Summer Musing

Posted by L. Woodrow Ross on August 5, 2023

The final days of summer are upon us! A gardener and nature lover shares recipes and musings to inspire appreciation of the season.

As the peak gardening season begins to taper off, it is a time of reflection. Also, it is time to decide how we can use the dwindling supply of vegetables to the best end. Here are some thoughts on these topics that may be of benefit to you.

Utilizing Small Remnants of the Summer Harvest

We are firm believers in the old adage of ‘waste not, want not.’

As the summer harvest begins to dwindle, we are often faced with the question of what to do with the small quantities of vegetables.

As recently as two days back, we had surplus tomatoes, a small amount of okra, potatoes and onions, and not wanting to waste them, we came up with a unique option.


First, we heated a pan of water to the boiling point and placed the tomatoes in the water. Soon the skins began to split, and they were dipped out and placed in a sink of cold water. 

The cores and skins were removed, and they were reserved overnight in a covered bowl.

A pound of frozen deer burger from last season was placed in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.

The next morning, the deer burger was browned in a large stew pot. Onions were added to sauté lending their flavor to the soup. Potatoes were then added, along with a little water that contained two dissolved beef bouillon cubes, and allowed to cook to tenderize them. After that, carrots, cabbage and celery were added.

When the mixture was fully cooked, the tomatoes were added. The heat was lowered to a slow simmer, and the mixture was allowed to cook slowly for a couple of hours. Then it was removed from the heat and allowed to cool until it was lukewarm.

The mixture was then ladled into quart jars, leaving a couple of inches of head space for expansion. We used wide-mouth Mason jars and applied plastic lids, as these jars were moved to the freezer for preservation.

Of course, we reserved a portion for immediate consumption.

When we make vegetable beef (or venison) soup, we often make more than enough for one meal and have some to freeze.

A quart may be removed from the freezer, placed in lukewarm water to defrost, and then heated. It makes a tasty lunch with minimal effort.

The next time you end up with an odd assortment of vegetables, consider this option. Not only do you make good use of small amounts, but it provides a great meal.

Summer Sounds

As we reach late summer here in the South, we often hear the sound of cicadas (family Cicadidae, order Homoptera) at night.

In the days before the widespread availability of air conditioning, screened windows were left open, and night sounds of these and other insects would lull us to sleep.

We were also more aware of the wonderful scents of indigenous plants and invasive species, such as honeysuckle, that were so widespread.


We are at that point in the summer now, and in addition to the sounds of cicadas, we are beginning to observe the shells attached to the trees.

The insects molt, and the shells split on their back, allowing the insects to emerge from the discarded shell.

The legs of the shells are still anchored to the trees and are a vivid display of the miracle of the metamorphosis of these unique insects.

Collection of Nature’s Many Wondrous Creations

I must confess I am a collector of many of nature’s oddities. I am intrigued by such things as unique rocks, hummingbird nests, bones or skeletons of small creatures and more.

When I see something that excites my interest, I pick it up and add it to my collection. I am a packrat!

I can’t help but be amazed at the complexity and sometimes the simplicity of nature. There are so many unique things around us if we only look closely to see them.

Tom Brown, Jr. (The Tracker) reveals in his biography of the same name that same burning interest in small details of nature. He said:

"The first track is the end of a string. At the far end, a being is moving; a mystery, dropping a hint about itself every so many feet, telling you more about itself until you can almost see it, even before you come to it. The mystery reveals itself slowly, track by track, giving its genealogy early to coax you in. Further on, it will tell you the intimate details of its life and work until you know the maker of the track like a lifelong friend."

In his school, he trains students to learn to observe and really see what is around them. What a wonderful gift to be able to open our eyes and see the wonders of nature and God’s handiwork.

His autobiography was written years ago but is still available, and I would encourage all to purchase and read it. It is a fascinating look at a very interesting man and his perspective on life.

He also authored many additional books about tracking, survival, nature and other interesting topics.

May you enjoy and relish the final days of summer!

From City Slicker to Self Sufficient eGuide

L. Woodrow Ross

L. Woodrow Ross lives in upstate South Carolina with his lovely wife Margaret. He has written more than 500 newspaper articles, contributed to Rethink Rural, Carolina Sportsman, Primitive Archer, Palmetto Gills and Game, Rivers and Feathers and other online resources. In addition, he has 41 books on Amazon Kindle: "how-to" outdoor books, historical novels, suspense novels, a suspense novella, an Alaska travel guide, Greater Yellowstone destination guide and more. A 42nd book is in work and focuses on the “Dark Corner of South Carolina and the rampant, illegal “Moonshining” and “Bootlegging” activity of the nineteenth century. Ross is also a primitive/ survival skills instructor enjoying most things involving outdoor sports.

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