I felt a little bad for Terry yesterday. He’d worked all day Saturday and had to go in for a while Sunday morning. Typically I kind of don’t bother him Sunday afternoons when that happens, let him watch the race and all. But, there was stuff to be done, that I couldn’t do. Weed whacking, blowing off the driveway, things that involve gas powered machinery and strong shoulders that don’t have torn rotator cuffs. Raking, too. I needed him. And he cheerfully (pretty much, except for a gruff reply of “2:00” when I asked him what time the race came on. It was about 2:30. I immediately felt guilty, but not guilty enough to tell him he was finished and could go.) And so, it all got done and the place looks great, nice and clean, ready for a stiff wind to blow down more pine straw and pinecones and mess it all up again. Ready for a drought to cause the wisteria and oaks to lose their leaves and mess up the patio. I weeded the herb garden, and the patio. Ok. The patio. It’s brick, and the bloomin’ genius that build it thought the thing to do was mortar the bricks, when actually You Don’t Do It That Way. You’re supposed to lay down a thick layer of landscape cloth, with sand on top of that, and set the bricks in the sand, but whoever did this 40 years ago mortared , so it’s like a brick wall laid on the ground but now that it’s 40 years old the mortar is crumbling and weeds come up through, that have to be pulled, one at a time, on a patio that is 80 feet long and 20 feet wide. Because of the mortar, it’s kind of hard to get those weeds up, and often they kind of break off at the roots, ready to come up again.
And because I’m all crazy organic and stuff, I reserve the RoundUp for the Florida Betony in the front yard. Since we actually use the patio practically all the time, I’m not wanting to poison our livers with RoundUp. Don’t get me wrong, I love the patio. It’s like a crazy aunt who makes the best coconut cake and you want to have her around even though she smells funny.
Anyway, now the yard looks less like lazy white trash lives here, and more like regular neighbors you might ask to borrow an egg from. Well, except for the wild dogs.
The really good news is this: When Terry finished all the work I needed done, I offered him a beer and a chance to watch the rest of the race. He requested a mint julep (it was hot, and I make tasty ones), and sat down to watch what was left of it. Only…it was rain delayed, so he didn’t miss any at all! In fact, it was so rain delayed they cancelled it altogether so he ended up watching war movies. I felt less guilty after that.
Rootie’s Mint Juleps:
5 4-inch long sprigs of fresh mint (important, must be fresh. Dried simply won’t do. Neither will mint extract)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Put all this in a pot, bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is all dissolved, then turn off the heat and let it cool. Take out the mint. Now you have minted simple syrup. Wonderful stuff.
In a glass (if you’re tooky you could use a silver julep cup, or a tall skinny glass. If you’re not, use a highball glass.), fill it almost to the top with crushed (important. Crushed, not cubes) ice. Add a jigger (2 oz, or 1/8 of a cup) of your favorite bourbon.
Add another jigger of the minted simple syrup and give a quick stir. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
You can refrigrate the leftover simple syrup for the next time. I am fond of using it to sweeten iced coffee.
I don’t recommend the super expensive bourbon, simply because I don’t recommend that for any mixed drink. It’s a waste of good bourbon when you’re just going to flavor it with other stuff anyway.
Grwing mint is really easy. Go to the plant store and get what you like- spearmint, peppermint, common mint…whatever. Pinch them and smell to see which one you like the best. If you’re going to put it in a pot, make it a pot that’s much bigger than you think you’ll need, as it grows fast and will fill the pot in quickly. If you put it in the ground, plant it in a spot that gets 4-5 hours of sun (morning and evening rather than noon) and will get plenty of water. I like to plant it under a water spigot. It grows and spreads rapidly, so don’t put it someplace where you want a sedate little plant that will stay right where you want it to. It sends out runners. It prefers sandy soil, but will grow pretty much anywhere. Around here it’s a year round plant, but in colder areas will die back in the Winter and come out in the Spring. I’d send you some but I tried that before and apparently drug dogs are fond of it so it never gets where it’s supposed to go. Mint is one of those Must Haves for me. Mom always had it, and we never made a pitcher of iced tea without throwing some in. It’s the first thing to go in the ground whenever we move.