You might need a little help interpreting the title. It’s “The Way-Too-Late Explanation of Where I’ve Been.” Seeing as how it’s been five months since I last posted–and that last post was a Christmas ad for my books–I figured I ought to touch base.
I’m not really sure where to start. The last time I did any update was in January of 2021, when I announced that Mom’s cancer was back. Never did report about Billy’s heart. The short of it is that, after several months spanning back to 2019, they finally figured out what was wrong and performed an ablation on him to regulate his heart rhythm again. Today, as far as his heart goes, he’s fine.
But he has lymphoma.
So now, Mom’s with hospice and doing amazingly well, and Billy is undergoing chemo. Which means, I’ve been a little bit busy.
Mom is basically doing good, considering she wasn’t supposed to make it beyond six months of them telling her the cancer was back. That was well over a year ago now. Fortunately, according to the doctor, she won’t experience pain unless the cancer lands on a nerve. It hasn’t. She is short-winded, but otherwise, you can’t tell she has cancer. She celebrated her 90th birthday in March. She amazes me.
Billy is doing well enough, I guess. Treatments get to him, of course, and food doesn’t appeal to him. He and Mom both are making it hard to feed them. Mom’s picky, and nothing tastes right to Billy–and if it does, it upsets his stomach.
But when he feels well enough, he’s super productive. It may take him three days to mow the front yard, but he gets it done. He’s always expanding the garden, overseeing the crops, harvesting what he can. He amazes me too.
And yes, we’re harvesting. I know some of my friends are, even now, battling snow and growing their garden plants indoors. But here on my little plot of Texas, we’ve harvested carrots, green beans, English peas, potatoes, onions, and garlic so far. Yellow squash and purple-hull peas are in the works, along with another round of green beans. Yank out one crop, fill the bed with another, fertilize, and keep going. Makes for a busy time.
With Billy so vulnerable to every virus bug going around, we haven’t had much chance to be with the littles, but we did recruit a couple of them to help harvest onions. Chloe and Gabriel love pulling things out of the dirt. I rarely get to keep carrots because Chloe eats as many as she pulls. This time, that wasn’t a threat–neither are fond of raw onions.
Even though they look like a lot, we’ll use every one of those onions. Last year, a friend of ours had a bumper crop of onions and gave us a load of them. Our daughter used several of her gifted crop to make and freeze French onion soup. I tried that too but overcooked the onions. Made a wonderful broth to use as a base for other soup and stew recipes, but as soup goes, eh–not so great.
Instead, I use mine in a relish recipe I got from an aunt in Georgia. Out of all Daddy’s brothers and sisters and their spouses (and there were a lot of them), my Aunt Hazel was the one most famous among the family for her cooking. She kept telling me to try her onion relish, and I kept sticking my nose up in the air because it didn’t even sound good to me. Oh, but when I gave in and tasted it, let me tell you I begged for her recipe. Bless her little forgiving heart, she gave it to me. I changed it a tad to personalize it to our preferences, and I make it whenever we run out–even if I have to use store-bought onions. MSB finds it addictive, especially in chicken salad. I use it instead of pickles, and it’s wonderful. Also great on hamburgers and hotdogs or over cream cheese and served with Ritz crackers.
Linda’s Onion Relish
5 lbs onions, chopped
3 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
5 cups sugar
4 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon each: salt, turmeric, cloves, coarse-ground black pepper.
Make the syrup in a pot, then add the vegetables to it. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for an hour. Pour hot product into hot, sterile jars and top with sterile lids. Makes 10 pints.
Aunt Hazel said there was no need to process the recipe, and I never do. I turn each jar upside down for a few minutes, then set them upright and listen to the glorious popping lids. But if you’re not comfortable with that, then cook the veggies for ten minutes instead of an hour, jar them with the syrup, and place the pint jars in a water bath. Process for 10 minutes.
Anyway, this just touches the surface of what I’ve been doing and where I’ve been, but I think it’s enough. I haven’t written since I finished a novella in early 2021, then the collection I wrote it for went bust. When I find time to write, I try to expand the novella into a novel, and I have ideas to make it a series, but I have no idea whether God is going to bring me back into the business or not. Everything in His time and under His guidance. Right now, He’s guiding me to be a wife and daughter to those who need me, and a grammy to the great-grands when we get to see them. In other words, I have the privilege of just being a woman for a while.
I’ll try to post more often. I’ve been reading some amazing books that, if nothing else, I could report on. Meanwhile, God bless!