September 11th 2019
Here we are in the middle of September. Time just seems to be traveling a break neck speed for me. Fall clean up continues. Those little nooks and crannies of the yard that get over grown every year have out done themselves once again. Even the tomatoes in the compost pile tried to take over the area. The thing about volunteer tomatoes is the season isn't long enough for them to produce much. The plants are very strong and robust but they are two months behind in growth compared to those started indoors. By the time they start producing the season is almost over. Well, that's how it works here in Nebraska anyway.
Yard cleanup continues. I'm almost done with the backyard but the side yard needs attention as well. This year has been the worst year for out of control weeds. Time for me was premium for other things and weather conditions were very favorable for weed growth. The garden I did have got off to a slow start with cold weather continuing into June. Then it turned super hot with temps in the upper 90s every day for a couple weeks. Garden plants as well as people didn't know what to think. Starting about the middle of July things kind of leveled out and relatively mild weather was on tap for the last part of July and August normally our hottest months. Snow and rain has kept the moisture above normal all year.
There's a big cottonwood tree about 10 feet away from my picnic table at Terra Nova Gardens. It provides wonderful shade for the table but as you can see there's an issue with the tree. It's been pointed out several times that this is poison oak. I've not been bothered with it in the almost nine years of working at Terra Nova Gardens but others might so I have decided to tackle the death of poison oak. I don't like chemicals so my thought is to chop out a chunk of the main vine at the base and let it die on the tree. It has been symbiotic with this tree so long that some sections of the vine is buried in the tree. The tree has actually grown around the vine. So I'll dress up with old hat, face mask, long sleeve shirt, thick gloves, long pants, and old shoes to face the task of killing poison oak. Immediately after the deed is done, a total clothes change will happen. The old clothes will be bagged up and thrown out. When I was young, poison ivy didn't bother me but I've heard that as we age that could change so I'm not taking any chances.
This weekend is moving time for my youngest daughter. They are moving from apartment living to a modular home rental. One step closer to having their own home which is the ultimate goal. Fortunately she had hired movers for the big stuff. I really don't like to personally move but do like to help others move. I've lived in my present place 35 years and don't plan on moving any time soon. One positive thing I have noticed about moving is that it forces a cleansing of unused stuff. Lord knows that I have plenty of that hanging around. I am trying to get better at giving away or throwing away unused stuff.
I've begun the preserving of the tomato harvest. It's trickling in slowly. I've tried a new method of preserving this year. When I get a few tomatoes I chuck them up and throw them in the crockpot skins and all to simmer for a few hours. Then I put them in jars. The hot liquid will seal the jar for temporary storage in the refrigerator. When there's enough for a full canner of tomatoes (8 quarts), the tomatoes will be opened, heated up, and simmered again before putting in the Ball quart jars and canned in the bath canner. When ever I use tomatoes they are always blended so after all that processing, I'm thinking leaving the skins on won't be that much of an issue. It's a whole lot easier that skinning the tomatoes before canning. I have found my steel 10 quart pot that will heat of the tomatoes for the final canning. I was just outside for a watering spree and found that there are many more tomatoes to be processed. Yum!! It looks like there will be a lot of tomato based soups this winter. My favorite is chili. 👍 I'm waiting for a cool day to fire up the stove for canning tomatoes. It usually takes a couple hours to do a batch but it might be less since they only need heating up and put in the jars. It takes a long time to bring that big water bath canner up to boiling and keep it there for 30 to 40 minutes. Really all that's required is 10 minutes if the tomatoes are boiling hot but I like to error way over on the side of safety.
Wednesday September 18thI helped with moving my daughter this last weekend and am now recovering from a back strain. I just don't learn and this is not the first time I've had to slow down and recover from a back strain. It usually goes away in a week or two. In the mean time things that need doing that are not getting done. I gives me a humbling perspective on what it's like for those that get laid up with injuries.
Life goes on with taking care of the aging dog twice a day for my cousin, shopping for my Mother in law, getting my grandson home from school every day, and help my aging neighbor that can't drive get up to see his wife in the skilled nursing facility. Some say I try to do to much but I kind of like being on the go and staying busy. Some day I'll have to slow down but just not today.
So until the next time, I'll be cleaning up the garden in the backyard, canning up more tomatoes, mowing grass, and helping who I can with their needs. Have a great Fall.