right now

right now

Jul 6, 2012

The "Whatever" Garden...

Took a deep breath and went into the garden this morning...

I was going to clean this pigsty of a house today, but it looks like now I have other plans.

Salsa, anyone?

Snapped this one last night while out running the kids to music lessons, check out the time!

Just stupid hot, time to break out the old Redneck Heat Detector, one of my favorite web images :)

Today's harvest brings me over the 100 lb mark finally!  With no peas, carrots or garlic this year and a short bean run I was worried that I'd reach that mark at all!  I don't even want to speculate on what the end of summer total will be since every day I get tomatoes with the heat and disease and drought is a bonus day to me.  

Interesting difference to this year's garden, no water!  I can't quite believe it myself, but since I wasn't feeling so into gardening this year I decided to try the lazy approach and see if the plants would just "toughen up".   In other years, I'm out there batting mosquitoes and watering almost every day but I haven't watered yet this year, and it's not raining either - our grass is so dry we haven't mowed in 3 weeks!  No soil amendments, just throw away the blossom end rot veggies and shrug "whatever", when the wind blows the tomatoes down they stay down, too lazy this summer.  Yet nice tomatoes are still there, and as a matter of fact none of them are cracked like usual years.  Interesting.

Jul 5, 2012

4th of July Celebrating

We had a fun morning yesterday - we had a nice potluck breakfast and children's bike parade at church. Really nice that we were at it by 9 am and done by 11 before the heat got too intense.  Before breakfast our congregation sang an impromptu National Anthem without accompaniment and I'll admit we sounded pretty darn good - lots of wet eyes during that one :), of course we are a largely military congregation so we are patriotic to the nth degree!  It was a great morning and lots of fun for the kids and grownups.

Having a little fun with the 4th of July harvest:

I was up early to assemble the annual Patriotic Trifle...


Finn with his scooter all ready for the parade!

Did someone say it was for kids?  I didn't catch that!  Of course my Beach Betty had to be decorated for the 4th of July too, she lives for this stuff!  (And I made the hubs put some flair on his roller skates!)

Kids all lined up and ready to roll...

The Bike Parade!  
(hubby is bringing up the rear on his skates)

Afterwards, I spent the middle of the day inside catching up on my magazine pileup, hubby and the boys went to the pool on base for awhile, I don't know how they can take the heat.

After dinner, the hubs and Finn went out for a paddle around the inlet near the oceanfront.  Loch stuck with me, I guess we are the wimps who can't take the temps outside.

We all headed to the beach to watch the fireworks once it got dark (still 93º at 8:30 pm).  I'll spare you photos of fireworks, I know that's kind of annoying so I don't take them.  I really wish I could have better captured the stunning moon we saw rise up over the Atlantic, it was bright orange and really pretty, but you will just have to take my word for it since my little camera doesn't do fancy moons :)

Trust me, it was orange and awesome.

And what is it with RUDE people today?????  The entire time we were watching fireworks all the people around us were blinding us with camera flashes and lit up phone screens in the dark, ugh!!!

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July full of time spent with family and friends and good food!

Now where's that towel I was going to throw in?

I'll have a couple of posts to catch up today.  After the storms and temps consistently above 101º for the past week, I'm suffering a bit of a funk and actually contemplating ripping out the whole garden, even though I am harvesting!  I just don't want to go out there.  At all.  I consider myself lucky though, because as of this morning there are still 199,000 folks in Virginia still without power.  For days... I really feel for them.  I still suffer PTSD from one year of over a week without power or water in 90 degree temps, I wouldn't wish that on anyone, ever.

I managed to harvest a few armfuls of things over the past week, I know it's not ideal but I was picking at about 9 pm instead of first thing in the morning.

Tomato Lineup:  Brandywine, Brandywine, Hillbilly, Old Virginia, Orange Wellington, Orange Wellington, Virginia Roma, in the center are "Currant Tomatoes". 

 If you have room to grow just one of the Currant Tomatoes I HIGHLY recommend it - they are really tasty, tiny and well behaved in a pot even though they are indeterminate.  They are perfect for snacking and salads and if you get a bunch just pinch each one between your fingers to get out the excess water and dry for excellent sun dried tomatoes in no time.  They are really tiny, about the size of your thumbnail or smaller.

Another day saw more tomatoes, cukes, zucchini, squash and the last of the pole beans.  I will start another crop in a few weeks hopefully.  These just fried in the sun the past week.

Brandywine Tomato, last of the lettuce (bitter!), and some refrigerator pickles for veggie burgers one night.  I did not touch up the color at all - Brandywines continue to amaze me every year and are probably the only thing that keeps me peeking into the garden in the evenings during this heat!

The rest of the tomatoes were made into fresh salsa with bell peppers, jalapeños, onions and cilantro from the garden, these jars went into the freezer for yummy salsa this winter.  It's the one reliable way to get fresh tomato taste onto burgers in the off season.

Tuesday I woke the kids up super early to hit the blueberry farm for some berry picking before the heat got too intense.  This year is the earliest crop our area has seen since 1980, and the 6-8 ft tall blueberry bushes are bending nearly halfway to the ground loaded with berries.  The farm we normally go to was closed so we found another I didn't know about before and picked about 4 lbs before it became insane, 93 degrees by 9:30 am no thank you.  This place was awesome, the berries had a taste that was more like the northern berries which I like best :).  The stand was run by a handsome young man in his early 20's and while we were chatting a lady drove up (maybe mom?) and told us that he tended to those bushes like they were his babies LOL... it shows, they are delicious!  So nice to see part of the younger generation passionate about food & farming and actually doing it.  He also gave us several ears of corn that is starting to come in at no charge while we were there, thank you to the folks at Beatson's Blueberry Farm, your berries were even better than the farm we used to go to and we will be back and tell everyone we know about you!  Bonus is that this farm looks like a smaller operation than what we used to go to so I am happy to help support them.

Even I can't reach the tops of many Southern Highbush Blueberries, but Loch was giving it his best shot despite me telling him the best ones are underneath it all.

On the way home we also stopped by another stand to get some local peaches.

The photo doesn't do justice to the size of the sweet potato below, but trust me it was jaw dropping!

Home to freeze the blueberries and prepare treats for the 4th of July...


I'll put the rest in a 4th of July post and am still promising Loch I will get his camp photos up soon... this heat has just sucked the wind right out of my sails and I am in desperate need of motivation and energy, as I am sure you all are right now!

...just ran out and got the mail, it was too hot to touch!  I also want to apologize for being so bad about catching up on my blog reading this week, I am scheduling time this evening to sit down with a cold drink and catch up on how this heat wave is affecting the rest of you and find out how you are staying sane!