Thursday, August 27, 2009
so i grew up on a blueberry and honey bee farm tucked in a sweet little hollow in the ozark hills. arkansas was and is HOT, but when you turn off the paved road onto the soft smooth dirt and coast down the hill past the ancient oaks the temperature drops ten degrees. as a child i only lived in cris hollow for my first 4 years. i returned as an adult living in the converted barn with my eventual husband for 5 years. the combination of vivid memories from my early childhood and those that i created as a young adult tie me deeply to that hollow. and though i have moved 900 miles away my roots are there...the tiny little white roots that you look at and wonder how they create life--tomatoes and basil. on my last visit to arkansas i had to visit the farm and just take in a deep breath--tickle my roots a little. evan and i crawled into one of the old crumbling barns in search of treasure. amongst layers of brown leaves and boxes were stacks and stacks of mason jars--once the stock for my fathers honey venture. i found a number of gallon sized jars and had to bring them back to colorado. as a child my mother kept all of her grains and dried beans in these large mason jars. i remember the colors and textures open on the shelves like specimen in a museum. and art museum for me. with a little reluctance from evan (he knows too well my collections and unfinished projects) we loaded the jars into our little car and headed west. in the spirit of proving myself wrong--i finished this project. suspending votive candles in the mason jars as simple lanterns. we had a good bye summer dinner outside and decorated the table with flickering light. everytime i look at these jar lanterns i think of my mother and that feeling of dropping into the valley and feeling the repressive heat of summer lift and the coolness of cris hollow take over.
as the sun gets a little lower in the sky and we can feel fall creeping in i gathered a few of my favorite people and celebrated summers end with a feast. We had lemon and herb roasted chicken, pine nut studded rice, sweet potato biscuits, fried okra...topped off with cucumber mint spritzers and ended with watermelon granita. mmmmm. summer in a meal.