Sunday, September 25, 2022

Last stewing of the season


Sorry to go on and on, but I like to keep track of the gardens here on the blog. You may just skip over!

Today I just got around to stewing the tomatoes in the last post. Instead of freezing, I'm going to add a jar of crushed tomatoes, strain both the fresh and the canned, and make sauce for supper. Sad to see the season end, but happy to have some for the winter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Pretty much the end of the tomato harvest


If you have stopped by recently, you will have seen the chopped tomatoes as my blog header. I've stewed and strained quite a few tomatoes in the past weeks, added a little tomato paste, and frozen them. I look forward to that taste of summer on my pasta this winter. We tried many new varieties this year - some heirlooms. They are so individual both in look and taste. Here is a pic I took a while back.

The ones on the front left are called Purple Cherokee, from seeds found on a Cherokee reservation. They just may be the best tasting tomatoes I've ever eaten. On the front right are Rose de Berne.They are a Swiss heirloom. We didn't get too many, but they were very delicious. On the yellow plate is a super producer with a terrific taste, Moskvich. Not an heirloom yet, but a great tomato from Russia. Not sure what the time table is for declaring a tomato is an heirloom. I think the Moskvich was developed in the 1970s. 

The yellowy orange one is Marmalade, not an heirloom. Great producer and such a beauty. It is really stunning in the garden.

The green and yellow ones are ripe. That is their color. The variety is Green Zebra. I always pronounce the name with the British "Zeb", not the American "Zee" because I first heard of it on Pie in the Sky, one of my most favorite television series. There is an episode where Henry Crabbe makes this delicious looking dish, stuffing a Green Zebra with bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and something else I think I'm forgetting. I was so looking forward to making it, but my Green Zebras just didn't get big enough this year.  Will try again next year (the gardener's motto). The first picture was taken today - maybe the last tomatoes of the season. The little one on the bottom with those grooves is called Costoluto Genovese, an Italian heirloom. What flavor, and I love the grooves - I just cut one section out and eat it! 

We've grown Peacevine cherry tomatoes for years. Next year we may try a few heirloom cherries, too. I bought quite a few from a local farm this summer, and the taste was out of this world. Here is a whimsical picture of them with my colorful bowls.

We did a few different things with our tomatoes this year - one was cutting all the shoots off except the main flowering ones. That was okay, except we didn't get nearly as many tomatoes as other years. Will go back to letting the side shoots flower, until later in the season. I'm always up for trying new ideas, but this one just didn't work out that well. Plus I missed the huge, tall plants we got before.

When I was a kid, I never ate tomatoes - not even tomato sauce. And these summer months, they are all I wanted to eat!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Death of a Queen

 If you go here, you will see the last picture taken of the late Queen Elizabeth 11. It is the picture many of us saw when we first read the news that she wasn't well, and that family was heading to Balmoral. I would have put it up but it does have a name on it, and I did not want to infringe.

When I first saw it, I thought it was my favorite of all pictures I have seen of her during her long life. She looks like any woman at home. That sweater! Just like any of us might wear, especially those my age or older. It made me smile, even as the news made me fearful.

I know a staunch Irishman, and yet he cared for the Queen. As did so many people, no matter their politics.

I am terribly sad. It feels like someone in my family has died -  a relative I didn't ever see but still loved.

And I'll tell you a weird story. It begins a long time ago. Just before my uncle (by marriage, on my father's side) died, my mother heard three knocks on the window and saw his face there. Then the phone rang with the news. Well, today Tom was at a friend's house. After I had read that the Queen was so ill, I was in the kitchen when I heard three knocks on the front door. Lucy, our yellow Labrador went to the door, as did I. No one was there (and no face). Soon I saw Tom walking from the parking lot to the house. I asked him if he had come to the door and knocked thinking it might be locked. He said no.

The phone didn't ring just after but when I heard those knocks I did fear that she had, or would, die. As far as I know that happened to my mother only once, and this is the first and hopefully only time for me. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Quote du jour - Henry David Thoreau; and summer pictures

I began this post in July, and am just getting back to it on this first day of September.

Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit.
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817-May 6, 1862) Such a short life.

I am living fully in this summer season, and want to share some pictures of the beauty at Windy Poplars Farm. This summer has been spectacular. Everyone I talk to comments on the flowers everywhere. 

The brown-eyed Susans are all over the place. They just pop up and don't care what the soil is like.

Beautiful daylilies

Hollyhocks  - my friend said this color has such an old-fashioned look. It is really achingly beautiful. This is a perennial one that I bought from White Flower Farm years ago. 

And this is one that comes back year after year - just a regular hollyhock. I recently read that if you leave the seedheads on, they will fall off and root the next year. Since I never cut mine down in a timely manner, that must be what happens here.

Now that I am here, and late, I thought I'd post some August pictures, too. This is the side yard on a beautiful morning around 8 am. Not the clearest but that's part of what I like - that misty/sunny look.



                                                                Monarda -
 I finally found one that grows in zone 3. I bought one plant. It grew well last year, though the leaves had mildew. I looked it up and one result was from Martha Stewart who said to never mind it - that it wouldn't hurt the flowers at all. Well, this year, that one plant spread and overtook the entire terrace garden. Some other kinds of plants disappeared, and others were greatly diminished, but that's alright. It is in the mint family after all. Every single minute of the day, these plants have been full of bees and butterflies. 

 I'll end with the pride and joy of Windy Poplars Farm - Cleome, and Amaranth! Last year we grew cleome and it was a lovely, big addition to the vegetable garden. This year, we started seeds inside under the lights, and they again have been beautiful. A surprise for us is that last year's flowers self-seeded, and are actually double the length of the ones we transplanted! What a plant!! And the amaranth came in my CSA bouquets years ago. I asked the grower what it was, and she called it "love lies bleeding." Whatever it is known by it is the weirdest plant we've ever grown. Weird but very wonderful. We will grow both flowers again next year.

I plan to do another post on the vegetables this year. 

And the font changed as I wrote. I didn't do it on purpose. I started with the font of our computer, comic sans, but then it went to something I didn't like. I tried to get CS, but it wasn't offered so I used open sans.