Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Have You Seen This?

Oh PLEAZEEEEE watch this:


I love cats.... especially when they get caught out!

Bark Bark Bark BARK BARK COugh ark mark.. meow meow mewwwww
We just blasted through South Texas by way of I-10 and I must report the following because it was not what I expected.

First of all, the ride over was typical of I-10; rushed and frantic. It was also filled with rain which didn't help other than to be a cooler trip than the norm for late June.

But riding over the Atchafalaya was a real surprise.... the Henderson Swamp is filled due to the opening of the Morganza Spillway and absolutely beautiful. I have seen in much lower but never this high. And the crops along the highway to the west were stunningly green and full. So I guess the rice production and sugar is going to be a good year.

We managed to flow through Houston with no delay and I love being able to access the HV lane. I lived in Houston when the project was begun and the expansion of this scheme has made transecting a huge city almost something to look forward to. Almost.

Now once we headed down South I-59, I again expected to see the effects of this draught that Texas has been experiencing but nothing of the sort was seen. All the way to Corpus Christi, the fields of sorgum, cotton and what I think was feed corn were amazing. The corn was totally yellow but still there so (and I don't know anything about how they harvest this crop) I assume they were preparing to cut the ears. In spots you could see where the fields had been plowed under but they were for the most part, in rows, as though they were preparing to reseed for something. I would have thought that left fallow, they would not bother with the rowing but again, I don't know.

The cotton in particular was awesome. as far as I could see in places. Now, outside of Corpus Christi is an enormous windfarm.....

(I'll be adding photos to this post after I get a handle on the tomato canning)

While we were gone, the girls kept picking the harvest. This is one shot Rachel sent to my phone. I haven't decided if I am going to remove last year's tally (on the right) or just make a new one to compare results.

So I knew I was going to have a lot to do on our return home. I started yesterday with canning crushed tomatoes in quart sized jars in a pressure cooker. Two of the jars unscrewed and blew the contents in the canner. So out of 6, I got 4 quarts for the pantry but fear not.... I have miles to go and will try again today. I also got 9 pint jars of simple sauce and 6 half-pints of catsup.

Today, I will continue with crushed romas and peaches. (They are really doing great and I will freeze slices as well for winter pies.)

Up-date to come.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Squeezo Press Redux

Last year, I recounted the saga of the Squeezo tomato press and railed about losing so many tomatoes as we waited for it to arrive. This year, life is ever so much different. (I am pleased to say)

Here is it "in action" or at least as in action it could be considering I am alone pressing and shooting photos

The tomatoes go in the hopper ( I have been cutting up Romas only because this Margerita variety is so large, they can't enter the shaft unless I do)(they are very meaty with few seeds)
and the skin and seeds exit out the left while while the pulp flows down the chute into the bowl!

I am able to stay on top of the tomato crop as they ripen this year. So far, all the pulp is going into the freezer until I get so much I can thaw it all out, cook it down and can with the pressure cooker. The house heats up during that process so I don't want to be doing it all the time.

The jalapenos are busting out as well so I'll get busy with those here shortly, too. I grew a new variety, Mucho Nacho, and they are MUCH bigger than the ones last year. Less difficult to clean out.

Here is the latest quilt I have been working on for a recent LSU ag graduate. The Dresden plate blades are fruits and vegetables.... get it? One more border to go and I'l throw it on the machine.


I can't leave without mentioning Stu, best bird ever. He keeps a watchful eye out for the flock and never lets down his guard. I am so glad we have him out there. Good boy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Laying the Groundwork?

She said at a fund-raiser in California on Monday:

First lady Michelle Obama on Monday told a fundraiser in Southern California of the toll the presidency has taken on her husband Barack Obama.

"I see the sadness and worry that's creasing his face," she said to a crowd of about 500 at the Pasadena luncheon organized by the Southern California Women For Obama. She described his worth ethic as “tireless,” according to pool reports.

"He reads every word, every memo, so he is better prepared than the people briefing him," she said. "This man doesn't take a day off."

She said the next two years of campaigning would be difficult for the Obamas and their supporters. "It is not going to be easy, and it is going to be long," she said. "Now more than ever we need your help to finish what we started."

