Wednesday, August 4, 2010

midweek mumblings

I am so over summer, it can  go directly into fall now! I do not mind warm and heat but dang, we could sure use a break and have a completely rainy, dreary day that  keeps  us inside once in a little while. I do not think it has gotten below 78 in the shack in  months,  I am sick of listening to the hum of the fan  and I need a week of laziness and rain!

I really am working on a garden update but I like to do them  on rainy days when I have nothing better to do. Since we rarely get more than a two minute sprinkle these days it does not leave me with much time  to spend and  put my efforts in to something that takes a few hours of my time to do except what has to be done. With the manthing  off and working, boy does that  sound funny,  my time is even less to be parked on my butt.

But, for a quick update most things are doing pretty good. The main tomato bed is looking pretty ragged and played out so I gave all of them a major  hair cut and hopefully they will perk back up. The ones in the hot tub are just beginning to produce  harvest-able fruits.  They are supposed to be tiny toms and only grow to about 18 inches tall and be suitable for containers but  mine are ginormous  and are more like trees than  maters. I aint complaining though as we can use all  the tomatoes  we can get.

The tobacco is  cruising along and growing at lightning speed now and so are its worms. Blech! This has now become my job  too  and it is gross. I run around with  little scissors in my hand and rather than  pull them off I chop them  up into pieces. Gross I know but it is better than touching them. We are beginning to harvest more tobacco now and topping is a regular chore. When the plants start throwing shoots off   we are actually taking the main plant off and leaving the new growth this year to see if that brings our yields up any. The car port is starting to get  full of hanging  plants and leaves now and the odor of curing  tobacco  is ever present.  

The winter squash are starting to ripen and some of the plants are beginning to die back now. This morning I plucked about 150 pounds  of the N GA roasters with oodles more left on the vines. The butternuts just keep making  more babies and growing like mad as are the acorn and all of the other types that I have planted. I really do  not know what we will do with all of this winter squash but it was suggested I start a  winter squash, 365  meals type of blog and  I just may before I am done.

The okra is finally coming in  enough  so that I can begin preserving some of that rather than just having an occasional meal of it. Yes, I went almost as much overboard on the okra as I did with  the winter squash but at least I know  that when we are sick of it I can let it all dry and use the seed for a coffee substitute. All of the  fall seedlings that I planted last week are now up  and growing quickly. I still can not plant the fall seeds a it is just too hot. Hopefully a break will come in the heat soon so that I can get them in  or we will be without a fall garden and have to go directly to winter  gardens.The first plantings of summer squash and  cucumbers are beginning to die back but the late plantings are all  flowering and have babies on them. One of my eggplants has finally got a baby   and most of the corn is coming along pretty well. One patch  is pretty nasty looking but  it is located in the desert portion of  ground and with it being so dry  it will just have to die a slow horrible death  and be fed out to the goats. They won't mind a bit that it has no corn on it.

On the personal side of things,  manthing  and I are both surviving the first week of  his being gone all week. It is very strange and Monday was  the longest day in the world EVER, but the rest of the week has gone ok. I also got my grades back from  my  first block of courses and   got A's, so contrary to belief I still have a few of my brains cells in tact.  Hopefully, Friday we will get some rain and I can spend some time to get things online caught up.

Monday, August 2, 2010

simple supper-cream of tomato soup

One of my favorite summer meals is soup and salad with  garlic bread.  We enjoy quite a variety of fresh summer soups  made from garden produce and one of my favorites is cream of tomato. There are oodles of recipes out there for making soups but I do not tend to use one. Depending on  my mood and what I am up for depends on how I make it.  The base recipe I use for all my cream  of  tomato  soups   follows.We generally eat the soup as a plain soup  but it it also good with  rice in it, cheese on top, veggies thrown in or with different herbs  thrown in. The last time we had  our simple supper I served it with a simple cuke salad(ranch dressing,  cukes, green onion, salt  and pepper) and some cheesy toast.

To prepare the tomatoes  for the soup I blanch them for a minute,  peel and whirl in the blender or food processor along with the onion  and garlic
3 cup cooked tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove  garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter
1 qt. milk
 melt butter in  large pan, add flour  stir and add 1 cup milk, stir until thick and add remainder of milk and rest of spices. Throw in tomato mixture, stir and heat.


Been a crazy week around the homestead and part of why I have not been updating . Mind you, it is not  a bad crazy but one that will require major adjustments on the part of both  the manthing and myself.  He has gotten a new job but one with some crazy hours attached to it and  what seems like will be a lot of traveling and time away from the homestead.

Last week he got a call from a place that he had  sent his resume to over the last two years a couple, few time  and they wanted an interview with him an hour later. He returned and they wanted a DMV report so we went and got that, dropped it back by the company and was told he would start the next day. The Lord blessed us yet again and just  on time too. It is awesome how well he truly takes care of us. We had just 5 weeks left of unemployment left  before manthing was  going to be what  has been dubbed a "99 weeker."

The first day he worked over 14 hours, so much for a slow break in period  after a dang near two year vacation. There were a few issues we had with things and were not sure if  the new job was going to work out but the bossman called, things got worked out (we think) and  oh by the way can you go out of town for five days this week.

This morning, bright and early  the manthing pulled out for  his first full week back at work.A week with a flushing  indoor pooper, hot and running  water, air conditioning, GMO additive filled garbage known as food, an idiot box, a real bed and work. Things we have had no part of over the  last two years. I am home with   all the critters, school, a hundred million tons of veggies to put back and all the chores of the homestead.  It is definitely going to take some getting used to and acclimating ourselves to  this new situation we are in. I do not know if either one of us will " like" the situation we are now in but it will give us a bit more financial security over  time and  give him more experience in the same, but new, field that he has already worked in for 25 years. It will be interesting to see how we both adjust to our new roles over time  and  it sure will be quiet around here.