Courtney's Thumb

Food Or Flowers?

Photo by Courtney Terry

Food Or Flowers
By Courtney Terry

   The dog days of summer have officially begun. Gone are the cool nights in the 60s and mild sunny days in the 70s, seems like it’s been a while since we have seen either one of those numbers. We are in full swing of the dangerous triple digits and the oppressive sweltering heat.

   Lately it seems to be worse, most likely to be blamed on the mean ‘ol drought all over the state. Many of our ponds are disappearing, revealing sunken canoes and cracking pond and lake beds. Rumor is this is the 3rd worst drought in Texas history.


   News Flash: It’s not over yet! I would recommend not putting a label on it until we receive copious amounts of rain and the danger of fires and the starvation of wildlife and livestock are no longer an issue.


Photo by Courtney Terry

   I bring this up since this week I have had to make the decision of what will receive the water it so desperately needs. Of course the horses and dogs take top priority and since the yard is a nice crunchy burnt toast color it would simply be a waste to water it. However, I find myself torn between the vegetables and my precious zinnias. I realize they are “just flowers” but they make me happy, they provide food for butterflies and hummingbirds and they make the yard so much prettier with their blooms in it. I am afraid that they will die from the heat regardless of my every other day soaking.


   My squash plant fizzled last week from the heat, even with the ample water supplied to it. My three large tomato plants produced an alarming 6 tomatoes thus far and since I don’t “love” them, I’m thinking maybe a little less water for them. However, my first “burpless” cucumber plant went wild, for a week or so. It was producing at such a rapid rate that I had to “put some up” as my grandmother would say.


Photo by Courtney Terry/1945 edition of Searchlight Recipe Book

   This was kind of difficult for me since I would usually refer to one of my maternal figures. Since both are no longer present on this earth, I went for the next best thing…a 1945 edition of Searchlight Recipe Book to aid me in my culinary experiment. I LOVE this cookbook! It’s filled with “aftermarket” recipes that my grandmother clipped from newspapers, magazines, and heard from friends and wrote on any blank page in the book.


   Anyway, I found the perfect recipe for dill pickles. Sounded simple enough, considering I had 5 decent sized cucumbers and all the other recipes I’d found called for a ‘peck’ (2 gallons, 8 quarts or ¼ of a bushel) of whatever vegetable was being pickled. The ending result was 3 pint jars packed with garlic, dill, onions, jalapeños, and peppercorns, which was my own special mixture that turned out perfectly!


   Until next time…pray for rain!


Courtney Terry can be reached for comment via email at

Visit Courtney’s BIO page to learn more about her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.