Midsummer is such a strange time – just like the winter solstice, when you can faintly feel the little flicker of light behind the darkness, here you can sense the dark shadows behind the stark brightness of summer. The garden is still beautiful, even in the middle of summer. This year it has been the fullest occupation of my days, and i have taken care to pull out the dead and dying plants and replant things that love late summer – okra, eggplant, sesame, basil, hot peppers, Seminole squash, cow peas, marigolds, celosia, zinnias, tithonia, and orange cosmos. Everything is blooming and fluttering with butterflies once the dew has dried in the morning. I am still re-mulching paths and weeding, although usually i have given up on it by now and i let the jungle fully take hold. This year is different, because whatever you might think of what is happening to the world, I am very sure it will not end up being prosperous except for a very few, and I will not let my family go hungry. The weather has been so hot, I can only work in the early morning or the evenings, and i wrap ice in a dish towel and wear it under my hat, where it leaks coolness into my eyes. The cooler I am, the better and faster I can work – last week it was so hot, every little bit of exposed skin counts towards cooling, and I felt like I couldn’t bear wearing my usual long work pants, so I ended up gardening in my underwear (with a sunshirt and hat on – I am vain enough to preserve the see-able parts of my complexion!). I love living in the middle of nowhere and being able to garden in my underwear if i want, (and this is why no one should show up without calling first!!!!), but I ended up with the WORST sunburn/tan lines on my legs! I can’t even remember ever having my legs get sunburnt before! So I’m sweating in leggings again. One of my projects this summer was to trial three varieties of millet and one new kind of sorghum. They are both grains I like to eat, and i find myself buying them. The sorghum did very well, and has been easy to process by hand. The millet was more difficult, but i think it would work well in our threasher. I didn’t have enough to make it worth trying to reattach the frozen up, rusty exercise bike to the thresher, but I managed to get it done by hand while watching episodes of Black Butler with Rose sitting inside in the AC during the scorching hot afternoons. (It almost makes you want to sell your soul to a guy who can fight off the Italian mafia with cutlery, make the perfect cup of tea, solve murder mysteries, and still have dinner ready on time, even if he does have evil red eyes.) One of my favorite things to make with millet dumplings. They are so easy and tasty. FOR THE CURRY: 10 small eggplants, diced (or 1 large one) 1 onion,sliced Several hot or sweet peppers sliced 1 smallish edible gourd or zucchini 10-15 okra pods Butter, chicken fat, or other oil 2 garlic chives, white and green parts 1 cup tomato sauce 1 tablespoon grated ginger 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon ground coriander 2 teaspoons turmeric powder A pinch of cinnamon Chopped holy basil 2 quarts of broth or water Salt and pepper to taste 1. Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Fry until they pop. Add onion and peppers and stir fry. 2. Add chopped eggplant, gourd/zuchini, and okra, ground coriander, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper. 3. When the vegetables are soft, add the broth or water and tomato sauce. FOR THE DUMPLINGS: 1 cup finely ground millet flour 1 teaspoon salt Water 1. Mix the salt and millet flour together. 2. Gradually stir in just enough water to make a stiff dough. 3. Pinch off little bits of dough and roll into balls the side of large grapes. 4. Drop balls of dough into boiling broth. Cook about 10 minutes. You can pull out a dumpling and cut it in half to see it is dry and powdery in the middle, or cooked all the way through. Stay cool!