Happy Father’s Day!

AL JONES WITH UKELELE
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AL JONES WITH UKELELE

 

Today, this post is to honor the memory of my own father who would have been 100 years old this July, and he died 40 years ago this fall at the young age of 60, an early recipient of open heart surgery.

He was an artist – see one of his pen and ink drawings at the end of my brother’s post on London. I have many more of his that are done in the same style.

He was a musician – he accompanied my mother on piano while she played violin. Besides that, he was an accomplished pianist and had a beautiful Welsh voice. He gave up much of his own piano playing time in order to let me practice. The above picture shows him in his teens, playing ukulele. I still have that very same uke.

He was a pastor – a United Methodist minister and still in active ministry when he died. I don’t think that’s the reason I went into the ministry, but it certainly was in my “blood.” His father before him was also a pastor, in true “circuit rider” tradition, shown here with his horse and saddlebags heading out to preach.

M.R. JONES, CIRCUIT RIDER
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M.R. JONES, CIRCUIT RIDER

 

And he was a jokester. One of the many practical jokes he played on some of the old ladies in the church was with a woman who was always picking lint off the shoulder of his suit. One Sunday, he put a spool of thread in his pocket and fixed one end of the thread on his sleeve. Sure enough, she started to pull the thread off, and it kept coming and coming and coming. I’m not sure it cured her, but we had a laugh over that.

I called him “Daddy,” a truly Southern term of endearment, and since he was from the Deep South (Mississippi), it was an appropriate title for him.

Here are a few of my gardening projects that he would appreciate. So many of the foods and flowers I grow are ones that are reminiscent of Mississippi –Pole Beans, for example, and so much more.

I would say that at the top of the list I’d find peanuts! I remember these from the home of my Grandpa Jones (above). He always grew the best peanuts right in his front yard. Here are mine just starting to sprout.

PEANUTS SPROUTING
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PEANUTS SPROUTING

 

In the South, we ate peanuts roasted or boiled or raw, but my favorite way was raw from his stash of peanuts that were hanging up to dry, like these few I harvested here.

DRYING PEANUTS
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DRYING PEANUTS

 

I grew up eating mustards and collards. I still grow as many as I can, and eat them often. So delicious!

MUSTARDS AND COLLARDS
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MUSTARDS AND COLLARDS

 

Then of course, there are the figs! The ones in the South were so sweet and juicy. The two I harvested from this little tree last year were just like I remembered. Looks like I’ll get more than two this year.

WHITE FIGS
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WHITE FIGS

 

I can’t forget the gardenias that are synonymous with the South. In my early marriage (1950s) there was a gardenia bush as tall as the roof by my kitchen door in Jackson, Mississippi. Daddy loved gardenias, too, and sometimes wore one in the lapel of his suit on Sunday morning. So far, I haven’t had much luck in growing them here, but I’ve had a couple blooms show up.

GARDENIA
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GARDENIA

 

With all his talent and humor, not to mention the white hair, I think it’s fairly obvious that this man was the father of my brother and me!

AL JONES-1964
AL JONES-1964

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in the world! To quote an old cliché, “If it wasn’t for you, the rest of us wouldn’t be here.”

A hui hou!

Goobers!


peanut plant
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PEANUT PLANT

Although I am not from the South, my father was born and raised in Mississippi –truly a Southern gentleman. When it came time for me to go to college, I chose to go to Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. I married and had my first two children in that city.

Everyone knew the old Black man who walked the streets of Jackson calling out, “Goobers! Get your fresh goobers!” That’s the name people in the South give to peanuts – “goobers” – and that’s what I had grown up calling them, too.

But that isn’t my earliest memory of “goobers.” As a child, anytime we went to visit my father’s family in Mississippi, we had goobers. I remember my Grandpa Jones pulling them up out in his front yard and hanging them somewhere to dry. I learned to love peanuts in all ways – raw, boiled, salted in the shell, roasted.

One of the first things to go in my new patio was a section for fresh peanuts. Above you can see the sweet little plants as they were starting to grow.

Here is a picture of the first crop out of the ground.


peanuts
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PEANUTS

And of course, who hasn’t heard about George Washington Carver and his many ways of using peanuts?

Such a delicious and versatile legume!

New Life!


As I came out of the house this morning, my eye caught this growth. A branch of ohia that touches the ground, and looks totally dead, is shooting up a lehua blossom. Even if our temperature doesn’t vary more than a few degrees year round, there still is a definite feel of spring this time of year.

Perhaps the struggle for growth in a field of lava creates a shift in perspective. The tiniest bit of green that pokes its head through the black stone is cause for praise and excitement.

While I watered my plants this morning, I took pictures of a few precious keiki (Hawai`ian for babies – and a term we use for new and/or young plants).

One that I am especially excited about is the beautiful Barbados lily I was given by my daughters. http://www.tropilab.com/orangelily.html I’m still trying to find out more about this beautiful plant. What I’ve read so far indicates that it is actually a Hippeastrum Striatum, a variation of the amaryllis. The nurseryman told us that when it dies, a new plant will pop up wherever the flower falls. This seems to be coming true. If you look closely, you’ll see it sprouting up new growth. How many can you count?

In one of my small raised beds mentioned last week, I have a kabocha vine starting to grow and bloom. http://holybasil.wordpress.com/2007/10/05/you-like-kabocha-dontcha/ I really love the flavor of this vegetable. If you check out this website, you’ll see the many ways it can be prepared. I haven’t tried them all yet, but intend to. It’s called “Japanese pumpkin” here by my local friends.

My pink plumeria is starting to bloom. The yellow ones started about a month earlier.

This gardenia is in a container in my patio area, rather than in the ground. But it’s still exciting to see it start to do something. If you look closely (maybe with a magnifying glass?) you can see a tiny bud starting to develop.

The same thing is true of this pepper plant. Somehow the label got lost on this plant after I bought it, but I think I remember that it’s supposed to be hot. I guess the only way I’ll find out is to taste it! (laughing)

I planted peanuts in a little pocket of soil my daughters created for me. They used ohia leaf litter, mixed with compost and some of my “pig dirt” (see last week’s post). You can see the ohia leaves still dropping off. But the peanuts are looking healthy. I remember eating fresh raw peanuts out of my Grandpa Jones’ front yard in Mississippi. Yummy!

There is new growth on my coconut palm. Some of the older leaves have burned edges from the sulfur dioxide in the air (from our volcano), and you can see some spots from the acid rain.

My red banana had a few burned leaves, but it looks like it just might make it.

New growth is very rewarding! Watching my plants sprout and grow is like giving birth to my children again!

Aloha!