Eradicating Rust on Cast Iron: Advice from a Reader

Glover Gardens readers are great sources! Earlier this week, you may have seen the story from one of them, Epic Seafood Boil Memories from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and now I have for you the definitive way to get pesky rust off of that kitchen stalwart, the cast iron skillet.

image from Bon Appetit

I posted about this before in From Bon Appétit: How to Remove Rust From a Cast-Iron Pan. But a better way came in on the comments in that post:

An old Southern way that musical miss’ mom taught us… Wash the pan. Scrub with half of a potato and some kind of rock salt. Rust usually comes off the first go around. Then season. Twice. Since we use ours a lot we store it on one burner of the stove. The more that you use it the more the season cures and builds.

Thanks for the tip! I didn’t think I’d have the occasion to use it, thought, because I was committed to taking better care of our cast iron collection. But somehow, some way, some water got into this skillet and sat for a spell, and don’t you know that rust came back like it was invited to a family picnic.

Rusty Cast Iron Skillet

I gave the potato-salt method a try. I missed the fine details about using rock salt and plunged into the project with Morton’s fine-grained stuff and the halved potato.

Salt and a Potato Clean Cast Iron

Scrubbing with a potato was a new experience. The rust and salt made an abrasive paste, just as my reader had said in a follow-on comment:

Apparently, the starch in the potato mixes with the salt and becomes a good cleaning agent.

Salty Rusty Paste

The finished product. Clean, rust-free, re-seasoned and all ready for our next batch of blackened tilapia.

Reseasoned Cast Iron!

What will I learn and love from Glover Gardens readers next?

© 2018, Glover Gardens


A Fire in the Fireplace in the Middle of Summer, a Haiku, and Wildflowers

Escaping the Southeast Texas heat for a few days, I’m chillin’ in the mountains at Little House in the Rockies.

Oh, the glory of it! 

July Sunset at Little House.jpg
Dusk falling over Palmer Peak

It was 40°F when I awoke this morning (that’s 4.4°C for my international readers).

Oh, the glory of it! 

A little fire in the fireplace was just right for morning coffee and reading. And finding the names of all the Colorado wildflowers I picked yesterday.

Wildflowers and Homefires.jpg

Oh, the glory of it!

Fire is mesmerizing – have you noticed? I sat with my coffee, staring into the flames, and dozens of welcome ideas came knocking, like neighbors with fresh-baked cookies. So here’s a haiku for the inspiration that flames can bring:

gazing at the blaze,
fiery hues, controlled-burn warmth,
flame-thrown ideas

Now to jot all those ideas down before they leave like Thanksgiving guests when it’s time to do the dishes!

But first, the wildflowers. What a beautiful bounty! Here’s a rundown of the bouquet: Bigelow Tansy-Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Fairy Trumpet, Giant Red Paintbrush, Mountain Parsley, Parry Primrose, Canada Thistle and White Yarrow.

Colorado Wildflowers.jpg

I gathered this clutch of color in about 20 minutes yesterday afternoon, right before a mountain rainstorm came sweeping through. I hunkered down inside our tiny cabin with a book during the storm, listening to the rain pound rhythmically and peacefully on the metal roof.

Oh, the glory of it!

Mountain Storm is Coming.jpg
The storm is coming over the mountains

I’ve been busy with the camera, so you’ll see posts about hummingbirds and mountains and chipmunks (oh my!) over the coming days and weeks, even as I settle back into the summer heat at Glover Gardens in Southeast Texas.

Wishing you a peaceful and cool Sunday.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

Coming Along, Another New Jazz Composition for Your Saturday Listening Pleasure

Another new jazz composition from the Musical Millennial! It’s a hopeful, lilting, happy tune that still has depth and complexity. I love how the thin, reedy sound of the melodica is balanced by the warmth of the guitars. Or maybe I should just say, I love it!, and stop posing as a music critic.

