Posted on 14 Comments

I Have Been Writing On The Medium Platform

Photo by Mayank Baranwal on Unsplash

It is so easy to write on Medium, the layout is simple

Hello, my WordPress friends.

I have truly missed you all.

It has been an absolute treasure and a pleasure to get to know you all.

I have been missing of late off the platform and here are the reasons why: —

  1. Since the format change I don’t like writing on it as much, so I had been writing on Medium and then copying them over onto WP.
  2. I began writing on Medium in May of 2020 and really loved the platform and its ease of use.
  3. Though it is a paying platform, I did not envision getting rich there. I still don’t. But the ease of use was a really big plus for me.
  4. I had taken a ‘pause’ then I returned in June and the Medium Platform has been getting a lot of my time and attention.

Photo by Hannes Egler on Unsplash

Recently Medium introduced an affiliate link so if anyone is interested in joining, see my link here and at the bottom of the page.

There is a $50 yearly membership fee to join Medium as well as a free membership, you get to choose.

I have a paid membership as it gives me unlimited reads to the numerous and great writings on the platform.


Photo by Merch HÜSEY on Unsplash

Though I will always return to WP from time to time, I find myself here more and more, so I think I will hang here for a while.

I recently began my own publication called Our Souls in Words, I intend for it to be a place where the soul words find flight.

I do hope you come by and visit and I promise to always come by WP to visit too, I will not completely abandon my blog.

I do hope you come by for a visit. 


Pene Hodge is a mom, a nurse, a writer. She writes because she must. She loves people and is committed to sharing and gleaning knowledge for the betterment of all.

If you love reading my stories, you may consider joining with the link below.

Posted on 17 Comments

My Garden Summer 2021

Image credit: Author

This Week in My Garden

Okra

Took my usual morning stroll in the garden.

I’m struck anew how much nature can provide if we are willing to do some of the work.

In the garden this year, I present to you the beautiful vegetables, we’ve grown.

We have a couple of varieties of okra we always grow, but I saw the red ones on Etsy and I just had to get some.

This is the first time for the red okra, they taste just like the green ones of course, but they add such color to the garden.

I love to look at the many variations.

Okra is a favorite of mine. Some people cannot appreciate its mucous content, but there are several ways to substantially reduce it if you cannot tolerate it.

I wrote a previous article about the health benefits of okra. You can check it out here if you like.

Image credit: author

How beautiful is that, such vibrant color.

All organic, well we purchase the soil from Lowes.

Image credit: author

The long okra with the pale green color is one my mom brought back from South America. We grow this each year and it grows very long as you see in the picture.

It is nice and supple not fibrous at all.

I love okra and I enjoy every bit of it. We fry it, steam it, boil it, and when picked fresh from the garden, tastes especially good.

We also freeze enough of it to last until the next spring.

Eggplants

Image credit: author

Eggplants are another love of mine.

I find they like the cooler weather. They do their best work when they are provided with some shade.

Look at the below picture, they were almost twins, seeming to grow from the same flower maybe?

They seem to originate from the same point and are approximately the same size.

Very interesting.

Image credit: author

Squash

Image credit: author

When I was a girl, I did not appreciate the texture of the squash. But with age and wisdom, this is another vegetable I enjoy.

An article I wrote about squash you can find here.

This year we have the smaller Asian variety and as in the picture above a long variety from South America.

This one in the picture above is just a few days old.

Bitter Melon

Image credit: author

These lovely yellow flowers are those of the bitter melon plant.

Also known as Carilla, I have an article about that somewhere as well.

Image credit: author

Sweet peppers

Image credit: author

This summer we did not see our usual return on this investment.

We generally reap much more, this year the harvest is a bit sparse, but we are still thankful.

These are a few of the vegetables we are growing in our backyard.

I enjoy the journey from seeds to the table.

Hope you enjoyed my backyard gardening tales.

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Thank you all for reading and for your support.

Pene Hodge is a mom, a nurse, a writer. She writes because she must. She loves people and is committed to sharing and gleaning knowledge for the betterment of all.

You may join me by clicking the link below.

