About Mary Ann

Kitchen Keepers is a blog for sharing good memories, good stories and good recipes. I have been asked to record family recipes which have been favorites for many years, adding to their story every time they are prepared and enjoyed as well as those newcomers which have their own story. Since I believe growing and preparing your own food is not only a pleasure but an art which is worthy of passing on, I am pleased to begin. Gathering around our table has been so much more than providing physical nourishment for me. For as we gather, whatever the table shape may be, we form a circle, a place of conversation and knowing and caring. Expressing our gratitude for the provision of food and family, giving thanks for bread and baker, we enter a sacred space. .

Color of Autumn

OrangeZinnia

Grandma called them Old Maids.

Grown by her back porch,

coming inside to bunch in a Mason jar

or dry for next year’s seeds.

She let me pick the ones I wanted.

I loved them because they were pretty.

In our back yard is a row of tiny ones,

smaller than Grandma’s Old Maids,

more color in our flowers than our leaves

in South Texas Autumn.

Nora picks this one for me.

She loves it because it is pretty

Surviving

Globe Amaranth, Gomphrena

This flower is small but you almost never see just one or two plants. They have visual impact because they are usually seen massed together in a flower bed. That could be because there are so many seeds in a bloom not much bigger than the end of my thumb. Every petal becomes a seed. I once had Joe stop by a road for me to collect a couple of flower heads because that particular patch was a variety called Strawberry Fields – bright red pom poms waving in the sun.

It may be a stretch, but as I held this flower my granddaughter picked, an odd comparison floated up in my mind. I recently read in a morning quiet time the phrase “sturdy faith.” The words stuck and I have frequently considered what it means to have that quality, so necessary in a world of confusion and uncertainty.

Thrives in heat and does not need pampering.

Blooms nearly nonstop

Good for cutting and drying to share in many ways.

Attracts butterflies, adding to our garden’s beauty.

Harvesting promotes flower production.

Easily reseeds.

                                                                                 Survival strength!

 

 

 

After the Storm

Photo copied from FaceBook request 9/13/2017

Fort Bend County and the wider Houston metroplex news continues to zoom in on the destruction left by Hurricane Harvey and subsequent river and reservoir floodings. Heartbreaking stories are shared in media and personal conversations. In the aftermath, churches like our own, schools, gyms, fairground and convention centers shelter thousands and thousands of displaced, hurting people who have nothing and need everything. Donation centers dot our streets and neighborhoods. Food, clothing, and personal items were immediately necessary and as people have been allowed to reenter the warzone images of their sodden former homes, they need cleaning supplies and building materials plus the physical presences of helpers to demolish and repair.

In our immediate area, schools finally started this week and boxes that had contained sorted shoes quickly emptied. One friend who is volunteering at NRG center in Houston, reported a woman left wearing mismatched shoes because that was all that was available in her size and she had to have shoes.  Friends who live just down the road from us tore out sheetrock, gutted their kitchen, and were thankful they had moved photographs to the second floor before they evacuated. A response to their story was sad, reporting  they had put their wedding album and all family photos on top of the desk before they left. But the desk floated and the photos are gone or destroyed.

The photo above is from Rockport, down the coast from us, closer to Corpus Christi, where Harvey made landfall and left shattered homes, businesses, and dreams. They do not even know when their school can start because they are closed indefinitely. The picture made me think of the last time we were there – All our family at the time stayed in small cottages for a few days. There was kayaking, picnics, fishing – fun together. I then thought how the many who return to a picture of homes so sadly changed.

There will be more stories and hard work ahead in restoration. It will take alot of helping and alot of time. Once again, I thank God for the helping. For the hope.

“Beneath our clothes, our reputations, our pretensions, beneath our religion of lack of it, we are all vulnerable both to the storm without and to the storm within.”

“We are all in the same boat, on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”    GK Chesterton

Together

wind. rain. relentless pounding as water rises

this hurricane is the worst ever they say

Nora calls the rising water “the ocean”

forever my picture of the storm

will be my son taking his daughter’s hand

as they hold umbrellas high

facing this together

 

Hurricane Harvey made landfall late on August 26, 2017, spinning and spewing and stopping over Houston and surrounding areas, including our home in Fort Bend County. Four days later, we have clear skies and sunshine for the first time. Our home is dry inside although thousands of homes are not and many thousands of people are displaced, rescued, evacuated. Businesses and hospitals are closed. Many roads are impassable. And here in our community, the Brazos river is flooding to crest 2 feet beyond its record. In the days to come, there will be more massive flooding. There is peace in this storm. There is this picture of tender love and protection. There is togetherness.

Deep Roots

 

 

Magnoilia trees and blossoms are among my earliest childhood memories.  Like pine boughs and gardenias; if I close my eyes, the fragrance brings a surge of memory and story. Summertime in this part of Texas brings magnolia blooms in many yards, and even without closed eyes, I remember. I am thankful for roots!

“Like the magnolia tree,
She bends with the wind,
Trials and tribulation may weather her,
Yet, after the storm her beauty blooms,
See her standing there, like steel,
With her roots forever buried,
Deep in her Southern soil.”― Nancy B. Brewer, Letters from Lizzie

Leave Room

heart petals unfold

opening to mystery

leaving room for new seed

 

“Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the ploughshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring.”

Henri Frederic Amiel