Well it all seems to go back there these days doesn’t it?  I mean, I’m going to have to work through all of these memories and good times associated with my former g/f with you in order to become the “free” bachelor again;  every holiday, birthday, traditional celebration is associated with someone who I thought at the time was my new best female friend outside of my dear Mum.  I know now that I am going to just have to work through it all, so thank you for reading and holding my hands because this will take at least until June, when she laid the “magic is [suddenly] gone” speech on me to get over.  Yet, it has changed me for life – this I now KNOW.

So I thought that going into last year’s growing season, and gleaning that in her old eastern European country she was closer to the land and growing things than me, a “city boy” has ever been, it would be a great idea to have a collective garden and grow some stuff we could eat together and save money on produce costs at the same time!  She happily brought over a plastic tray with some dirt in it, telling me she had started some “salad” in there, and all the while telling me I had to make a “box” as she called it (“planter” in our vernacular) to transfer the young seedlings into once they had sprouted.  I placed it outside my side door and tried not to overwater the shallow thing in spite of a very rainy spring as they tried to grow.  She told me that there was radish, lettuce and something else in there that I cannot remember as I write this tonight, and indeed they did try to grow.  However, almost on-cue as she dumped me, they began to die much to my chagrin.  I believe in stuff like that – our burgeoning “green thumbs” turned purple and the plants withered, so I went back to Home Depot where we had been on one of the best early spring afternoons to plan our horticulture, and copped a pack of hot pepper seeds.  I’ve always used Tobasco sauce on almost everything I eat – it is a tradition in my family – my granddad used to call it “Popeye sauce” when he asked us to pass it to him at the head of the table during family gatherings like Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, I felled a dying tree in my front yard and the kid who cut it down made it into little ‘Lincoln logs” and piled them up agains my Saucer Magnolia tree. For a while I didn’t know what to do with them, and was going to trash them, when one day, upon pulling into my driveway, it hit me: configure them as an open log cabin-style planter or “box” as she had advised.  My neighbor had some good soil from a swimming pool indentation the previous owner of that house had created, and welcomed me to use it.  I thought, “Brilliant!” and now envisioned it as it became.  I transferred the tray my former beloved had left and planted my hot pepper variety as well.  You  know  what happened don’t you?  All  her stuff died and my peppers flourished!  Green ones, Jalapeno, those angry-looking crinkly-devilish kinds that began green but ended up long, slim and firey red by September. 

Frost was long in coming, and so my pepper harvest was very good – they kept growing into early November!  While I harvested them, I put them in a plastic zip-lock bag and froze them as I had researched on the i-net to do.  Soon I had a wicked assortment and they were ready to make sauce out of.  I found out all I needed was (love) and some white vinegar, a pinch of salt, garlic clove, and a secret touch I’ll not reveal here (unless your comments beg me to) whipped-up in my blender and saved in one of those jars that commercial Marinara sauce comes in.  I sealed it in there two days before Thanksgiving in the refrigerator for one month; then took it out and it is in the top shelf of one of my cabinets until late January when, I will take it down and unseal the “fire”!  I plan to make little bottles of it as a present to my friends who want some of my own “57 (birthday) Style” homemade hot sauce.  “On-Guarde!! LOL