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Archive for August, 2010

There aren’t words enough in my writing repertoire to describe the awful crush of work both at home and at the squadron this past month, or explain why it is I left off 5 weeks ago with a post about baking bread and then, this long silence.

Sometimes we just have to do what needs done to survive, amidst the frenzy of events and demands on our time and energy that life throws at us.  That pretty much sums up July/August for me.  I am hopeful that the whitewater rapids are behind, and I can paddle at a slower pace now without fear of flipping over and drowning.  I am exhausted, my arms ache, and I need a rest.

Amidst it all, I kept up with the summer vegetable harvest, the bread baking, the hanging out of laundry, the bill-paying and lawn mowing, while Bear was out at sea.  And my plodding, just-in-time, herculean efforts in the garden saved 40 beautiful heirloom tomato plants from certain death in the recent August heat, which makes every drop of sweat worth it. 

The picture above shows only the starting point of preparing their permanent growing bed; once again, words fail me, or perhaps I’m just being lazy, at describing how much damned work it was.  You can see the huge clods of hard-packed granite fill.  You can see the tomato plants perched on the wall, peering down, hopeful and expectant for rich, moist, deep soil to fling their roots into.  I was caught in between, and it was only their soulful urging and the promise of the harvest to come that gave me the energy and will to finish this project.

Yes, my tomato plants begged me to persevere, and for them, I did.  I could not have done it without their voices in my ear every time I went down to water them in their little pots.  The digging and hauling out of the granite went so slowly and my time was so limited, I had to repot them into 1-gallon containers to buy another 2 weeks of time.  And in the nick of time, my dear friend Liz offered to haul a load of topsoil in last Sunday, enough to finish filling the bed and get my babies planted before the heat arrived.  Thank you so much, Liz.  My choir of tomato plants are singing your praises, can you hear them?

That’s 38 lovely tomato plants settling in to 75 square feet of deep-dug heaven, each with a 7-foot pole to climb and hold onto as they reach for the sky.  If it seems a little late to be starting tomatoes, keep in mind this is San Diego, where our spring-like autumns let us harvest tomatoes all the way up to Thanksgiving.  I am hoping for a deluge of fruit in October, and shall prepare to can and freeze as much as possible – tomato sauce, canned diced tomatoes for cooking, salsa, tomato paste, maybe even some ketchup this year.

In my kitchen, you can never have too many tomatoes.

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