It Has To Get Worse Before It Gets Better

After a short run of beautiful, perfect, warm, throw-open-your-windows days, the heat and humidity are back.

The garden is keeping things busy around here.

As Attila slept I wandered through the morning garden. The early mornings are lovely, even on the these oppressively hot and humid days. The Veestar Strawberry plants needed weeding, and there were quite a few Ground Cherries to harvest. Then it was time to sit and watch the birds and the bees. Speaking of which, I have discovered how to pollinate blossoms on Peppers, Tomatillos and Tomatoes! Sex with plants! I use an electric toothbrush to vibrate the blossoms and move the pollen. It seems to work. I could of course say more about this, but discretion is the better part of valour.

Later Attila awoke and brought his morning coffee out to the porch. I love mornings.

Later in the morning I made squares with the Ground Cherries. But the highlight of my morning was a late breakfast, a Toasted Tomato Sandwich, with freshly sliced sweet Onion, and wee bit of Mayonnaise and Black Pepper. Heavenly! I had the same for breakfast yesterday, and was so intent on how good it was, that I ate it standing up at the counter, without thinking of sitting down at the table. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen, and my sandwich was made with the first ripe Tomato, a Beefsteak. It was a little compromised, a mouse had chewed on it near the stem, but there was plenty left when that part was cut away. Our Tomatoes are quite late this year. That is because they were all started from seed, and Attila started his seeds late. Next year the little greenhouse, topping the raised bed, will be put into service much earlier in the spring. The wonderful thing about the garden is that every year we learn, and improve. It is also a feature that the weather is never the same two years in a row, and all kinds of factors come into play in a garden, so it is never routine, or boring.

A batch of Zucchini-Pineapple is in the steam canner this afternoon, and another batch of Dill Slices are being considered for tomorrow. The cucumbers are slowing down now, so harvested one by one, they need to accumulate until I have the required four pounds. One came in this afternoon, and Attila says another will be ready tomorrow, so it just might be a pickle making day. On Friday I canned 5 500-ml jars of Cowboy Candy using Jalapeno peppers from the garden, so good!

This year the Jalapeno Peppers were planted in my raised bed, as I requested. They are doing very well, this was our first harvest. Behind the bowl is the mandolin, this device means business. Perhaps a bit of overkill for these little Peppers, but it made handling hot peppers easy.

A second project is adding to the chaos of harvest and preservation season. Actually, the second project is all about chaos. Organizing the basement has now begun in earnest. Every spare moment is spent down there, moving things from one location to another, then moving them again, and again, and again. Things are just too crowded to organize in one fell swoop. This morning Attila finished building an interior wall, which will help to eliminate light in the food storage area. Food canned in glass jars needs to be stored in a dark place.

This feels like moving in all over again. Items are backed up into the kitchen, living room, and bedroom, which were already full to capacity. There are only two chairs available to sit in, one at the table, which Attila usually uses, and the other is my easy chair. My easy chair is a bit of a challenge to get to, through a little maze of bags of food and canning jars, and equipment boxes, and seed boxes, etc. We manage. I keep telling myself this is temporary, temporary, temporary. And it is, but that is so easy to forget when your belongings are stacked up around you. Things have to get worse before they get better.

A lot of canning has been going on, and surprisingly two jars have failed to seal. This is not a problem, they just get popped into the refrigerator for immediate consumption. But it is disappointing that two lids did not seal. That is only two out of over 100 jars. Still, this is a first, the metal lids have never before failed to seal for me. The lids are those that came with Golden Harvest jars, a cheaper brand of jars, so I wonder if the lids are of lower quality, or perhaps this year’s production of lids is of lower quality. I don’t think it is me, not after 50 years of canning without failures.

A few cabbages have matured, and tonight’s dinner was a delicious Instant Pot Cabbage Roll Casserole. Home grown cabbage is a wonderful treat, oh so good. With garden produce like the cabbage, that isn’t grown in large quantities, the most practical thing is to eat it immediately upon harvesting. Our garden is giving us a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, along with large quantities of things we like to preserve, such as Cucumbers for Pickles, and Zucchini for Zucchini-Pineapple, Tomatoes for Tomato Sauce, and Green Tomato Chow Chow. This year, if we have any surplus of Green Tomatoes, a batch of Green Tomato Mincemeat will be in order.

The day wound down in the kitchen, with Attila using the stem ends of the Jalapeno peppers to make a hot sauce, and me making Switchel for his lunches for the coming week.

