Friday, September 19, 2008

 
Fall in New England. We’ve seen the first color here in southern New Hampshire as leaves on the swamp maples are turning deep red and orange. At farm stands the corn is piled high and, after this summer of heavy rain, the ears are long and fat. The other day Fritz said it was time to make New England Succotash.

Eleven years ago when he first told me he made succotash I was polite but wary. Remember always that my mother and her family were English and turned out of their kitchens some of the worst food in the world. Succotash to them was a can of cream-style corn combined with tasteless, cardboardy, canned lima beans. I dreaded their occasional appearance on the dinner table.


Well, Fritz’s succotash turned out to be a magnitude different from what I’d grown up with. To begin, all the ingredients are fresh—corn picked the same day as purchased, ditto the shell beans, combined with sweet cream, salt and pepper and flavored slightly with salt pork. He made up a big batch, some for right away, a lot to freeze for the future. The stuff is addictive—I look forward to it every year.

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Now that the paved road and parking turnouts are fully settled, I was told I would have to fill the areas next to the pavement up to the top of it’s surface with hard rammed earth. Otherwise rain running off the hill, all the way down to the bottom of the road, will wash out the crushed rock base and undermine the edges of the road, which will begin to collapse. I’ve been working for about a week.


At five hundred feet in length, with two parking areas, the amount of road edge to be filled is probably 1250 feet. The earth is coming from a big pile that was dumped along the route that would become my road a couple of years ago after it had been excavated out of a field that was to become a parking area for Fritz’s Center. It’s a dense, part clay soil that packs very hard and should resist washing out.


My process is to dig earth out of the pile with a pick ax, shovel it into nine five gallon plastic buckets, load them (estimated weight fifty pounds each) into the jeep, pour them into the trough by the side of the road, stomp it down hard: approximate length of road edged 25 feet. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Yesterday as I was stomping, the sailors’ clomp dance from Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman was going through my head, which should give my friend Jim a smile and maybe convince my beloved that opera does have its uses.

I’m trying to do 100 feet, minimum, each day. I don’t think it’ll all be finished before we leave on vacation, but most of it should be, including all sections most vulnerable to erosion.

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A sign of good common sense out there, somewhere. Would that there were more of it.

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Starr, nested in Fritz’s T-Shirt basket.

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The Wit and Wisdom of George W. Bush AND Dan Quayle

<- I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here.

-> Mars is essentially in the same orbit . . . Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.

Comments:
I'm digging that sign....
As for the fall color, I spotted six trees on the hillside across from the beach the other day as I was relaxing. Tis the season!
 
i miss the fall; I hear New England falls are the best.

When we make succotash we use edamame rather than lima beans; try it some time.
 
Suffering succotash, that looks good!
 
ah, fall in new england--i'm gonna have to experience that one of these days. post some pictures over the next month or so for us seasonless southern californians, would you?
 
Michael--I have never to my knowledge seen edamame beans in our markets here. where do you go to get yours?

Rick--it's really excellent. He's a simple but very fine cook.

mkf--I promise but we may be out of country vacationing in Europe at the height of the color. But I will post pictures of whatever color we have the day we get back.
 
we get ours frozen from Fry's, which is owned by Kroger if i am not mistaken.
We enjoy edamame; we don't care for lima beans!
 
That succotash sounds yummy!!
 
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