Originally posted on https://justpene50.medium.com/membership

Posted on 10 Comments

A Time For Everything Under The Sun

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“Home is where our story begins…” — author unknown

Faded dreams –Remnants of a life once lived

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven — Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life is lived in stages

Photo by Олександр К on Unsplash
Photo by Sandy Zebua on Unsplash
A black puppy looking at a pie on the kitchen table.
(see the look on that doggie’s face as he watches the pie). — Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
Dusk on a farm, the light is dim, the sun setting, a tower in the background and some cows settling in for the night.
Photo by William Isted on Unsplash

The Takeaway

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Posted on 3 Comments

Grow Organic Squash — Improve Your Health

Image credit: Author
Long Squash

One of the main fruits we grow in our yearly garden is squash.

A delight, best when cooked fresh!

The variety shown above is one of many we grow in South America. It is also known as Chinese long squash.

Chinese long squash, also called the Opo squash originated in Africa, from there made its way to Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

Long squash usually grows to about 10 to 15 inches in length. Though I have seen it grow much much longer in my native country. I think its length is dependent on soil, weather and care.

When fresh, the flesh is firm and may even be shredded and eaten raw as a salad. versatile enough to be cooked in a variety of ways.

Said to have a cooling effect on the body it is delicious.

Like most squash, it has a mild and pleasant flavor and is a member of the cucumber family.

Upon maturation, the skin becomes hard and even the flesh is rendered inedible.

At that point, the skin can be used to fashion bowls, ornaments and other household ornaments and tools.

A long green squash
Image credit: Author

Facts about squash

As a member of the gourd family, it is a Monoecious Plant.

Monoecious meaning it has both male and female sex characteristics and is completely self-reliant for pollination. With monoecious species, each plant has some flowers with stamens and some flowers with pistils.

The fruit appears first then the flower is seen. As shown in the picture above. Whenever the flower first appears, it does not develop a fruit.

A pungent smelling plant, it contains small white hairs from stem to fruit. Eventually, most of the hairs fall off the fruit but remain on the rest of the vine.

Image credit: Author

You can really see the hairs in this image. The squash has grown considerably in the past two days as well.

Below are pictures of the flowers and those will not bear any fruit.

Image credit Author

Nutrients

Long squash contains several nutrients that are good for your health.

Squash is relatively low caloric content while providing vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins.

It is also rich in fiber to help aid a healthy digestion. The juice of Opo squash has the ability to regulate blood sugar levels.

In Guyana the juice is sometimes consumed as a healthy and refreshing beverage.

  1. A good source of fiber — the presence of fiber serves to aid a smooth digestive experience while removing toxins and waste.

2. Easily digested — helps by reducing gastric acid.

3. Vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy hair and skin— contains vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc among many other vitamins.

4. Helps to maintain normal blood glucose levels — due to its low glycemic index, it does not cause a spike in blood sugar.

5. Improves blood circulation, and aids the prevention of heart disease— The magnesium and potassium present in squash are two very important electrolytes necessary for cellular metabolism. They are an integral part of the cardiovascular system. Vital component of muscular contraction and can have deadly implications if the quantities present are too high or too low.

8. Anti-inflammatory properties — The presence of omega-3 fatty acids, and other compounds have anti-inflammatory effects.

https://www.bing.com/images

Recap

Squash seeds are said to have anti-parasitic, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. They provide protection from tapeworms or other intestinal parasites.

The meat is nutritionally dense with fiber to allow for easier digestion and removal of toxins from the body.

Also contains Vitamins C and A, zinc, antioxidants and many other minerals. Potassium known for its importance maintaining homeostasis, helps to relax the tension of blood vessels and arteries, thereby allowing for lower blood pressure and reducing the workload of the cardiovascular system

Together these numerous qualities improve health, reduce stress on the body and aid longevity.

Finally can be eaten in salads raw and lightly sautéed to preserve its nutritional benefits while being extremely pleasing to the palate.

Posted on 12 Comments

So You Want To Be A Writer?

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

I saw this quote and thought it was so true, I wanted to share it with you all.

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“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of job: It’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”

Neil Gaiman

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Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday.

Posted on 12 Comments

Flowering Beauty

Beautiful oran
Bright orange lilies, with raindrops sprinkled on their petals.
Image credit: Pene Hodge

Besides writing, photography is another dream of mine.

I love taking photos of nature.

So when I awoke one-morning last month to the sound of rain outside my window, I knew what I had to do. Get my trusty phone and head on outdoors.

I began taking pictures of various flowers with the rain drips caught on their petals.

These lilies looked especially beautiful like diamonds sparkled about, enhancing their natural beauty.

So so lovely.

Zoomed in for a close-up or two.

Beauty created for me and you.

Beautiful bright orange lilies sprinkled with rain drops
Image credit: Pene Hodge

Fun facts about lilies

 Orange lilies signify passion.

◉ The lily is the 4th most popular flower across the globe! I must admit they are one of my favorites.

◉ The lily is a flowering plant that belongs to the family known as Liliaceae.

◉ Lily is a perennial plant, which means it can live for three or more growing seasons.

The oil extracted from lilies is said to have skin healing and softening properties.

◉ The oil has been known to work well for cracked and dry skin.

◉ Bulbs of lily contain a lot of starch and they are used as root vegetables.

◉ Humans, some insects, squirrels, and deer sometimes eat wild lilies.

◉ The Chinese believe they can bring good luck.

◉Lilies often come in beautiful vibrant colors.

They are highly toxic to your cats!

Bright orange lily flowers sprinkled with rain drops
Image credit: Pene Hodge
Do you agree,

That …

Rainy day showers make beautiful flowers.

Posted on 11 Comments

Why I Love The Sky

I can often be found with my head in the clouds.

I remember one day I was playing outside, I was about 8 years old. Suddenly I saw what I thought was a large white bird in the sky.

As I looked at it quickly went into the clouds and was gone.

I am unsure of what it was. I would like to think I saw an angel that day. Looking back it was too large to be a bird and birds do not go up into the clouds.

Since that day, I live with an air of expectancy.

I find myself constantly looking up at the sky. You could say I keep my head in the clouds.

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

I admire the colors, textures, shapes, and movement. I wonder at the supreme being that inhabits the space above. I marvel at his created wonders.

The hues of clouds on clear days and on cloudy days just fill me with such awe.

The world, life, flowers, everything makes me acutely aware of the beauty and I am continuously awestruck at this space we share.

I try to see the beauty in all things and most days I find it.

Posted on 10 Comments

At My Grandmother’s Table

An assortment of baking ingredients
The hands of a female rolling dough with a rolling pin
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When I think of the word food, it evokes liquid memories of love.

Memories of wonderful days with my sister and my cousins at grandma’s house.

Food represented love.

Each Saturday my grandmother would prepare to bake fresh bread, pastries, and other treats.

I, along with my sister and cousins would gather at our grandmother’s table. We knew there would be laughter, food, and fun.

Golden rays of sunlight streaming in through the muslin fabric added magic to the dance of grandmother’s hands as she wrestled with the dough. Next, she patted and covered it on a large wooden tray to rest and rise.

The heady fragrance set our taste buds alight with the promise of joy.

Our shiny sun-kissed faces marveled with the wonder of youth as the doughy mixture seemed to come alive before our very eyes.

Photo by Theme Photos on Unsplash

Later, grandma would set the dough into rolls and loaves. We would get small pieces of the raw dough to play with as an artful form of learning.

We would try to make each tiny bread look like my grandmother’s, but ours never seemed to come out quite right.

Next came preparing the oven for baking.

The oven is located in the yard and is a structure made of mud, cow patties (dried cow poop), and water mixed together in a manner reminiscent of an adobe-like structure.

The oven is located in the yard and is a structure made of mud, cow patties (dried cow poop), and water mixed together in a manner reminiscent of an adobe-like square structure.
Image credit: Stabroek News Guyana Newspaper

My grandma would artfully light the oven using the bits and pieces we had collected until they formed red hot bits of coal.

The dough is then placed in the oven and the real magic begins. The intoxicating scent of fermented yeast explodes as heat invigorates the fungi causing its energy to dissipate overpowering the palate of the waiting children.

We eagerly await the opening of the oven door, a signal for the salivary glands to let it all hang out — literally.

The golden goodness is freed from the ovens bowels and presented to the salivating kids.

