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Although the sun is out, it is bitter cold outside with a cutting wind that shakes the old frame house I call my play house—formerly the home of the rice farmer west of Beaumont and formerly my sewing machine shop. Now it houses a quilt frame, lots of thread, my mother’s cedar chest with quilt tops for her grand-children, and several sewing machines. It is also where I have three raised beds for growing vegetables, my backyard being rather too dark.

Today I picked a few leaves of leaf lettuce from my garden. It’s taken me quite awhile to get accustomed to the planting schedule here in coastal Texas. It seems wrong to plant tomatoes in April, and even more strange to plant lettuce in November. Tomatoes are so easy to grow in southwestern Wisconsin, here they are a challenge. But just three okra plants provide enough to share, experiment, and pickle. There’s just something about harvesting your own vegetables.

Mesclun is a popular mix here with many spicy and tangy greens. I like to mix them with regular iceberg lettuce—a fine salad topped with a perfectly ripe avocado from Mexico and a few shrimp. On the other hand, a bowl of soup might be better—there’s plenty more in the garden and it will wait until later this week.

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