And he said in an interview in Miami Tuesday morning:
President Barack Obama says his wife and daughters aren't "invested" in him being president and would have been fine had he decided against running for re-election. But he says they believe in what he's doing for the country.
Asked about his family's reaction to his wanting another term, Obama said: "Michelle and the kids are wonderful in that if I said, `You know, guys, I want to do something different,' They'd be fine. They're not invested in daddy being president or my husband being president."
He says first lady Michelle Obama would be the first one to encourage him to do something "a little less stressful" if she no longer thought that what they were doing was worthwhile for the country.

Is this a trial balloon? Is President Obama going to bow out of the 2012 election?

What Makes This Special?

They didn't get angry. They didn't curse. Frank didn't stomp off. Rita didn't cry. They didn't give up.

They laughed at their incompetence and kept trying. I love them. No wonder they look so good at 80

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Horns of a Dilemma

When you plant a variety of good things to eat and they all ripen at the same time, the burning question I find myself asking is, "What's for breakfast?"

I could have this: I have discovered that peanut butter on toast is good but even better when you pair it with a peach.

But it only improves when you pare the peach and sprinkle the pieces on top!

Those are the "Tropic Snow" peaches, a small white-fleshed free-stone peach developed in Florida for locations that have a lower number of chill-hours. They are delicious!

But then, again, the black- & raspberries and blueberries are almost finished and you couldn't blame me if I went with the Greek yogurt and mixed berries, right?

Still, we have a mountain of amazing tomatoes now that call out for consumption and I love me a good mayo and 'mater sammich!

What to do? What is a girl to do?

I know!! I ate every one. And then I went back for the other half of that sammich! HAHAhahaha


Some of the tomatoes this year.
From the 12 o'clock postion and moving clockwise: we have the Costoluto Genovese, a weirdly shaped, wonderfully flavored tomato that grows huge plants and fruit. A really good producer so far. (Parks Seeds) (I've been mispronouncing the name as Convolustos. That's what they SHOULD be called)

Beefsteak, the classic summer tomato. Don't know where the benefactor of the plant got the seeds.

Cherokee Purple at 3 o'clock. Huge heirloom tomatoes, slightly fussy plant. The taste is out-standing and worthy of respect. (Parks Seeds)

Mosaico Cherries: these are much larger than the cherry 100s I usually plant and I was intrigued by the description in Parks catalogue. Very happy with the fruit.

6 o'clock: Here are Juliet romas. Don't know where they were purchased. These have a nice flavor but are smaller than the Margharita. I'll use them in salads instead of sauces.

The smaller cherries are Organic Sweeties. They have a bright flavor and the two plants are loaded, I mean LOADED with tomatoes.

The large Romas are Margheritas and they are very meaty; I am really excited to start pulping them for canning sauces. (Parks Seeds)

In the center is the Eva Purple. This is the one Parks sent as a bonus package last year. It arrived too late in the spring to bother with adding last year but I was curious about the plant and did not see it in the catalogue this year. So I seeded them and got lots of plants. I planted 4 of them in the raised bed and gave the rest away. I really hope the people who got them had the success we have experienced because I really like them. I intend to collect seeds from one of the fruit for next year because I don't know where I will find commercial seeds again. I read on the pack that they are heirloom.

Still to come and almost there: Razzleberry, Brandywine and Money Makers.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Old Gypsy Curse *

We have been quite short on rain since Mardi Gras so it's no wonder we've been grousing as we drag hoses around, endlessly, to keep the fruit and veg happy.

I've been praying for a little in, "WOULD IT SPOIL SOME VAST ETERNAL PLAN?????? Just a little, fer cryin' out loud!?"

So, we got slammed last night with a terrific storm and at one point I was fairly certain hail was coming down. The wind was so severe my car was drenched. Under the carport.

I knew there would be damage but it was more than I expected. Far more. Half the corn was keeled over, 10 tomato plants totally on the ground. Yea. Well, this is why I plant more than necessary..... you never know!

I didn't plant more corn than I wanted and even with that, what little we did plant didn't come up as well as we had hoped so the corn might be a bust but we soldier on.

I spent 2.5 hours out there banging stakes in the ground and tying up what I could, throwing broken fruit away and harvesting what was salvageable.

It's a good thing I harvest every morning. This is what I picked yesterday morning:

* "May You Get What You Think You Want!"

LK and I stopped by Cane's for lunch yesterday and they had all these pretty flowers planted around the parking lot.
So Pretty!