Currently viewing the tag: "Summer"

by Maxine Troxell

It’s summer and picnic time.  What better food is there for a picnic than fried chicken? This recipe is a family recipe that I have used many times.  It’s a simple and easy recipe for great fried chicken.

Southern Fried Chicken


Chicken pieces  

1 cup milk         

2 beaten large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour            

2 tsp. black pepp 2 tsp. garlic powder   

2 tsp. paprika    

1 tsp. salt                      

1 tsp. poultry seasoning


In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, garlic pepper, salt, paprika, and poultry seasoning.

In a separate bowl, mix beaten eggs with milk and set aside.

Place chicken pieces in the first bowl, then in the egg mixture, and again in the first bowl (flour mixture).

Fill up your deep fryer (deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven) with peanut oil (or frying oil of your choice) and preheat to 350°F. Carefully add the piece of chicken to the deep fryer. Fry until golden brown, turning every few minutes. You will need to fry in batches, so you do not overcrowd the fryer.

Drain on paper towels. And serve it with hot sauce.


by Valerie Nusbaum

Summer is right around the corner, and that means that, soon, we’ll all be wanting to wear cooler, lighter, skimpier clothes, and (dare I say it?) bathing suits. Years ago, when I was a younger lady, I and all my friends would have spent the entire month of April trying to get our bodies in shape so that our bikinis would cover what needed to be covered and showcase the rest.  That was then.

Nowadays, we’re encouraged not to put emphasis on being thin or toned, and we’re told that we should appreciate all body types.  A healthy body image is a good thing. I’m not knocking that at all. Women are more than a set of measurements, and we should be allowed to be comfortable in our own skins no matter how stretched out or wrinkly those skins might be. (I’m talking about myself here, OK? Don’t go writing any angry emails to The Banner.)

With all that being said, I honestly don’t feel my best, health-wise, when I’m carrying a few extra pounds. My energy level is lower, and I don’t feel comfortable if my jeans are tight. I’m not worried about fitting into a swimsuit, though. It’s been years and years since I even bothered to buy one of those. I would buy one if I spent a lot of time at the beach or the pool, but when I go to Ocean City, it’s not for swimming. I walk along the beach, but I don’t do a lot of sitting out in the sun.

Anyway, I’ve gotten way off topic here, as I’m trying to explain how this conversation got started. I mentioned to Randy that I planned to write about getting in shape for wearing more revealing summer clothing, and that I might suggest some dos and don’ts, but I was worried that I might come off sounding as though I were fat-shaming others. We women need to support each other and not be judgmental.

Randy very seriously looked at me and said, “In this day and age, you have to be so careful what you say about anything. I’m even afraid to use the term “slow cooker.”

At first, I thought he was joking, but he was serious. I asked what he meant, and he said the word “slow” can be a slur and he wouldn’t want anyone to be offended by it. I told him that if he felt concern, he should refer to the slow cooker as a “crock pot.”

“Well, that’s a whole other can of worms because “crock” can be an insult, and “pot” means a lot of other things.”

This conversation was getting sillier by the second, so I asked Randy, “When, exactly, would you ever be talking about a slow cooker in a conversation anyway?”

I had visions of him exchanging recipes with his friends, Wayne, Frank, and Bill.

“I like looking through that Taste of Home magazine your mom saves for us. I like to search for the hidden object each month, and sometimes I come across a recipe that looks good. A lot of them are made in a slow cooker,” was his reply. I asked him if he wanted to try cooking something in one of our crock pots, and he looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

In an effort to change the subject, Randy said, “This whole thing about summer clothes and summer bodies is not the issue at all, and you know it. It’s the shoes that drive you crazy.”

What can I say? He’s correct.  I hate to see warm weather get here because people start wearing sandals and flip flops. While some folks have foot fetishes, I have an aversion to feet, particularly toes.  It runs in my family. We think feet are gross—all feet—even our own.  My cousin, Lou, says that some feet look capable of snatching dinner out of the pond. Randy doesn’t like feet, either. Some feet are like a train wreck: bunions, corns, callouses, and nail fungus, not to mention hammer toes and all those other gnarly toe ailments. No matter how badly I want to look away, I can’t seem to do it. But that’s my problem, not yours. Feet are just plain nasty. I need to change the subject now before I gag.

I’ve thought it over and my advice for getting in shape for summer is this: Take care of yourself and be as healthy as you can be.  Find clothes that make you happy and put them on. Go places and do fun things. Be comfortable and make your own style. You should wear any shoes you like, as long as they’re not dangerous. Just, please, don’t see me out in public and shove your feet in my line of sight. I’m sure they’re very nice, but I don’t need to see them. And give yourself a pedicure once in a while. I’ll be praying that colder weather (and boots) comes soon.

Christine Schoenemann (Maccabee)

A Tribute to Summer

As I write this, I am told this is the last warm day before the first frost, or so the weather forecasters are predicting. I am exulting in the sun and the warmth, but my heart grows a bit melancholic knowing of the impending freeze. Today, the wild asters are blooming profusely here, and thousands of bees are humming while hard at work storing up nectar and pollen for hibernation. I know that in a couple of days, after the frost, many flowers will be dead. However, if it is not a hard frost, some wild asters will continue to feed the bees right on through October. Also, about this time, box turtles are thinking about digging into the soft soil of the forests, soils which will be as hard as a rock all too soon. Migrating birds are congregating for the flight further south; many have already left. And my doors are mostly closed to keep in the warmth. We humans are all in the midst of the change from light clothes and jackets to corduroy pants, heavier coats, hats, gloves, and boots.

I love the song by Jean Ritchie called “Let Go of Me Summer.” Her words, and the haunting melody, capture the feelings many of us have at this time of year. I hope to sing it soon, if only to myself and the gardens I love. It is what I call a seasonal song. Most native indigenous tribes around the world had spiritual songs about the change of the seasons and, in fact, songs for daily changes from sun up to sun down. The birds certainly have no trouble singing at appropriate times, and so I know that I am no different. I will sing this song to strengthen my heart against the cold front and the losses that follow. I will sing it out to the valley, to the garden that was so abundant this year, and I will sing it out to the memory of open windows and doors and the easy flow of bodies from house to the gardens.

However, I will also enjoy the refreshing difference which this change brings. The trees are already putting on quite a show, and the cooler air is most welcomed. Indeed, the gardens, as well as the gardeners, deserve a much-needed rest. Finally, we have time to write those letters or that book; do some cross-stitching or woodworking; cuddle up by a warm wood fire on long, cold nights; or clean those places we neglected while we were out in the garden growing our crops and mowing our lawns. Preparing for the holidays will take priority in many of our lives, though it can also become a crazy time. I suppose the important thing is to always have a thankful heart and to do our part in creating love and joy in the world, no matter the season.

Well, I must soon stop typing and get outside into this glorious day. There is still work to be done. My house plants that have benefited from being out under the arbor need to be brought in before the frost, as well as any tomatoes lingering on the vine. Even though I planted my garlic on time, I still have not planted lettuce, spinach, parsley, tah tsai, and radish seeds in my cold frames. Once those seeds are planted, French intensively, Indian summer warmth and regular sprinklings will get them off to a good start. Then, as in many years past, I will have my salad greens through the cold weather. It is amazing how well cold frames work (that is another subject for another article).

I will leave you now with another verse of that wonderful song by Jean Ritchie. It reflects a sentiment that runs deep in the soul of many a person, and cuts to the core of what is precious in life.

“Let go of me summer, let go of me please. I love your slow music, I love your green trees. But I’ve miles for to go now and promises to keep, so let go of me summer, let go of me please!”

Enjoy the season, whichever one is upon you!

Christine is a Master Habitat Naturalist in the State of Maryland and is available for consultations as to how to make your property—no matter now small—wildlife and wildflower friendly. She can be reached at