I also love the specificity of the credits (shown below, or you can see them if you click all the way through using this link):

  • Released July 25, 2018
  • Composed by Thomas Wenglinski 
  • Joel White: Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Bass, Handclaps
  •  Thomas Wenglinski: Melodica, Keyboards/Synthesizers, Percussion, Handclaps, Whistling

Good to know who’s doing the handclaps! 🙂

What’s the full story? Well, you’ve heard all about our Musical Millennial if you’re a Glover Gardens blog follower. And his very talented friends who are also jazz studies / jazz composition / jazz performance majors in college. And the music they produce so prolifically.

But if you haven’t, you might check out this recent post, The Jazzy Sounds of Summer at Glover Gardens to find some enlightenment, or just scroll through the musical content in the blog using the Music tab in the menu bar above or this link.

Thomas Wenglinski and Joel White
Thomas Wenglinski, AKA the Musical Millennial, on the left, with his frequent collaboration partner Joel White; photo creds to Mallory Frenza

Whether you stream for free to listen, or buy to download and keep (he’d prefer the latter!), I hope Coming Along enhances an already-lovely Saturday for you.

As it has for me. Saturday is Coming Along nicely.

© 2018, Glover Gardens


Lordy, Lord Baltimore!

I’m out of town, but the Grill-Meister keeps me up to date on Glover Gardens happenings. My day started off right this morning with his “digital postcard” of this gorgeous red hibiscus with blooms as large as dinner plates:

Lots of blooms on Lord Baltimore this morning!


It’s the little things.

Did you know? Lord Baltimore hibiscus are a very hardy hybrid that’s quite easy to grow in hot climates. They get frostbitten in our garden in Southeast Texas each winter, but always return the spring after being cut back close to the ground. These low-maintenance beauties get revved up as it heats up, and are super-showy by July when other bloomers are starting to get a little wilty and tired. Go, Lord Baltimore!

© 2018, Glover Gardens


Aberdeen Countryside: “Ain’t She Stotter?”

Tunnock's Tea Cakes and Mrs Tilly's FudgeEarlier this week, I posted about my “snack food” vs. “junk food” epiphany in Aberdeen, in which I learned that I was a hypocrite during a break in a meeting.

What I neglected to do was to show you the Aberdeen I saw outside the window in that meeting.

I really, really like Aberdeen and want to share it with you, so here’s the picture I took from the window in the office building where our meeting was held.

Verdant, bucolic, lush hills with farmhouses, pastures and cattle, right by an office center and busy highway – oh please don’t change, Aberdeen

And here’s another, from close by.

Just across from a big hotel and busy office center, these cows graze languidly, perhaps knowing they are luckier than Texas cows

Aberdeen – ain’t she beautiful?  Or, in Doric, “Ain’t she stotter?”

Doric is the awesome traditional language of Aberdeen. I wish I had an awesome traditional language.

You’ll keep hearing about Aberdeen on these pages. I feel a kinship with it, which might be wishful thinking, or might have some roots in truth. My maiden name is Harvell, and my Dad always said we had English and “Scotch-Irish” heritage. Google tells me that the Harvell name came to England when the Normans did, way back in ’66, and that we may be related to the Hervies and de Hervis of Aberdeenshire and other parts of Scotland. I hope so! Or, “ah hope sae.”

” Aberdeen, ae day ah ll be back tae bide a while.”

For more Aberdeen musings from the Glover Gardens archives:

© 2018, Glover Gardens


Epic Seafood Boil Memories from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Last summer, a beautiful little memory-story came to me through a wonderful Glover Gardens reader who liked my poem, my days by the water (via the Glover Gardens Facebook page, shown below).

She said:

I can see it 🙂 Many parts remind me of family reunions in Bay St. Louis.

So of course I asked her to share her Mississippi Gulf Coast memories. And after a while, she did. Now it’s time for me to share those memories with you.
“Awhile back you’d asked me to tell you about some of our Cowand family reunions in Bay St. Louis. …

The Cowands have a long history in that area dating back to a land grant a couple hundred years ago. My dad’s family was 9 siblings with Swedish/Norwegian parents. They lived a block from the Bay and loved every type of water activity. The empty lot they owned next to their house was where rows of picnic tables would be set up covered with newspaper. The feast included crabs caught off the family pier and trash can loads of fresh shrimp purchased off the Gulfport Pier fresh shrimp. They were boiled to perfection with potatoes and 1/2 corn cobs by too many ‘expert’ brothers.

