Putting the garden to bed…

Summer session (school)  wiped out my garden. That is, I didn’t have enough time to tend it, and it went a bit wild. Today, I mostly put the garden to bed. There’s some basil still in, and the peppers need final harvest, but all of the cruft is cleared out, and I’ll have to turn the soil soon. That and a quick threshing of the hay (the back “lawn” was well over 12″ tall) just about finished up my day. I spent a while playing Witcher 2, a fun RPG. A new release this week brought a very useful new tutorial stage, which helped me tune up the skills needed to enjoy the game instead of just thrashing my way through it.

Tomorrow: shopping, coffee roasting, and schoolwork.

OMG, Tomatoes!

Tomatoes much?

Tomatoes much?

Yeah, forty or more pounds of tomatoes out of the garden today. And that was after a morning and early afternoon spent working with Marcia restructuring her sewing and fabric rooms. Tired now: I made gallon of salsa, and started another lobster pot of red sauce. Last weeks was down enough to transfer to another pot. I’ll be freezing that batch tomorrow, and cooking down the new batch, too.

But I’ve *got* to do some schoolwork tomorrow, too. I wanted to mow, as well, but I’m running out of hours and days … less than 18 months if all goes to plan, then school is done. Whew. Whoops! Time to walk the little dog for her last outing of the day. Ciao!

 

Seven Down, Five To Go

July is wound down, days are getting a bit shorter, and while the heat is with us for another month or so, I can already see the end of the year. Time seems to go a bit faster with each passing year, eh? But summer isn’t over yet: the tomatoes, as you saw below, are in full production.

I took most of that stack and made a red sauce yesterday: 20# of tomatoes, a couple of onions, a bunch of garlic, half a cup of olive oil, two small cans of tomato paste, five bay leaves, and a bottle of 2007 Turning Leaf Merlot. That simmered all afternoon, making the house smell wonderful.

Today, I used up the rest of the potatoes, making up another two week’s worth of lunches (with mild Italian sausage and spinach). Late this afternoon, I browned up 3# of turkey, and added some chopped peppers from the garden, some more sautéed onion, a couple of large cans of dark red kidney beans, some chili powder and dried cumin. To that I added about a third of the sauce that I made yesterday, for a big pot of killer chili. Between the wine and the fresh tomatoes, the sauce is a bit sweet, but that mostly cooks out over time.

In between all the cooking, I made a big dent in the third SQL project for my database class. I’ve got until next Sunday evening to get that completed.

*    *    *

Dammit! I skipped a beat there. For just a second, I thought there were no new casualties reported since last weekend! Too good to be true, and my eyes picked out the one report … Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

2nd Lt. Jered W. Ewy, 33, of Edmond, Oklahoma, died July 29 at Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Spc. Augustus J. Vicari, 22, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, died July 29 at Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Sundry

Events of the last couple of days were … relatively uneventful. That is, my ‘oscopy was much more unpleasant to prepare for than it was to sleep through. The doc reported snipping out something small, and biopsy results pend until Tuesday, but either way, it ain’t the big C. Depending on the type, I get another screening in three years, or in five. I’ll be happier with five, thanks. And Marcia’s molar extraction in the afternoon was as simple as could be hoped for: no jackhammering, and minimal pain already today.

*    *    *

The summer garden

The summer garden

The summer garden is doing fine. It’s hot and humid these days – they say the heat index yesterday was in the 115 degree range. I do know that the thermometer which is in the shade after noon, peaked over 102 by mid-afternoon. This morning, it was up over 90 by 9 AM. But anything that isn’t heat tolerant in full sun ain’t doing so good. The cucumbers are almost done, the zucchini is long gone. The beans are nearly toast between the sun and the Japanese beetles (but they’re still producing). Tomatoes and peppers are coming into their own…

Second crop basil

Second crop basil

The new batch of basil is well started, as you can see. And what’s coming out of the garden now makes me very happy, even though it’s a month later than I’d hoped for…

Fresh from the garden

Fresh from the garden

Just Like A Thingy…

It Came From The Garden

It Came From The Garden

The green beans and tomatoes are welcome, but I think I’m going to have to put the cucumber on eBay … It’ll probably prove to be as popular as Baldrick’s turnip.

 

What To Do?

6.25# of pesto sauce

6.25# of pesto sauce

Over 6# of pesto, all told. Just looking at it, I gain weight … and happiness.

Pesto preservation

Pesto preservation

I preserve the pesto by freezing it in ice cube trays. I turn the pesto cubes out into a bag and keep frozen. Handy for pulling out just what’s needed for a meal or two at a time. I have no idea how many trays all told; Two at a time is going to take a while.

Neonatal salsa

Neonatal salsa

The ingredients are sufficient for salsa. Tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro, and garlic. Only the garlic isn’t from our garden. And yes, that’s too much onion. I’ll find another use for the two that didn’t go…

Salsa on the menu

Salsa on the menu

… into the salsa. There’s still some left, but we’d already put a dent in it by the time I thought to get the camera back out. Only a one-jar batch. Once the tomatoes are rolling, I tend to do a steel bowl full, which is just about a gallon. That much salsa might last a week. This batch will be lucky to last for the day.

Bright and Cheery

More tiger lilies...

More tiger lilies...

For those who wanted more tiger lilies, there you go. On the other hand, for those that like pesto:

Harvested basil

Harvested basil

Laid out on the counter, you see about 25% of the basil I harvested in today. It’s a mix of about half large leaf Italian and half sweet basil. In the bag on the blue tray is another quarter. The remaining half of the basil is already pesto, in the fridge. I’d have kept processing, but I ran out of pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese. So, I’ll whip up the second two batches tomorrow, and freeze the lot. I did put a generous helping on to the penne pasta this evening, along with fresh tomato and some mild italian sausage. Yes, you do see some more tomatoes in the background there. They might be enough for a small batch of salsa. That could happen tomorrow, too.

Be well.

GOLD! Errr, Vegetables!

Cucumber, beans, and tomatoes: Hurrah!

Cucumber, beans, and tomatoes: Hurrah!

It’s getting to be happy veggie time, fo’ shuzzle. This evening’s haul was everything I could fit into and balance on top of a stainless gallon bowl. Sure looks pretty, right? It’s delicious, too. I put tomatoes and green beans in with my pasta and chicken for supper. Absolutely superior. Soon … Salsa. Another week, perhaps. And out front, the tiger lilies are once again spectacular.

Tiger lily, up close and personal

Tiger lily, up close and personal

The day’s gone fairly well, too. The temps are down 10 degrees from the peak a couple of days ago, and the humidity is down, too. I was able to walk Lexi after supper without breaking a major sweat. After helping out with Marcia’s appointments today, I made a big dent in the next database class project. The “hard” stuff is done, now I’m just making up fake data and proving that I can retrieve it again. While many students are using the Oracle 10g instance running on one of the school’s big Solaris servers, I’ve downloaded and installed Oracle 11g Express Edition for Linux. Works like a champ, although I’ll bet dollars to donuts that Ubuntu current isn’t an Oracle supported platform, eh?

Back to the grindstone mines. Ciao!