Weather: hot. Well maybe not Floridacracker's idea of hot, but hot for the second weekend of September in Minnesota. 85 degrees and windy, with nighttime lows in the 60's. I'm not a heat person, or a wind person. The former makes me sluggish and miserable, the latter makes me restless and uneasy. So, lots of cold beverages and a dip in the pond were in order.
Garden: It's finally tomato time! Despite what people say about Brandywines being difficult to grow in Minnesota, I'm getting several of these every day for slicing, and they are beautiful. They even beat out Pruden's Purple for days to harvest, and overall condition of the fruit. For production and days to harvest, Stupice is the definite leader. I picked about three gallons of ripe tomatoes, mostly Stupice, for canning. I had a couple of other varieties, including Wisconsin 55, Aztec, and Maskabec, but these were not nearly as productive and some of the fruits had blossom end rot. Amish Paste, another of my all time favorites, is beginning to ripen, and may be my best bet for salsa next weekend. A couple other varieties that are new to me, such as Mother Russia and Black from Tula, are almost ready for fresh eating. I don't know what happened to my so-called Rose; I may well be eating Roses and calling them Brandywines, the vines are so intermingled. Ah, a glorious tomato mess.
In the other parts of the garden, and I do grow things besides tomatoes, the zucchini are coming back after being nipped by frost, and I'm getting a few cucumbers yet. And, finally, there is one Casper eggplant forming. The eggplant have all had lush leaf growth, but few if any flowers.
Canning: Weather notwithstanding, I still turned my cookshed into a sauna in the name of canned goods. From the crabapple juice I put up last weekend, I made ten more half-pints of jelly. If I hadn't left the crabapples cooking in the slow cooker last weekend, and come back to see a stream of juice running down the counter and onto the floor, I may have had a couple more jars. I have taken a vow to not pick any more crabapples, even though I know there are many more on the upper branches of the tree.
Sunday afternoon I canned the three gallons of tomatoes I picked, and ended up with exactly six quarts of tomatoes. I scalded them to remove the skins, then just cut them up and packed them into jars; they make more than enough juice on their own. I did them in the pressure canner to save time and not turn the cook shed into a total steam bath.
Music: The Hermit found out on Friday that I was on the program to play flute in church on Sunday; this was news to me. Saturday night I found out that the worship leader for the day had even picked out a song for me to do: "My Tribute" by Andrae Crouch. I had not played this song before, but fortunately it worked out well. I keep kicking myself for not practicing more; music is a gift I should use to the fullest.
Misc: I fixed the shutter curtain on my non-digital camera, and Saturday morning I rode my bike up the road to where the red-stemmed asters are an explosion of blue and purple. I took photos, which I hope to get developed next weekend and put on a CD to share here. And by next weekend I will once more be able to blog from home; our virus-laden computer is in the shop being reformatted. There goes my spare time...