Weeding and More Weeding in an Alabama Garden

I am rising earlier each morning and establishing a routine. Because we’re closer to the equator than we were before, 8 o’clock in the morning feels like noon, so waking earlier comes naturally. This morning I rose, made a pot or yerba mate, did my morning yoga asana, and headed to the hoop house in the garden to weed.

Uzuri working in the hoop house

Most of our work this week has been weeding. I know we’re making progress, though, because the children in the neighborhood say the inside of the hoop house doesn’t look like a forest any more.

Yesterday Yawah, her daughter Uzuri, Little Lotus, and myself headed to the hoop house together for a day of work. We all wore straw hats and smiles. I got to use a hoe for the first time, and, I swear, my arms are going to be well-defined by the time our garden starts to produce. We got so hot while we worked that we drenched ourselves in water and worked some more. We got dirty and muddy and worked some more. I loved it. By the end of our work day about 15 people from the neighborhood had joined us in the garden. Some helped work, some just had conversations, one little lady played piano, and lots of children ran around playing. It was amazing,

Our garden fresh lunch

Today we made a delicious pate from sunflower seeds and wrapped it in romaine leaves fresh from the garden. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

In love, beauty, and light,
Asante George

Unkowingly in the Mississippi Delta

While watching the news in our hotel room last night, I learned that Little Lotus and I are in the Mississippi Delta. I also found out about a music festival happening in Greenwood, Mississippi commemorating the 100th birthday of blues legend Robert Johnson “The King of the Delta Blues”. The festival is free, begins tomorrow, and we are less than 120 miles away! Two of my favorite musicians, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Keb’ Mo’, are playing.

Last night, after learning of the festival, I completely talked myself out of going with arguments like, “I didn’t budget for two extra nights in a hotel,” and, “It’s a bit out of the way.” When I awoke this morning my first thought was, “What am I thinking?! We are very close to the historical home of one of my favorite musicians when two more of my favorite musicians are playing at a free outdoor festival!” So… we are on our way to Greenwood , Mississippi to visit the Robert Johnson museum, at least, and perhaps stay for the festival.

At Little Rock, Arkansas our journey took us from driving on an interstate to driving on a highway. Interstates are much busier and flanked with hotels, gas stations, and chain stores, but by traveling on a highway one gains a true sense of a region. While driving on the open highway I felt as if I has been transported back through time.

I must admit, it’s hard for me not to judge this region for its past. As I drove through Little Rock, I thought of the Little Rock Nine who desegregated Arkansas public schools. While passing large beautiful trees, I thought of Lady Day’s Strange Fruit. Shells of burned houses reminded me of nighttime riders in white sheets. I look forward to exploring the southern U.S. more deeply and rounding out my knowledge of this region that saddens, intrigues, and inspires me. Our trip to the Robert Johnson museum is a great start.

In love, beauty, and peace,

Quiche UnBaking and Booty Shaking

Delish Raw QuicheSaturday, the day of the Merchants’ Cuisine Festival, approaches, and my recipe for a savory raw quiche is getting better and better. Last night my creation was somewhere between raw quiche, pot pie, and pizza. It was so delicious. It contained one very surprising ingredient, which I will unveil next week when I share the recipe for this dish. The crust is so tasty, flakey, light, and simple. I can’t wait to try variations of it like a sweet breakfast bread or some kind of cinnamon roll.

Little Lotus (my five year old daughter) and I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning dancing to old reggae like the Abyssinians and Jacob Miller. We blissed out to African RaceSattta Massagana, and Reason Time. We shook our booties (literally) to Tenement Yard and, one of my dancehall favorites, Murder She Wrote. I must admit I’m listening to Murder She Wrote right now!

My second favorite thing to do in my kitchen in dance! …Just a minute I’ll be right back… Alright, I’ve got that out of my system. Before becoming a fabulous and juicy Mama to a phenomenal and amazing little girl I could be found at the reggae club in my neighborhood several times a week shaking what my Mama gave me. Perhaps that’s why, late at night when any reasonable Mama is probably in bed, my natural urge is to wind-up and dance.

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