Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hasta la Vista, summer...

  The last week or two has had temperatures back in the high 90's around here. It's been miserable. But--sunny.  So tomatoes started ripening at a pace as yet unseen in 2013.  lol  As you can imagine, it's been a crazy September around these parts as I've spent days and days canning and dehydrating tomatoes in all their forms. Sauce, salsa, okra-tomatoes-onions (one of my favorite things to heat up and eat when I can't think of anything else for lunch. I only canned a dozen or so jars of that, since I'm really the only fan here. The other night I was up until 1 canning quarts of sauce because I had to neighbor-sit the next day and would be gone all day.  I canned more diced. I may can some whole tomatoes today, since I have about 15 pounds of Romas in there and they need to be preserved. I've dried at least another 15 pounds already. There won't be a tomato shortage in this house come winter.  lol  Or a sweet relish shortage either.  lol  I harvested about 2 dozen good looking butternut squash yesterday morning.  But today is only supposed to be in the mid 80's and down to the 70's from then on. We'll see.

 The sweet potatoes we planted in the winter box (I don't know what else to call that thing.  It was supposed to be a covered box to try to grow lettuce or spinach in winter, to start seedlings in, etc.  But himself built it like 3 ft. high and it never quite worked out as intended.  So, after planting my sweet potato bed this year I still had about 9 plants left with no room and had the bright idea of having him fill that box with compost and leaf mold. He did, and I planted those sweet 'taters in it, along with a couple of Roma plants that I had no room for (after I had planted a tomato bed, planted 5 more plants in a flower bed in front of the deck, between the hostas, and STILL had 2 more plants.  lol--himself said--just put them in the compost pile--I must have looked stricken, because he added, or anywhere you can find a hole!)  LOL  So, into the sweet 'tater box they went, in one corner.  They have grown like crazy...who knew sweet potatoes would be a companion plant to tomatoes ??  Not me, for sure. But those 2 little tomatoes have produced more and better tomatoes than any of the others.   Live and learn.  Anyway, I accidentally uncovered a sweet potato in there digging around for tomatoes and it looks like there's going to be a good crop there.  It's getting close to time to harvest the big bed too, I suspect.  My friend Cathy, the Sweet Potato Queen, who grows like 3 acres of them every year and sells them up north in Minnesota, has said hers are ready to harvest. Of course,   she probably planted at the end of March, and mine weren't planted until May. So, maybe not quite yet. We'll see.


  I am behind on everything...correspondence, emails, housekeeping... I keep telling myself that I have all winter to catch up. But the rush at summers end is always so time consuming, it's hard to remember that. I've been freezing a lot of bell peppers, and still have lots out there. I harvested the sage and put it to dry in the back pantry in a paper bag. I have friends who save me their paper bags with handles, and I use them to dry things like that by putting the uprooted plants (or the leaves and flowers in the case of anise hyssop and a couple of other things like that) into the bags, hanging the handles of the bag over a clotheshanger, and hanging it up in the back pantry/closet on the clothes rod. In fact, when I put the sage in there, I realized that I hadn't yet emptied the bags from last year--parsley, sage, fennel, onion flowers for seed, and feverfew are some of the things in there. I still have some other herbs to dry, but they are fine for now and I think I'll wait until the tomatoes are finished before I worry about them.  Sigh... I've been trying to save more seed this year too, and there are flats of waxed paper covered with seeds drying all over the kitchen and spare room.  It's a circus around here, I'll tell you...

  Well, I better get moving. I need to go down and visit a friend in the hospital this morning.  She had to have a complete hysterectomy and is as discombobulated mentally over it as she is physically.   Naturally. And I've been through it too, so I can hold her hand and tell her it will all be alright. I'll stop and get her some flowers or something on the way...

Speaking of flowers---my wisteria is blooming !!!  It is the one growing all over the arbor:



  Only 1 clump of flowers that I can see so far, but still--it's the first time it's flowered.  I excitedly told my neighbor yesterday (she has wisteria everywhere on her property), and she said--wisteria bloom in spring. I said, I don't care, mine doesn't. lol  Anyway, thought I'd share that little joy with you. There are other new tendrils sticking out all over, that look like the one this bloomed on, so maybe there will be more. I pruned that wisteria within an inch of it's life last year (or was it spring this year?) anyway... I seriously cut it back to about 2 ft high all around the arbor.  Maybe if I prune it like that this fall, it'll flower in spring. Who knows...the mysteries of life.    Also, the little griddle I was hoping to get??  I got the last one, and it seemed like a good one so I bought it. $14.99  I used it last night to grill some New York strip steaks for supper, and it worked like a charm. here it is:


It measures almost 18x9 and fits my 2 gas burners perfectly.  The other side is smooth, for pancakes or sandwiches .  SCORE!  It's a good heavy cast iron too...


  Alright. I am off to get on with my day (if Facebook still won't load, lol)  I have lots of small things to try to accomplish today, hospital visit, picking up chicken feed, finishing up the tomatoes, reading the selected magazine stuff for tonights discussion group, and figuring out what to make the Irishman for supper. Something he can eat on the way to La Vista while I drive.

Another day in the life of a tree hugging dirt worshipper.


Namaste.

7 comments:

louisey said...

You're doing brilliantly at harvesting and processing. I had helped with planting out six aloes today (my outdoor medicine chest!) and watered trays of seedlings.

Annie I have also had a radical hysterectomy as they call it and one word for your friend: REST. For the next six months if not a year.

Beth said...

I get worn out reading your blog Annie. Do take time for yourself in the midst of all of this work. Life is very short!
I wish I had a couple of your tomatoes.

Mama Pea said...

Ah, yes, our canning/preserving season would be so much more enjoyable if we could spread it out over maybe 3-4 months? Instead of trying to do it all in a matter of weeks! And those weeks are even at the end of a labor intensive gardening season. Hey, who the heck designed it this way, huh?

You inspire me, Annie, in all that you do both at home and out and about helping others. You are a wonder!

DJan said...

As usual, you are going great guns ahead and lamenting what you are NOT getting done. It always amazes me how much you accomplish, Annie. I think your wisteria is caught in a time warp. :-)

Susan said...

I love wisteria - yours looks great! I'm surprised you get more than 3 hours of sleep a day, with all that you have on your plate. Speaking of plates, love that griddle/grill!

Willow said...

That little blurb at the top gave me the giggles !

louisey said...

Love that griddle -- I must try to get one here. I do eggplant slice and peppers and sourdough bread and tomatoes in relays and would like to do them all together.