So that is us at the end of a very satisfying weekend. It feels pretty good to be this busy, each little chore that is completed is a little ray of sunshine in our lives.

I have been self-isolating for six months now, a surreal experience. If this Pandemic runs its course in two years, I am a quarter of the way through my isolation. Something to think about. Stay safe dear friends!

Worldly

Weather

25°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Sunday 23 August 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 25.4°C
Dew point: 21.6°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: S 9 km/h
Humidex: 34
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier.”
Kathleen Norris
1947 –

8 Comments

  1. Joan+Brennan

    Hi my friend!
    Here’s something I do based on a wonderful dish I had in Croatia. And it doesn’t take any cooking, freezing, pickling, nor space in any fridge or freezer- just somewhere cool to stash a pail. Here’s a recipe that goes into detail. It uses lactic acid fermentation -salt and water only. Or you can add different flavours. I only used garlic.
    Kiseli Kupus
    https://www.thespruceeats.com/soured-cabbage-heads-recipe-croatian-1137364
    I used a small lidded pail. and made 2 heads only. And the cabbage rolls? (called Sarma) are very delicious!

  2. Thanks Joannie! We made Sauerkraut with our cabbage last year and it was fantastic, but all our efforts after that molded, not sure why, but we used store bought cabbage for the stuff that failed. Maybe its time to try again! I am adapting my recipes to the Instant Pot these days, so the Cabbage Roll Casserole only takes about 15 minutes to put together, and I can talk Attila into chopping the vegetables, because he thinks I am not fussy enough cutting out undesirable bits, lol. 🙂

  3. Sandy

    We have another heatwave coming our way too. I don’t mind because the evenings are nice and cool. I now have a bunch of very tall sunflowers, other wildflowers and Geraniums in my little balcony garden. I was thrilled to see a hummingbird chowing down on a sunflower.
    What is in Cowboy Candy besides the peppers?
    I admire how you and Attila get so much done in a day!
    Stay cool!!

  4. Anonymous, NOT a fact, there are no facts about Covid. But some scientists have speculated, based on inadequate data, that it will be two years or more before the height of the Pandemic subsides, without a vaccine. But there just might be a vaccine in 2021, who knows. In Russia they are innoculating their population with a vaccine that the Russian authorities claim is safe, but I’ve heard nothing more about it, so I wonder how well that has gone. The other upside is that new legitimate studies have indicated that humans, once exposed, will be immune for quite a while, which will help to curb the spread. Another upside is that the medical community continues to improve treatments. So in reality nobody knows what will happen going forward. Things will change, that is all I know for certain, they already have, and hopefully for the better going forward. I feel we don’t have to outlive this virus spread to live happy fulfilled lives. I think of a photographic project that took pictures of families all over the world, rich and poor, posed with what they ate in a month (I think a month, could have been a week though). The happiest, most relaxed people were the absolute poorest, a woman and three children, beaming with happiness, squatted beside their jugs of water and bags of grains and legumes – no meats, no dairy, nothing that we here in North America think we have to have. That taught me something about worry and happiness, it affected me deeply. Anyway, I think we will be fine, we have wonderful things we are doing, wonderful people to interact with, enough to eat, warmth in the winter… well you get the picture. I think that for most of us, if we are cautious, Covid will be avoided, most but not all, because we aren’t in total control, which was true pre-Pandemic, so that is life. A bit long winded, yes?

  5. Sandy, your balcony garden sounds wonderful! I admire your gardening skills, as I tried gardening on my deck at the country house and it was a resounding failure. I haven’t tried it since. I do have my raised beds, they are great, so maybe I would do better now. How wonderful that you had a hummingbird visit!
    My Cowboy Candy has:
    2 lbs stemmed and slice jalapeno peppers
    1 lb thinly slivered onions
    4 cups cider vinegar
    6 c. sugar
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1/2 tsp celery seeds
    2 tbsp mustard seeds
    3 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp cayenne
    I water bath can this, but I think you could make it and keep it in the refrigerator, and eat it up within a month or so. It has a lot of sugar, so it really is candy, Attila’s favourite candy. The recipes on the web don’t include the onions, but I do. If you are canning it be sure to look up the recipe and follow the canning instructions.

  6. Joan, so far so good where I am, in regard to the Pandemic. But that can turn on a dime, you just never know, and it doesn’t do to be complacent. Two years is the projection I can cope with at the moment, so I go with that for now. You are right, who knows! I hope you and Julia are still kicking when it is done and dusted, as well as everyone else here!!
    Stay safe dear friend!

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