A Pictoral: How I Spent My Summer Staycation

 Yesterday I wrote about what we can do to contribute to making our towns and cities a better place to live. Today is completely different;  I wanted to share with  you what I’ve been doing to contribute to making my own life and family a better place to live. I’ve been staying close to home this summer, trying to be on hand as a gopher caregiver to my husband while he’s going through his cancer treatments. Normally, our summers are filled with camping, gardening, hiking, and playing with the band…


But this summer, we only got in a quick trip to Florida back in May…


And an even quicker trip to Ohio to visit my ‘grandbabies’…


before he was diagnosed with the Big C. So while Michael goes through the healing process, I’ve been growing and preserving the very best food  I can to help him win this fight, because I’m a firm believer in the adage…


I’ve been whipping up some ‘Farmaceuticals’ for him to eat once he can enjoy food again. Like many of our modern medicines, all of mine come from the Earth. In my kitchen farmacy, I transformed  just-picked zucchini…


into salted, dried chips…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

that are great for munching on right out of the jar


Cabbage was fermented from this form…


To this chow chow


My heirloom Hopi Orange Lima beans started out small…

bean tower 2


Then after the pods were dry…


I waited until a friend came over 😉  and while chatting over a cup of tea, I casually set the bowls of beans on the table, and they got shelled out in no time flat! Then the beans were stored in jars until they’re cooked this winter. The fresh beans aren’t nearly as pretty as these dried ones, but they both taste awesome with some of that chow chow on them!


Recently a friend uttered those three special words we all love to hear: LOCAL, ORGANIC, and FREE. So I picked her concord grapes, and loved transforming them from this…

grapes basket

To these Christmas gifts jars of jelly. Thank you Sara.


This month, as the tomatoes have ripened, they’ve gone from the vine right into the jars and will be used in the months ahead as the basis for many pots of soup, pasta sauces, chilis and casseroles. The 50 jars I’ve canned this summer should last a year…IF I only use one jar a week!


Luckily, onions, potatoes, garlic and winter squashes just needed to be stored away in a dark, dry, rodent- proof place…



Drying some of the garlic allows me to keep it year round though…


Old fashioned, plain green beans are Michael’s favorite and recent research shows they can be effective against cancer:


In addition to all this canning, the freezer’s full of berries, chopped peppers, edamame, peas and pesto, with apples and pecans coming in next month. My young daughter once asked:


How did you spend YOUR summer staycation?


9 Comments so far
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Stay-at-home-vacation? I wonder what you would have done if you had decided to spend the summer working hard. And yes, I know, when you are doing what you love, and doing stuff for those you love, work and play are not always distinguishable.

Comment by Anne Armentrout

Wow, have you ever been busy, preparing a bounty for your family and then preserving it all! I hope he’s doing well with his treatments.

Comment by sarasinart

He’s really having a hard time now…the treatments have made him sicker than the cancer. But we can see light now at the end of the tunnel, so that makes it easier to deal with.

Comment by simpleintn

Sam you are amazing! I am sitting in the dark reading this before bed in Daniel Boone State Park on way to Chicago. I am imaging Michael feeling better–hope its true! Warmly, Jacqueline

Sent from my iPhone Jacqueline

Rev Jacqueline Luck

Comment by Reverend Jacqueline Luck

Nope JL he’s not feeling better yet. Today was the worst day he’s ever had but we’re still holding on to the thought that there’s light at the end of this tunnel. He’s on some stronger pain meds and they help, but they make him sleep- a lot. I have LOTS of time to garden and can haha Be safe, be well. Peace.

Comment by simpleintn

I’ve known people who had a real hard time with the treatments. It’s so good for you to be able to see an end to the treatments! I wish him, and you, all the best!

Comment by sarasinart

The part about sitting and chatting with a friend while shelling the beans brought back a memory. We would sit in the yard under a shade tree and break green beans. Most every time, the neighbor lady would come over. Same thing when she was out on the porch, we went over there. Always helping each other. Sweet!

Comment by Karen in East TN

Sweet indeed. These kinds of activities-whether it’s cooking a meal or breaking beans, can always bring people-even strangers-together. When my mom had Alzheimers and was living at an assisted living center, I would take bags of beans to the center and dump them out on a big table in the day room and one by one, those old people, who had broken beans all their lives I guess, would pull up a chair and sit down and begin to break beans with me. Most of them could barely speak and didn’t even know where they were, but they remembered how to do that, and they smiled, and broke beans, and felt useful again. Breaking beans together, or breaking bread together, is a universal way of feeling right with the world, don’t you agree?

Comment by simpleintn

Funny how one’s concepts change as time rolls on. I was a kid at the time and thought breaking beans was ‘hard child labor’! Now I look back and call it ‘sweet’!

Comment by Karen in East TN

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