Archive for September, 2008

Adventures in the Okra Patch

Thursday, September 18th, 2008




            I don’t like okra.  I don’t like it stewed, fried or in gumbo.  It doesn’t appeal to my sense of smell or to my sense of beauty.  However, this year, I planted about 100 okra seeds in the garden.  Each seed came up, and I fancy some of them came up twice.  They each grew well and vigorously.  In a very short time the garden was full of okra that had to be harvested daily.  Not only now but also tomorrow, and on and on.  A family can consume only so much okra.  Neighbors will only take so many parcels of the foodstuff.  Few friends further and further a field, will admit to wanting a sack of okra.  My freezer can just hold so much okra.  It has reminded me of the old joke about the city cousin visiting the county cousin.  The country cousin takes his city cousin to town, to show him off to his friends.  As they get out of the pick up he locks his truck doors.  The city dweller is surprised that he locked his doors here in a country village.  Country cousin explains that this time of year you always lock your vehicle doors to keep the gardeners from leaving a sack of okra in your truck.  There is a lot more truth than poetry in that old worn joke.


            I was sharing my problems with Troy at the Information Center.  He had no solution for the predicament I have gotten myself into.  But it raised a subject for the sweaters sitting around the place to rag on for a while.  There were several suggestions, but none of them wanted to take any okra home with them.  Donald Berry asked the question  “ Have you ever seen any “Longhorn Okra?”  “No,” I said, “But it might be an interesting thing to see.”  Donald invited me out to his place to see his garden and stand of “Longhorn Okra.”


            In a few days I went out 1869 to see Donald and Linda’s, his wife, place.  Wow, what beautiful acres they have.  The Texas flag waved proudly at the gate, which he had left open for me.  The place is well fenced, mowed and trimmed to make any landscaper proud.  His shop is a well-built structure with all the tools in their places and is as clean as a pin.  Donald has the reputation of being one of the best trim carpenters of the area.  Troy says he is the best in the state.  Out back is the garden.  He still has tomatoes, which are blooming, peppers that are loaded, and a stand of most unusual okra.  All okra, if you don’t pick it regularly will grow to large, and tough to eat.  This okra, when young looks and taste just like the regular vegetable. However, “Longhorn Okra” keeps on growing, longer, and longer.  The pods, growing longer each day, have a pleasing curve that reaches sixteen or more inches.  They look just like a longhorn’s horn.  Donald explains you can’t buy these seeds from a catalog, and you must get the seeds from friends and neighbors.  He is growing this crop for his neighbor and friend, Butch Floyd, just for the sake of keeping them available.  He doesn’t have to find a place to get rid of the stuff.  He is just growing okra seeds.


            On the way home, that gave me an idea.  I’ll just grow “Longhorn Okra” seeds, and I will never have to pick it or find someone to give it to.