ABOVE:  Mossy Swing In My Backyard Garden. 

We are breaking records in Central Illinois for heat, heat, heat.  Not a “summer person” by nature, this one is  pushing my tolerance levels.  It accomplishes nothing to complain, so I am trying to embrace the season in good humor.  I go out after dusk to water, weed and harvest.  A bit of time in the porch swing or garden swing above is even pleasant after the sun begins to go down.  The garden is tranquil in low light.

The zucchini, green beans, rhubarb and strawberries [ever-bearing] are still producing, as long as I keep them moist.  I am grateful for a small electric pump hooked up to an old farm cistern to do the watering job.  If the public water system were my only option, the cost would be prohibitive.  So, as long as there is water in the cistern, I have much to be grateful for.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, below is a recipe for zucchini muffins that is very good, and a bit on the healthy side with walnuts, raisins and coconut oil. 

When life gives you heat and drought, make muffins!  And stay in the air conditioning…


Beat together 2 cups sugar,1 cup virgin coconut oil, 4 large eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. 

Sift together 3 cups unbleached flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Add to batter and mix until well-blended.

Stir in 2 cups grated zucchini, 1 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 to 1 cup raisins.  Fill paper-lined muffin pans 3/4 full of batter.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly brown.  Cool on racks.  MAKES:  24 to 30 muffins. 

These freeze very well.  The batter can also be refrigerated after preparing in order to bake them in batches.


About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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