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West Coast Country Boy

Articles: West Coast Country Boy

The largest section of the garden, on a terraced slope, as seen from the roof in spring. Photographs by Bob Hakins

[sidebar]I raise a big ol’ garden ‘cause it really gets old/
Eatin’ that junk that you get out on the road.
You see I’m from the country. I know what I need.
My home-grown potatoes, tomatoes, and peas.
Now that’s my thing.

Elvin Bishop, “That’s My Thing,” Crabshaw Music, ASCAP 2005 [/sidebar]

Sliding open the door of a deep pantry cabinet, a tousle-headed fellow in his mid-sixties reveals a neatly arranged cupboard brimming with canned preserves. With a hint of Oklahoma rhythm in his voice, he sets out the contents:
Let’s see, I’ve got all kinds of stuff: tomatoes, green beans, corn, dill pickles and pickled beets, applesauce and apple juice. I preserve gooseberries and currants, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, and plums. I also make my own hot sauce as well as every kind of jam in the world including kiwi and pineapple guava, which is made from a subtropical tree [Acca sellowiana] from Paraguay that I grow. It’s real cool; the flowers are like cinnamon cotton candy. I’d say I put...

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