Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Our north-end-of-the-county source for news is online only. It’s a non-paper newspaper. I don’t know what the proper term of art is that doesn’t sound awkward. Is it a daily newszine? I’m just going to call it an online newspaper, since that’s what they call themselves. Anyway, NorthEscambia.com is terrific: just what a small town daily ought to be. They cover school sports, graduations, FFA and cheerleader projects, local soldiers, gardening news from the county extension service, and quite often scoop the downtown newspaper on hard news stories.

I check it out first thing each morning. Today’s big weather news is that a cold (but not cool) front is coming, with the first stretch of sunny, dry days we have seen in months. Sure enough, when Lou and I headed to the gate at  6:45 to pick up the Sunday Pensacola News Journal, I didn’t immediately break out into a sweat or feel like I was swimming in a steam bath. In short, it was great.

Among the beneficiaries of this extended monsoon-like weather we’ve experienced for the past two months are flowering and fruiting vines, like the morning glories and scuppernongs. I’ve never seen these southern fox grapes more lusty, with shiny leaves and swelling fruit.

I’ll have to be quick to get even one ripe grape to beat out the deer and other critters , much less to gather enough for a glass of muscadine wine. I’ve never been one for sweet wines, anyway. But I remember Lois would get a certain light in her eyes when muscadine wine was mentioned in conversation. I’m pretty sure there was a story there, but it’s one that got away. She was 81 by then, and had learned to keep some things secret.


4 thoughts on “Morning Glories, Muscadines and Secrets of Southern Ladies

  1. dclaud says:

    May I encourage you to develop a taste for sweet wines since Southern wine makers are producing some gems. Start your journey, though, in France with a sauterne or, better yet, monbazillac, since they’re nearly as good and a third the price: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/16/dining/a-dessert-wine-that-s-a-public-secret.html Then I’d try some late harvest wines, which are complex and not cloying, or even a Noble Rot: http://winefolly.com/tutorial/they-call-it-noble-rot-botrytis/ Port is maybe next, but if you’re still aboard and visiting a winery, try a glass of some of their more expensive sweet wines. Most people start with a winery’s cheapest sweet wine and are disappointed. I know it’s fashionable in Americ to dismiss all sweet wines, but Europeans treasure them and so should we.


    1. Beth says:

      I’m remembering a fantastic meal in a private home with friends who live on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. There was a venison stew and mache salad with warm goat cheese. Lots of great red wine and conversation in the ancient wood dining room, followed by cheese and wondrous port. I had forgotten. I’ll take your advice to heart and follow the links, too, David. Thank you — and thanks for pushing a memory button.


  2. Wally Jones says:

    With the onset of the ravages of chronic middle-age, my regimen of pharmaceuticals does not, I am told, play well with things alcoholic. To my good fortune, the magnificent Muscadine produces a prodigious preserve. To my absolute horror, I have been told to eschew biscuits. As is common (Southern) knowledge, it is not possible to enjoy preserves properly except on a hot biscuit. I have, therefore, chosen to revert to my “lazy” spelling affliction, eliminate the “es” and simply “chew” an entire biscuit packed with fresh Muscadine goodness.
    Who knows, I may even “chewse” to accompany it with a fine Escambia appellation of recently stomped fine Muscadine wine.
    So much sweetness will surely render me comatose, but with a smile on my face.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth says:

      I’d like to stay in “chronic middle-age” for the next thirty years or so before “rapid onset old-age” hits. 🙂 As for the Muscadines, I’m going to try and snag a few straight from the vine before the deer, birds, squirrels, foxes, et al get them all! That said, I would be thrilled if a hot biscuit with Muscadine preserves showed up this morning. It would be an awesome accompaniment to my coffee.


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