Sunday, October 30, 2005

Last of the fall harvest

The tomato hoop houses are now taken down for the fall. Some time in the last week, during a night of 20 degree temperatures, the last of the tomatoes finally gave up the battle with frost, leaving dead, brown vines, a few ripe tomatoes, and a few good green ones. I picked what looked good, and tossed the rest into the grass behind the garden. The year's work, begun in March with some hopeful planting of seeds, is over. I am grateful for what the garden produced, sad that it is over, but relieved that it is as it should be, the turning of the seasons, and now is the time to take a rest from gardening.

I shouldn't say it's completely over. I still have lettuce, spinach, and arugula in a cold frame. This is my first experience with growing greens in a cold frame, so it will be interesting to see how long they will last.

This time of year, planting goes completely against my instincts. I had an order of garlic and some daffodil bulbs that needed to be planted yesterday, and it was a struggle to bring myself to do it. I had to clean out one raised bed and bring in some soil from one of the potato beds to fill it up more. I spent a few minutes working the clumps with my bare hands, breaking it into finer particles and smelling the mix of mineral, moisture, and life that is the soil.

This morning it was dark and rainy, and I sorted my tomato harvest into "ripe, use ASAP", "green, put into a box to ripen", and "green, for green tomato salsa". I ended up with a two gallon bucket of tomatoes in the third category. I had never made green tomato salsa before, and I really had no clue how it would turn out, but I figured I would just use my basic tomatillo salsa recipe and go from there. I threw in onions, garlic, hot peppers, cilantro, and cumin until it tasted pretty good and the tomatoes were cooked soft. I found out that green tomatoes, especially Green Zebras, which are green and striped even when ripe, work just as well as tomatilloes in salsa verde. I ended up with eight pints in the canner, and another pint to eat fresh because I was out of clean pint jars.

It's a lazy afternoon now; still gray and dreary, but not raining. There is a constant influx of chickadees, juncos, downy and hairy woodpeckers, and a few fox sparrows at the bird feeder. We saw a male cardinal the other day; we are at the northern edge of their range and they are rarely seen around here.

Kid Quote Of The Day: Last night I asked Mr. Attitude if he would cuddle with me; it was his bedtime. His reply: "Give me five cents!" :)

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