A female’s hand holding a pan of fresh golden bread rolls. #Food, #Memories
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The heat emanating from the too-hot rolls causes us to change hands constantly, like a clown juggling way too many balls in the air.

We love it warm from the oven as the heat causes the fresh cheese or salty butter to dribble down our fingers as we enjoy this yeasty goodness with some freshly made lime drinks.

Afterward, we would rest in the shade of the veranda, now replete.

The older kids would tell us scary stories until one by one we doze off dreaming of playing hide and seek in the coming moonlight.

Posted on 16 Comments

What We Leave Behind

When sorrow finds us

Recently I lost a very dear family member. A man who loved everyone with all his heart.

A man generous of spirit, one who gave his all to mankind.

A truly evolved soul.

I know I am not the only one who has lost loved ones.

If this current time has taught us anything, the headline should read — “how to survive when you lose big!”.

Many have lost so much, some have lost all they had, while each of us has lost something.

We have lost our innocence in the world around us, our freedom, our sense of security, and familiarity in the way we once lived.

It is safe to say that life will never be the same again

One day, hopefully, a long time from now, we will vacate the house we reside in. The essence of who we are will return to its creator. What we have left behind are just memories.

What will they say about you?

I recently spent some time pondering what remains when we leave this space.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What we leave behind

1. Good deeds

2. How we made others feel

3. Were you helpful and kind

4. How did you spend your time

5. What Motivated you

6. How you used the gifts you were given

7. Did you love your family and friends

Takeaways

We all hope we will be remembered in the most favorable light. We may think that we are doing all things that are good and right. Others may beg to differ.

Take time out to review your life with honesty. Give someone you trust and respect the freedom to give you an honest life review.

What will you be remembered for?

Keep in mind what legacy you want to leave behind. You are the author, there is still time to change the trajectory of the narrative.

You can make the decision of how you want to tell your story. No one else has lived your life, so today, while there is still life, spend some time and rewrite the end.

What will your legacy be?

Posted on 9 Comments

The Importance of Trying New Things

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I was told not to eat mushrooms

I remember gazing upon these soft umbrella like plants nestled upon a rotting log in the front corner of our yard. They boasted differing colors, shapes and sizes.

They seemed to appear on damp days, after a night of heavy rains this strange plant would appear.

To a child they were enchanting. Though they evoked the tiniest of fear. They were reminiscent of images we had seen in our story books. usually of a leprechaun or a toad in close proximity to one.

The old folks said the spirits used it to shelter from the rain.

The folk lore told that the jumbies’, ghosts or spirits (words used interchangeably), use the ‘umbrellas’ to hide under during the rain. The reasoning behind why they came out after a night of heavy rains.

Kids will believe anything. The absurdity in retrospect is laughable.

I do not know the names of the mushroom species that grew so abundantly everywhere back then. They were pretty much taboo in our part of the world.

No one I knew ate mushrooms, they were undesirable and the word on the street was that “they ate these things in other parts of the world”. They went on to tell us they were poisonous.

So we would play with them. They were so delicate that it was easy to crush them under our feet.

Years later, I began travelling and was introduced to edible mushrooms. I immediately fell in love with their musty taste and meat-like texture.

Photo by Liza Nychyporuk on Unsplash

Mushrooms according to Wikipedia are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source.

Mushrooms are a low-calorie food rich in nutritional value. Loaded with many health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they can be an important addition to your diet.

Note, their particular circumstance of growth impacts their nutritional components, for eg., mushrooms grown with exposure to ultraviolet light are a good source of Vitamin DVitamin D is an important component for optimum health.

Mushrooms, according to the FDA, contain, sodium, potassium, fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin C, iron and various trace elements.

  1. Aids weight loss
  2. Lowers blood pressure
  3. Nutritional value and trace elements
Mushrooms, spinach and other foods used for cooking
Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

 

The takeaway

Though my first encounter with mushrooms were negative ones. I am glad I kept an open mind when it came to trying new things.

In making a decision to try something new, I found a new low calorie food that I now love.

It is important to take some time and see another perspective, to give new experiences, new places a change, new things a try.

You may find a new joy, a new love, a new friend.