Several days of rain last week put me right. I finally was able to attend to some indoor projects. My brother called recently for my mother’s hot sauce recipe. I went on a quest for her recipe box among her many belongings. Yikes. I hope I rid myself of my own stuff before my children have to deal with it after my demise.

At any rate, I finally located the object after an exhausting search. I found several pieces of notebook paper with handwritten household hints from both of my grandmothers. I loved that.

A brief digression before I give you the recipe. My mother scotch-taped little notes on the bottoms of furniture and dishes — telling the dates, makers and gifters of certain items. I found a note on the bottom of a split circular end table which apparently my Dad made in high school. I never knew.

Mexican Hot Sauce

24 peeled tomatoes
8 hot peppers (red and green)
8 onions
4 sweet peppers
1/4 cup salt
1 quart vinegar
3 or 4 garlic “toes” (she always called the cloves — toes)
Cook everything up until thick.

My Gramma Kate had written a similar chili sauce recipe.

36 ripe tomatoes
3 red hot peppers
6 large onions
6 teaspoons salt
6 cups white sugar
6 cups vinegar

Grind ingredients and mix, then boil for 1.5 hours. During the last half hour add 18 ground sweet red peppers.

Gramma Kate packed this hot sauce into sterilized jars but did not water bath them. They sealed on their own. I’m unsure about this. I probably will water bath my sauce for 10 minutes for pint jars. I don’t know why I am unsure. She lived until her nineties.

Here we are at full-on fall. The light is simply beautiful and I love the cool nights. The Virginia creeper is a lovely red. It has insinuated itself up into trees and along the fences. Some folks mistake it for poison ivy since it grows in similar conditions, and even though it has five leaves instead of three, it is a common mistake. I’m quite fond of it although some would consider it weedy. I think it is particularly nice this time of year with the yellowing leaves of the heinous bittersweet. The official name is Parthenocissus quinquefolia. I guess it really is a weed. Remember the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote? “A weed is a plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”

I can honestly say mugwort and wild morning glory have no undiscovered virtues except perhaps to encourage a person to sell the property.

I have started hauling plants into the greenhouse to acclimate them for the move indoors for the winter. I have had good luck in the past few years wintering over mandevilla. I cut them back quite aggressively and leave them in an unheated back room which does not freeze but has plenty of sunlight. I’m so pleased with them in spring as they get a jump on the season and do not cost an arm and a leg at the nurseries.

I’ve always been successful with geraniums. They look terrible by February but stay alive and are ready for planting out by Memorial Day. My great-grandmother Armstrong used to rip them out of the ground and hang them in the basement. She called them magic plants. I think I inherited my love of gardening from her.

My dad always joked that he couldn’t raise a disturbance.

There was an interesting and yet disturbing article on the Sunday opinion page of The New York Times, entitled The Hypocrisy of Helping the Poor.

Indulge me while I quote the first paragraph. “Every so often you hear grotesquely wealthy American chief executives announce in sanctimonious tones the intention to use their accumulated hundreds of millions or billions to lift people out of poverty. In most cases, they have made their fortunes by impoverishing whole American communities, having outsourced their manufacturing to China, India, Vietnam or Mexico.”

The article went on to describe many communities in the deep south with factories shut down because those jobs went offshore. The amazing thing to me is that many in those communities will continue to support and vote for the very people who endorse these policies — so called “free” trade. People do not want “free stuff.” They want decent well-paying jobs.

One of these weeks I have to talk about Donald Trump again. I just don’t have it in me this week.