Thursday, July 22, 2010

A little surprise....

The past few days we have had some good thunderstorms roll in during the nights. This was good, because it meant I didn't need to water my veggie garden. That saves me about 45 minutes. It also meant that I didn't have to go out in this horrible muggy heat and stand in the garden, so I chose to stay put right inside with the AC cranking and the fans blowing. That's what you need to do to survive around here during the "Muggies". OK...so really, that's what I NEED to do! Go ahead, call me a wimp. I don't care....much.

Anyway, it seems my fresh veggies were still stacking up on my counter. K would go outside and come in with a few(hundred) cucumbers and a ripe tomato every once in a while. Sometimes, Mike would go out, look around and walk back in and plop a handful of teeny grape tomatoes in my bowl. I would just look from my back window and see the plants still standing and that was good enough for me.

This morning I realized I had a whole tray full of big ripe tomatoes and I wasn't about to let those babies go bad. So, I gathered them and made the most delicious homemade spaghetti sauce. I even sent K out for some parsley, oregano and basil fresh off the plants. There is such an incredible feeling of satisfaction when cooking from your own garden. It also didn't hurt that around the dinner table the prevalent sound was "yummmm".

While the sauce was simmering, I decided to take a little inventory. I used up ALL my big tomatoes with the sauce. I have a little bowl of grape tomatoes to use, but I have some plans for those involving avocados and jalapenos. My jalapeno bowl is getting a little full, so I made plans to freeze them tomorrow. The cucumbers, WELL....I try not to think about the cucumbers. They are my "zucchini" this year. You know...the vegetable that just keeps coming and coming. Other than those pesky cucumbers, which I do love but can't manage to eat 6 a day, I was feeling a little on top of my game this evening. No veggie is going to rot on my watch!

When we came home from errands this evening I said to Mike, "Hey, meet me in the garden. We have a few minutes of light left and we should probably poke around. I hope we have some of those purple beans ready. I would like some for dinner tomorrow." hehehe...



There are purple beans out there, but it was too dark in the bean pole teepee that we made, so I'll get them tomorrow. Besides, I was too busy picking these veggies. Our peppers are finally turning red, which was exciting. Notice the cucumbers....sigh.....

However, this would be considered a nice harvest from our backyard garden, but NO....this was not all. In fact the picture below doesn't show it all. We had flashlights out there, but the mosquitoes chased us in the house before we could finish. The neighbors probably thought we were a tad loony if they were listening to us at all. "Squealing with delight" is the best way to describe the sounds heard from our garden this evening!


Guess, I need to get busy again.

Signed,
"No longer feeling on top of my game"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

it has begun....

Earlier this season I had a battle with creatures of the winged variety. Yes, the early bird was getting up before me and checking out the garden. I have no problem sharing for the most part....but I must draw the line on some things. I have been waiting since last summer for a nice, sun-ripened, homegrown tomato. Our plants are so full and their poor branches are sagging from the weight of large GREEN tomatoes. We bought three plants that produce the smaller cherry tomato variety. One reason I made sure to plant the cherry tomatoes was to tide me over until the big boys ripened. I waited and waited and was beyond excited to see a hint of pink on a few of the little cherry ones. I knew the time was coming and I'd be able to just pop that baby right in my mouth and squeeze out the juicy yumminess. Imagine my shock to come out one morning and find what was to be my very first tomato of the 2010 season pecked to pieces!

Ugh!!

Well, I quickly told myself it was ok. I figured this was some sort of testing of character or perhaps there was a lesson on patience that I should be gleaning from this...and I certainly didn't want to fail any test or opportunity to grow. Plus...there was another tomato that was just about ready! It was so close that I was sure another 24 hours would do the trick. I could wait...

Next day...it, too was pecked to pieces. I officially (well, posted on Facebook..that's official, right?) declared war and got some wonderful advice from friends. I didn't have to do anything because it seemed like my little feathered friend had left town overnight. I thought maybe word got out that I was about to go ugly on him and he packed his little bags and hit the road. (I didn't hurt him...I promise!!) Well, apparently he just went to visit his cousin to let my jets cool....because he's now back and busy pecking tomatoes that are just about ready.


So...this weekend netting is going up.


Nobody messes with my tomatoes!!


Here's a bowl full of the ones the little birdie missed along with some fresh basil picked from our garden.

It went into a veggie dish for dinner that the family declared a winner!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cucumbers...

It's 101 degrees outside and I think it might as well be 200 degrees. I don't do well in 101 or 200 degree weather. Well, unless I have a nice ocean breeze blowing over me while I sit under a big beach umbrella and someone keeps bringing me frozen concoctions. However, since I'm at home and last time I looked we did not own beachfront property, I'm staying inside. Inside where the air condition is trying it's very best to blow cool air. I have fans blowing in several rooms and one can find some relief by standing directly in front of the fan...not that I keep doing that or anything.


This morning I went out early...thought I'd beat the heat...(hahahahahahaha NO)...and checked out the garden. When I brought in my basket of goodies, I decided that I could no longer ignore the cucumber "situation". You know what I mean. That's when the amount of cucumbers in the house exceeds the number of people in your family x a bazillion.


I kept saying I would make pickles, but I have to admit....I was just a tad intimidated. Sure I went out and bought supplies and all, even read some recipes online. In order to postpone the inevitable I went ahead and made several quarts of freezer pickles, which are yummy...but they are sweet. And we can only eat so many sweet pickles at a time. I had promised K that I would make some yummy pickles and I promised Mike that I wouldn't let the cucumbers rot.


Well, I decided today was the day to face the fear head on and get myself busy pickling. I had two recipes that I wanted to try. One recipe was for making refrigerator garlic dill spears and the other was using a package of Mrs. Wages pickling mix. I decided to make chips with that batch. The refrigerator recipe was the easiest. However, you have to store them in the fridge and eat them up in a month or so. That limits the amount I could get away with making. The downside of that recipe is waiting a week or so to even open the jars to try them! At least we can try the other kind in 24 hours to help keep our mind off of the spears.




I love hearing the pop that lets me know all is going well with my pickles and they are sealing. That is such a sweet, satisfying sound. It helps (a teeny tiny bit) lessen the discomfort of realizing that my kitchen is now 101 degrees.


Think I'll go stand in front of the freezer for a bit...need to check on those freezer pickles!