"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Misty Morning Breakfast with Spider Webs

I ate breakfast on my patio this morning, the air was so cool and damp for a late August.  As I walked around to the front of the house I noticed a huge spider web reaching from the citrus trees to the hollyhock stock. 

Then I looked up at the Black Pine tree and noticed this...

Each branch had a patch of web, they glistened in the mist.  It feels a lot like Autumn already and yet it is only the middle of August. Strange weather this year.

The Spider And The Fly

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider

to the fly; but the cunning little insect only winked

the other eye and he knowingly retorted in a buzz so

low and sweet: "Well, not upon your half-tone, I

have learned to watch my feet. I have a load of

small-pox on my silken little wings, my legs are lined

with typhus germs and other deadly things. I am

taking some bacilli to a house across the way and you

must not try to stop me, for I have no time to play."

Once more the spider pleaded in accents soft

and low: "Won't you step into my parlor and rest be-

fore you go ? My web is lined with gossamer of tex-

ture fine and rare and you'll find some lovely

microbes if you will enter there. I have a nice collec-

tion I am saving just for you, and I want to seal our

friendship with a B. Coli or two."

"With all my heart," replied the fly and straight-

way walked inside and the spider got his dinner and

was fully satisfied.

by Albert Stroud 1917

Joining The Grimy Hands Girls' Club

To learn more about Sharon Lovejoy and The Grimy Hands Girls' Club check out her blog at Sharon Lovejoy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Today's Harvest

Just a few photos to keep my blog updated on this years harvest times.  Today I picked a few more yellow beans, lots of yellow pear tomatoes, a few more Isle Candy yellow cherry tomatoes, lots of zucchini (again).  My second purple bell pepper and two green bells. A few more yellow crookneck and a patty pan squash. Lots more tomatoes but I had already put most of those on the table so they are not in this picture.  The beautiful yellow tomato is the Persimmon tomato, an heirloom I grew for the first time this year. I love the flavor and it is producing very large fruit.

A bowl of San Marzano tomatoes that I roasted today. These I will freeze for pasta sauce in the winter. I put garlic and olive oil on them before roasting and will add fresh basil to each bag before I freeze it.

So far only four Poblano's have come in. They are good size though so I am happy. I hope to get more!
I roasted these with the tomatoes at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. The peels slip right off after letting them set under plastic wrap.  I will freeze these for stuffed poblano's in the fall and winter.

I also made some Dill Pickles today.  The cucumbers are doing fantastic this year, must be from the cooler weather we had.  This week is heating up so we will see how long they last.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tomato Update, Tomato Addiction, Cucumbers, Summer Squash and Beans too

I am convinced that I have a tomato addiction! With so many heirloom varieties to choose from it is easy to get an addiction to these beauties!

I am already planning next years tomato selections. I will repeat Red Zebra, Cherokee Purple and Isle Candy, though.

The last few days have been busy for me picking tomatoes!  I have picked the San Marzano Tomatoes many times now. I like roasting them and making chunky or smooth sauce for the winter. I froze the sauce again this year in jars; so much easier than heating up the kitchen when canning. I also made 4 pint jars of salsa, I love to bring that out in January and taste the flavors of summer when I am missing my tomatoes and going through withdrawals!.
I am really happy with the Red Zebra tomatoes I am growing this year, last year I only had the Green Zebras, ;which I have I planted but are a little late in ripening as I planted those late in June and with the cooler summer we are having I am not sure that they will do that well.  I have plenty on the vines, but it has been so cool this month they are taking a while to ripen. We are forecast for temperatures down to 59 degrees this week; that is just crazy for August it should be in the high 90's to over 100 now and with much warmer nights.
Heirloom Yellow Pear and Isle Candy, a really sweet yellow cherry tomato.
My cucumbers on the other hand are doing really well this year. I do not have mildew on any of the leaves and the plants are loaded with blossoms.  The bees were busy working the flowers this morning when I was looking for some to pick. I found a few and will make a jar of pickles with these.  I should be getting a bunch in the next week or two as I saw lots of small ones forming.  I can't wait to have these pickles for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. So often my vines get mildew or just get too hot and shrivel up before they produce, I am grateful for the cooler weather we have for these.  And I do have a lot of tomatoes so I can't complain, it has been a good growing season so far.

Organic Bush Bean Pencil Pod and Pickling Cucumbers
I planted Bean Bush Pencil Pod Organic Heirlooms from Botanical Interests this year and have only picked a few handfuls in the last week. The flavor is great and the plants are very healthy. They will do better once we get a few weeks of warmer weather though.
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A few of the summer squash I planted this year, Cocozelle, an heirloom organic zucchini (the ones with the stripes), a Black Beauty zucchini (in the middle), Scallop Patty Pan Blend, so far I have only had white and I should have light green and yellow in the Patty Pan.  And yellow Crookneck squash. All doing fantastic.
Picking lots of basil, tarragon, sage and thyme.  I am still picking parsley with the cooler weather too so that is nice. I will be making Basil Pesto tonight and will also be making a sage and a tarragon pesto. I use walnuts of the sage pesto and pecans for the tarragon.  It is fun to play around with different herbs and nuts to create pesto's. I have also used hazelnuts for the tarragon, but pine nuts will work for all of them. Try using sage, blue cheese and walnuts, you will love this flavor together and it is fantastic on pork and beef. Think Prime Rib!