Doesn’t that Epic Seafood Boil sound delightful? She finished the story from the kids’ point of view, which I just love.

My cousins and I played with minnows in the culvert, hide and go seek, and ran freshly caught crabs back to the party … total freedom and good eating in a safe corner of the world!”

Crabs from Shoofly Magazine’s post about the 2018 Crabfest– photo by Lionel Haynes, Jr.

This story could have been from my own childhood, except that we were further down the Gulf Coast (on the Bolivar Peninsula in Southeast Texas) and we don’t have Swedish/Norwegian ancestry. But the feelings the Epic Seafood Boil story conjure of being completely free, completely safe, completely alive and completely sated still reverberate in my soul when I look back on my days by the water.

All this kindred reminiscing about seaside living made me curious to find out more about Bay St. Louis, which I have somehow missed in my many Gulf Coast travels. (What’s up with that???)  

A surf around Google shows that Bay St. Louis, est. 1699, is a really cool little place. There’s a Crab Festival! There’s a Frida Kahlo Festival! There’s a quaint downtown and a historic cemetery (with lots of Cowands in it, by the way) and a white, sandy beach – oh my! I’m not just speculating on this coolness, by the way: Bay St. Louis was listed at #4 on Expedia’s 2018 of Most Beautiful Towns in America.

Photos from the Expedia article: Left Via Flickr/Andrew
Top Right Via Yelp/Angie T.
Bottom Right Via Shutterstock

An excerpt from the Expedia writeup: “You’ve heard being by the water is good for the soul and Bay St. Louis is the perfect place to test it. Surrounded by the bay and marshlands, this pretty little coastal town is a sailor’s delight. Stroll to the marina and listen for the sound of sailboats creaking against the dock, or build sandcastle masterpieces on the shore at the end of Main Street.”

Yep, Bay St. Louis is definitely on my Must-Go list. Below are some other charming images that I found in cyberspace; maybe you’ll put Bay St. Louis on your list, too!

From BSL Shoofly Magazine; 2017 Crab Fest photos by Ellis Anderson
From My Mississippi Coast
The harbor at Bay St. Louis from Shoofly Magazine
Courtesy of Edward Depew’s blog


Soon, I’ll publish another Epic Seafood Boil memory, a spicy one from my own family history.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

with thanks and credit to my dear reader for sharing her Cowand family story!

A Tea Cake Break in Aberdeen Exposes Me as an Unrepentant Hypocrite

I might be a bit of a hypocrite.

I call myself a foodie, sneer at junk food, avoid fast food and pretty much loathe restaurant chains. I don’t mind if you call me a food snob. I deserve it.

Gimme authentic! Gimme homemade! Down with overly-processed, pre-packaged, over-salted, sugar-laden foodstuffs!


It’s different when it is another country’s junk food.

At a meeting in Aberdeen, something came over me. I saw these Scottish treats as “snack food” instead of junk food. My colleague brought the fudge and the tea cakes as a gift, and so of course I tasted them – – and they rocked! And the super-salty crisps provided the perfect pairing to the sweet treats.

Tunnock's Tea Cakes and Mrs Tilly's Fudge.jpg

Like I said: I’m a hypocrite! Of the first degree. And I’m not even sorry.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

Haiku: Going Somewhere through O’Hare

portal to … somewhere
through the rainbow at O’Hare ~
going, going, gone

O'Hare Travelers

I really like the walkways between the concourses at O’Hare Airport. Nice job, Chicago!

I was doubly pleased when I looked at this photo after uploading it onto my Mac and saw the reflections of the passengers in the mirrored ceiling. Serendipity.

It’s the little things.

© 2018, Glover Gardens