Gardens and Beer

I love pickles! I love cucumbers! Yep, I like them even before they become pickled. Even though I buy my pickles from the store, same as my cucumbers, I am aware that there is nothing like home canned pickles or a cucumber fresh from the vine.

John brought home some home canned pickles a few months back. They were gone in days and it has taken me this whole time to accept the taste of a store bought pickle again. On Sunday we decided to go visit his cousins, the very people that made the yummy pickles. Jamey and Carol have a fantastic place, an exceptional garden, an exquisite stock of all types of canned items and a refrigerator stocked with what would make a craft beer lover weep with joy. We had an absolutely awesome afternoon, there I used that word again, so you know it must have been significant.

The day started with a tour of their garden, and all I could think was that they needed to visit my parents’ garden and vice versa. I asked Jamey if she had researched gardening, I mean, seriously, I couldn’t grasp how they did all of it. She just smiled at me like you do at someone that has said something really stupid. “This is part of being raised by a Hodge.” In my defense, John didn’t receive this gene, his brother did.

Over our 30 years of marriage we have had only a handful of gardens, this year we did some container planting with the leftovers I had purchased for the library. It has sparked an interest for us, after visiting his cousins, the flame started to glow, then I had dad show me his garden last night and for me a bonfire is roaring. It is too late for me to go crazy this year, but I have already been visualizing next year. I am pretty sure I will be doing some research; the knowledge didn’t come naturally to me as it did for Jamey. I have a few great resources for my research, Jamey, Carol, my mom and dad, my mother-in-law, and, oh yeah, the library.

Our gardening section is one of the areas that we have added markers that make it easier to just browse the shelves for what you want. Garden is the heading with the following divisions; farm, permaculture, orchards (did I mention that Jamey and Carol also have fruit trees?), crops and ornamental. I understand the basics, but after visiting my dad’s garden last night, I think there might some be some other cool things to try. He has a “wicking” set up for his cucumbers, and, yes, it is pretty wicked, insert winky face or maybe a groan.

At our Sunday visit, they were canning salsa. We stayed long enough to sample the finished product, name said product, and oh yeah, enjoy some sampling from the before mentioned refrigerator. The first sample was a Dill Pickle Sour beer, remember my first sentence? It was sooooo good! It was followed by a variety of beers, including stouts, another sour, IPAs and a shandy or two. Remember these are the people that ruined store bought pickles for me, well, all the beers we tried, were all bought on “Craft Beer Vacations,” if I want another Dill Pickle Sour I will have to travel to Texas. As we discussed craft vs. domestic, I had to mention a library book, John flat out called me a nerd at this point. He isn’t wrong. The Lager Queen of Minnesota by Ryan J. Stradal is a must read for any craft beer lover. Although the book is fictional, it accounts the birth of the “light” beer, a fascinating story that should inspire all beer lovers to visit Bee’s Knees for their next drink.

Gardens and beers. I think I have discovered my two new hobbies, no worries, I will keep the second one at an acceptable level.

Upcoming Events: 7/14 Summer Reading Program at 10am, 7/17 Farmers Market 9-noon, 7/17 Saturday Story Time at 10:30am