Planting potatoes and moonshine

by Jessie K on April 14, 2012

A baby.  A man.  A dog from Afghanistan.  And a big bag of potatoes.

It’s springtime at my place.

Can’t forget the hoe.

Now that Jake is home, my goal for 2012 is to become a more accomplished gardener (read, the muscle is home), so Jake and I called over Bill, our neighbor and resident “spud expert” for planting advice. Bill has been growing potatoes his whole life and harvests enough each summer to last an entire year.

See that thing I’m holding?  It’s not a headless, de-feathered chicken.  It’s a sweet potato.  From Bill’s garden.  He gave it to me several weeks ago and I still can’t figure out what to do with it. Except maybe carve it and stick a burning candle inside it like a jack-o-lantern.

Bill is also really good at maintaining a perfectly preserved cigarette ash, a skill that requires steady nerves and Ninja focus.

In the midst of planting, Bill brought out a jar of a ruby red liquid.  He offered me a sip.  The taste was delicate and tart and earthy.

“Oh, that’s smooth,” I said. “Real smooth.”  I handed the jar to Jake.  “I already feel drunk.  Am I drunk?  Here, hon, take a hit of ‘shine.”

I looked at Bill, like I too was part of the bootlegger operation.  Bill stifled a smile.

“It’s so smooth,” I said, smacking my lips.  “Yeah, I’m drunk.  I feel so free.  And it tastes like there’s no alcohol in it.”

Bill flicked his three inch ash, and smiled.  “That’s ’cause it’s iced tea.”

Like I said, springtime at my place.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula S. April 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm


I can’t believe you’ve never eaten one of the most delicious and nutritious vegetables on the planet. Sweet potatoes bake in less time than Irish potatoes. Just bake, cut open, add a little butter and salt and pepper. If you want to be decadent, add cinnamon sugar. I make healthy sweet potato “fries” a lot lately. Just peel, slick into sticks the size of thick fries, spray with olive oil, add salt and pepper, bake twenty or thirty minutes, depending on the temperature your meat is cooking at.

There are several rich, caloric,but delicious recipes for use on special occasions. My mother always put sliced, peeled baked ones in a baking dish, covered with white sugar and whipping cream, and baked until the cream bubbled and thickened. Another way is to mash with cinnamon, sugar, chopped pecans and butter, then bake that in a dish for awhile.

Other people use recipes with marshmallow topping, or basted with orange juice. Are you putting us on that you’ve not eaten them?

Jessie K April 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm


I’ve eaten plenty of sweet potatoes. Just never one the size of a chicken.

Paula S. April 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm


Let us know if it is good all the way through when you cut it up.

Judy Workman April 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm


You could get Bill a Cuppow lid for his Ball jar so he can drink in style. But, maybe he just doesn’t need one. It’s maybe more of a girl thing. I love my lid, and whoever thought of them was a genius. Google them, they are very fun.

I would chop up the sweet potato and bake it in small bits, roasted. I love sweet potatoes. You are lucky to have Bill.

Jessie K April 16, 2012 at 7:47 am


That’s exactly what I’ll do, Judy — roasted sweet potatoes. Thanks for the suggestion.

Janelle April 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm


Oh, it’s so good to have the family back, isn’t it!? Feels like home now.
Oh, love the photos. Family together. The way it’s supposed to be.

Audrey April 15, 2012 at 2:38 am


With the sweet potatoes, you can cut them up and steam them too.. just steam it and eat it. it’s really sweet! 😀

tara belle April 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm


this post was awesome.

jennifer April 16, 2012 at 8:17 am


Try cutting the sweet potatoes up, put into gallon ziploc bag with olive oil and rosemary, coat them really well, then bake. Omigod, delicious. The only way I can get my husband to eat them.

Jessie K April 17, 2012 at 10:24 am


And I just so happen to have a huge bush of rosemary growing in my garden. Tonight we feast on roasted rosemary sweet potatoes! Thanks for the great suggestion.

Angela April 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm


3 words.
Sweet. Potato. Pie

Although, I would probably take pictures everywhere with it, act like its a member of the family.

Jessie K April 17, 2012 at 10:23 am


Maybe dress it up in a baby’s bonnet. 😉

Karen April 17, 2012 at 11:30 am


I guess I have been ignoring my rss feeds for the last 2 months and I was cleaning house and I use to read you faithfully, well this morning I caught up with you. Just wanted to say I am happy for you to have your husband home again and your newest family member. :) I wish you all the best.

Jessie K April 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm


Thanks for dropping by, Karen!

Debi Kelly Van Cleave April 29, 2012 at 11:14 pm


Omg, forget the sweet potatoes! This story is about iced tea! Like I said before, I read a bunch of your posts at a time and so I don’t comment on them all, though I enjoy them. I had to say something about this one because you really cracked me up. Iced tea! That would be something I would do.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: