And easy recipe suggestions for this tasty delicacy.

Photo by the author on their farm at Phoenix Farms in Bastrop, TX

I discovered one of my favorite vegetables fifty years ago in Arizona.

Arizona is so hot in the summer; traditional cucumbers don’t pollinate well and become bitter once the temps stay over 90+ degrees.

Browsing through a seed rack at a local store, I found a packet with an odd-looking striped green serpent-shaped fruit on the front.

The Painted Serpent cucumber for the win.

In my extensive experience, all the variants tasted the same; sweet and delicious with thin, edible skin.

We ordered most of…


Naturalist. Humanist. Teller of tales. Autodidact. Lover of people, plants, places, and ideas.

Image by M.C. Lloyd. My dad, me, one of my brothers. Alaska, 1958

When I was a child, I listened to the words of Big Wicked Bill and cried for the dog.

Now my heart knows why Stuart Hamblen sang, “Sometimes in the hush of an evening when the winds have grown tired and are stilled, By the fire, I sit dozing and dreaming letting memory bring back what she will…

Trying to write about myself, back through time, my mind wanders; I smell high-bush cranberries ripening in Alaska autumn, creosote bushes after a summer cloudburst, my horse loping through the Arizona desert. The silken feel of a newborn baby nursing at my…


Nine tested crops that will definitely expand your hot weather menu.

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

It seems oddly unfair somehow. It’s July, day after day, the temperature stays over one hundred degrees and the nights are seventy-five and humid.

All I want from my garden is crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and yes, maybe a watermelon.

I’m talking HOT weather.

And no, we can’t grow lettuce outside in the summertime. Now, December, yes. Primetime for greens is in the winter for us down here in the Sunbelt.

I spend a lot of time talking to new gardeners, and…


Childhood monsters of loss, sadness, and pain might hide under the bed.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

I never expected it to be this hard. Possibly, writing a memoir while feeling lonely during the forced isolation of a pandemic is not the wisest choice I’ve ever made. Or, just maybe, it’s given me the time to dig deeper than I might otherwise have done.

“In some ways, writing a memoir is knocking yourself out with your own fist, if it’s done right,” Karr writes in The Art of Memoir.

I was born in July 1953. In August, Alfred Kinsey released his book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. …


5 simple techniques to create a reader persona or avatar.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Have you ever published something and gotten a resounding echo in response? Nobody read your article, the editor rejected your book, or you sold one lonely e-book?

What went wrong? You thought your writing was interesting, structured properly, and your grammar was correct. I’ve had this happen, and it sucks!

I’ve learned to ask this essential question, “Why should my reader care about what I’ve written?”

The answer, “Because I think it’s good,” or “Because I think it’s funny, interesting, or educational,” won’t work.

Next question. “How do I discover what my reader cares about?”

Most of my writing is for business blogs and websites. I must know what my reader is interested in. …


They are easy to grow and simple to cook.

Image by Nandalal Sarkar from Pixabay

What can you plant in the sweltering days of summer? I mean 95 degrees hot and a heat index over 105 F, hot.

One of my favorite suggestions is beans. Noodle beans, yard-long beans, Puru beans, snake beans, Chinese long beans—whatever you call them, they’re a winner in the mid-summer heat.

Their Latin name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis, a word as long as a bean pod. Related to cowpeas and black-eyed peas, they love hot weather.

Last year I wrote an article Explore Exotic & Delicious Vegetables: We’re missing 99.99% of the edible crops. …


This is a tool that really works

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

As a writer, I need to get the best return on the time I invest in creating content. When I work for a client, they expect a maximum return on their investment, and I expect no less when writing content for my own business.

Generally, my content clients provide the keywords they want me to focus on in a specific article, and often they request I include a snippet.

What is a snippet?


And find my older brother leading the way.

Photo by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash

This week on my older brother’s birthday, I will head out to visit him a thousand miles away. I’ll be there in a couple of days, God willing, and the creeks don’t rise, as I learned in west Texas.

It’s hard to believe he’ll be seventy, and I’m not far behind.

I remember a day; it was June in Alaska. The sun highlighted the tender green of the new leaves on the birch…


Post-traumatic stress disorder, generational trauma, unending trauma; where is the hope?

Photo by Aljoscha Laschgari on Unsplash

It didn’t start with you—or me. Trauma, that is.

I suspect trauma began with the first human, and its painful results have continued ever since.

My interest began with personal experience: a mother with severe untreated mental illness raised my five siblings and me. All of us were hurt, some more than others.

We had one ambition as children: to never be like our mother. With no example of how to be different, I’ve spent my life learning and healing. And of course, that has led me to a study of trauma and its effects.

Now experts recognize generational trauma is real and are learning to help us break…


It’s a delicious Mexican heirloom, and it’s resistant to insects.

photo by author

Zucchini and summer squash can be prolific, but they’re also susceptible to squash vine borers in much of the United States. So what’s a gardener—or a cook to do?

Let me introduce you to the Tatume squash. Like all of the plants we call squash, this variety originated in Central America and Mexico, where it was cultivated as long as 10,000 years ago. Gradually, the seeds were brought north, and are summer squash is now widely grown.

Instead of dark green zucchini, try Tatume.

Cindy Heath

Nature and learning inspire me. People and writing make me happy. Follow me at: https://medium.com/@cindyheathwrites.

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