hope your garden is looking better than mine. I hate it when the hot weather gets here and all the beautiful, green and growing vegetables just say, that’s enough, I’m done.

We have canned beans and tomatoes and a little tomato juice. We put a few small packages of lima beans in the freezer. The white potatoes are sitting in the cool, dark basement, to be joined in the near future by the sweet potatoes. I need to get them out of the ground before the first frost comes and kills the vines, but I think I still have a little time for that.

I ground up all the corn stalks and worked them back into the soil. I will do the same with the tomato vines when they are finished, and, from the way they are looking, it won’t be much longer.

We did have one pleasant surprise. We have had two Concord grape vines growing and maturing for the last several years, but with no grape harvest to speak of. This year we did a little better job of pruning them, and I built an arbor for the vines. We have been able to make about a dozen pints of grape jam, which is really good on a hot, buttered biscuit or pancake.

We left the garden and yard alone for a week and had a great time in Chincoteague and Assateague with the entire family. There are 10 of us now, and we fill up a pretty good-sized house when we all get together. The grandkids love playing with their cousins, and the weather cooperated. We had one morning with a little rain, but that was a good time to check out some museums and shops.

The over-sand area where you can drive your four-wheel-drive vehicles was only open one day while we were there, but we took advantage of it and had a great day at the beach. A nor’easter had blown in about the time we got to Chincoteague, so the fishing wasn’t the best, but we were able to drown a few worms and minnows. The fishing picked up towards the end of the week, and Jason caught some nice croaker in the channel.

With the possible exception of getting a bit too much sun on my feet and lower legs, it was a great time, and I look forward to going back again next year. On the weekends, however, Chincoteague is beginning to look a bit like Ocean City or Virginia Beach. It definitely has been “discovered” by a lot of people. Still, it is a good place for a family with kids to go and enjoy the ocean.

I should remind those of you who go to the Methodist churches in Flint Hill, Willis Chapel and Sperryville that this coming Sunday is a fifth Sunday, and there will only be one service at Willis Chapel, at 11 a.m., followed by a covered-dish dinner. If you want to meet some good people and hear the good news, come to the chapel and bring a covered dish. You won’t be sorry, and it is a great time to count your blessings and put in a good word for those who need our prayers. Hope to see you there. God bless.

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