Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Heat and Drought for July 4th

I started 4 or 5 varieties of tomato seeds for the early garden.
I lost at least half of my seedlings when I potted them on into a cheap brand of potting soil.
Ironically, those that remained--in decent soil-- were nearly all small early 'salad' tomatoes.
We enjoyed them in salads--until the lettuce bolted--we've sliced them for sandwiches and and sides.
They are too small for canning--if one could even contemplate a steaming kitchen these days.
J. has put a few of them in the juicer along with other vegs for fresh juice.
This morning 2 collanders full squatted on the counter and a reluctant venture into the upper garden yielded me 3 more collanders full, while J. gleaned a small bucket full from the lower garden.
I decided to make juice, freeze it in small containers to take out and pop into a kettle of winter soup.
[I threw out a bevy of plastic containers several months ago, as they tumbled out each time I opened the upper door of the Hoosier hutch.]
Today I filled 9 containers with the juice and stowed them downstairs in the freezer.
G. arrived as I was about to dismantle the juicer, sampled my product and decided to make up a container for her fridge.
J. has been the juice maker since we purchsed the machine several weeks ago.
Some batches are great, some are rather bland, only one or two have been of a taste that made me gulp a glassful down quickly--not relishing it, but knowing it was good for me.
With the kitchen tidied, I came in here to sort photos on the computer, windows closed and shutters folded in to keep out the heat.
J. parked himself in front of the TV [he has a 'free' month of the western movie channel to enjoy--bang, bang, head 'em off at the pass, etc]
Mid-afternoon our family whirled into the dooryard with burgers and hot dogs for M. to cook on the grill.  I took cold boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs from the fridge and G. and I collaborated to quickly create a potato salad. 
I produced an unopened carton of choc-chip mint ice cream for dessert.

I have sat out in the dusk this evening, watching fireflies dart and flash over the front yard, listening for the whip-poor-wills and the cicadas tuning up, hearing also, with resignation, the crack and boom of fireworks set off in the neighborhood.
Fireworks seem like a dangerous indulgence in this drought-crisped countryside!

The local man couldn't repair my camera--a small piece is broken in the battery compartment door.
Any photos I've taken recently have been of poor quality as I need to pinch the door tight while trying to aim and steady the camera.
I shall send it off tomorrow to be rehabilitated--an expensive casualty.
It has been dropped a few times in the 4 years I've owned it. When Mima pushed it from my desk, it simply landed the wrong way.
Since I can't reliably keep the cats from sitting on my desk, the obvious solution would be to keep the camera in its case--in the drawer!


  1. The problem I have with those little tomatoes is that they rarely make it to the kitchen. They just get popped in the mouth out in the garden.

  2. You sound worn out by the heat my dear. Come and join me on my "sick sofa" - I could do with some company!!!

    At least you have some tomato-based juice in the freezer to add flavour to winter soups and stews. If I were relying on my veg. plot for completed sustenance, this year we would die of starvation!

    Sorry that your camera needs open heart surgery - hope it's not too expensive.

  3. I love the sort of westerns that J enjoys. My Husband likes "spaghetti westerns" not the same thing at all. You have to have Indians and a wagon train that gets rescued by the cavalry :-D
    Your description of sitting out on the porch, sounds just perfect.
    We are hopeless with cameras. In the end He bought a toughened case, which we try to remember to use in between times.
    Your fresh veg juice sounds delicious and very nutritious.

  4. What a shame about your camera.
    I love small salad tomatoes ...being ignorant about canning ...why cant you can small ones? You could cook them up with herbs etc and then seive them and freeze ...ready for making bologneses etc.
    I think potato salad of any kind is my favourite summer food ...yum. xx

  5. Sound like a very nice 4th of July along with some good food.

  6. John; We like the larger thin-skinned type--eaten in the garden with juice running everywhere!

    BB; July is not my favorite time of year--I wilt in the heat and tend to feel cross. If there was rain to grow the garden I could at least feel it was worth enduring hot days.

    Kath; I recall when I was a teenager I thought the TV westerns were very romantic--I think what I object to now is such a concentrated dose of them. Surely the man must have seen them all before.
    The veg juice is part of an on-going effort to improve our diet, leaning more toward vegetarian meals.

    Angie; These tomatoes are larger than the 'cherry' types which you see on restaurant buffets, but small enough that by the time they were steamed, cored and peeled it would take a vast amount of them to stew up for canning. I think the tubs of frozen juice will be a good addition to soup or sauces come winter [can anyone contemplate soup in this heat?]

    Lillian; We hadn't planned anything for the 4th--this was impromptu. My SIL is a master hand with the grill and something as simple as burgers and franks became quite festive.

  7. I cooked our tomatoes up into tomato sauce and froze it. It was hot work, but neither of like tomato juice and you can only use so many in salads. I'm thinking of trying fried green tomatoes, I've never had them so we'll see.
    Sorry about your camera, I know what you mean about cats on furniture knocking things off.

  8. That sounds like a fine impromptu family celebration of 4th July! I can understand your worries about stray fireworks in a tinder dry countryside.

    I`m not sure we will have any tomatoes this year. Too little sun and too much wetness.

    I hope your camera soon mends.

  9. Hi Sharon! That's a good use for those little tomatoes. Seems like the drought never bothers them. I too, had the same experience with that cheap potting soil. Very dry an hot here also. At least the tourists are enjoying it!

  10. If you have a basil crop, try putting a bunch of washed leaves in with your tomato juice before freezing. This is what I do to preserve basil, and it's wonderful to have in the depths of winter. I cook the tomatoes, then put the basil in for a few minutes, just to soften it. Hpe you'll soon get some cooler weather...and rain!

  11. I'm so tomatoes are still green. I've been standing here with a knife and bread but don't see any progress. Oh, how I understand the workings of a mischievous cat. Ihave to bloody well nail down everything when Audrey's awake. Your land sounds so peaceful. You must love your evenings sitting outside. Hugs