Posts Tagged With: tomatoes

A Fence Fiasco

 

We moved into this strange house in the middle of the summer, knowing that the house had been beautifully flipped but the yard was a travesty of epic proportions.  I pulled cactus and dead rose bushes for months.  Almost five years in the making, and the front yard is looking decent.  We haven’t touched the back yard, except to put in two raised beds amongst the weeds so I can have tomatoes.

Although we have had the funds to do small projects, the fence has been beyond us.  Every time we think we’ve finally saved for it we get some sort of a disaster.  The car needs a whole new transmission, and the stove broke, and, and…

I think now this was probably fate.

In the week long rains of two weeks ago, the world softened.  The rusty nails holding the fence together slipped free, and the fence collapsed – revealing a rather beautiful hedge of cypress trees that the neighbors had erected.

Brian and I looked at the glimpse of elfin style we had beyond the weeds and decrepit fence and saw potential.  It looks like we’re just going to take down the back fence and enjoy the trees, since the hedge is a solid screen and we don’t have to worry about keeping any pets in.  It will help us when we go to replace the rest of the fence too.  That back stretch was the longest and most expensive.  Bonus!

Now to find the time to take the old one fully down… Which I’m sure I’ll manage in a fit of tomato longing in the next month or so.  This year, now that I don’t have to spend 20 hours a day holding a baby, there is produce in my future.  I’m determined.  And the baby can dig in the dirt with me.  Just as long as I get the fence down first.

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Adventures in Canning

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I did a bunch of canning yesterday, and I am feeling right now like it was mostly a bust.  I had intended to make Harlequin Conserve, Tomato Sauce, and Tomato soup.  I was hoping to get, oh… 3 quart-sized jars of spaghetti sauce, 6 pints of tomato soup, and a bunch of conserve.  What I ended up with was NOT worth the time it all took.

Because that was the thing… I bought 10 lbs of tomatoes and ended up with 2 pints of tomato soup and 2 ½ pints  of tomato sauce.  It also took all day.  I started at 11:00 am and didn’t finish until about 9:00 pm.  After all of that, I still have to water bath the tomato sauce tonight.  I’m a very tired kid this morning.  The entire kitchen would have been sticky if Brian hadn’t been the best husband ever and cleaned up for me.

I got a ton of Harlequin Conserve though… (which is oranges, orange peel, plenty of pineapple, some slivered almonds and plenty of sugar all boiled until it jelled just a bit.  It’s like a pulpy thick syrup.  Best thing ever).  And that tomato soup is damn good.  Sweet like the Campbell’s version but so much more robust in flavor.

So, the ultimate results are this: I don’t think I would make the tomato sauce again.  It’s time (and tomato) consuming, it wasn’t much better than the stuff you buy at the store, and it was more expensive.  We just don’t use enough tomato sauce in this house for it to be worth all that effort.  I would definitely consider doing the tomato soup again, but only in a gigantic batch to balance the time/enjoyment of soup ratio a little more.  The harlequin conserve is my new obsession.  It wasn’t any harder than jam is, and it’s SO GOOD.

Brian looked at me at the end of the night and said “I now get why people don’t do this anymore.”

I mean, I do too.  But I also had a good time.  There will be further canning in my future.  Tonight, as a matter of fact (smh).

PS – One of the things that fascinates me as a Historian is the sounds and smells that we, as modern people, just don’t experience anymore.  The stuff that was familiar that is no longer familiar.  I felt a little gleeful every time a jar sealed properly with a metallic pop.

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It’s Hot

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It is hot here in Southern California.  I thought my office had greenhoused a little, but then I went outside and it felt like I was in an oven, so I know I shouldn’t complain about my slightly warm digs.  The web said it’s 113 in Riverside today.

I have been watering the poor, fragile Lemon tree in the back yard like mad, but I’m afraid it still isn’t going to make it.  It’s hanging in there, though, so we’ll see.  It seems like there’s going to be a very warm summer ahead of us so it has a long way to go before it’s truly safe.  The tomatoes are at the point where they aren’t loving the heat either, although they’re still ripening.  It’s the blooms that are burning in the sun.

Success with the Brandywines, by the way!  There are currently 7 tomatoes on the vine, and hopefully more to come.  I’m so glad.  I got 2 tomatoes out of that plant last year, and resolved that if I didn’t get more this year, I would give up eating the tastiest tomatoes I’ve ever had and go for something that was more prolific.  I can justify 7 a little more than I can justify 2.

This is usually my favorite season at home.  The Redlands Bowl starts this Friday, there is often much Sousa in the air, and I get to break out all my pretty sundresses.  Looking at the weather report, I’m not 100% sure I’ll feel the same this year…

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Lazy Week

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My week has mostly been the boring kind.  Which is the kind I like best, in some ways.

I bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition on Monday and have burned through it.  Brian has hardly seen me, as I’ve been reveling over diagrams of dragon eggs and portraits of Harry and Hagrid in a rowboat, seagulls wheeling overhead.  It’s prettier than you ever could imagine it would be, even if you’ve already seen the pictures.  My only criticism is that it is a bit too huge to hold and read, though it’s good for spreading out on the pillow next to you.  (Brian?  No, he doesn’t need a place to sleep).

Previews of Chamber of Secrets are available, and I already can’t wait for the next installment.

I made strawberry jam from strawberries we bought at the farm store down the street on Sunday, which I know Brian has been DYING to get into.  We still have ½ a jar of Apple/Lemon left first, though.  It was so good that I licked the pot clean (shhh… don’t tell anyone).  I also had about ¼ of a jar’s worth of leftovers that didn’t fit nicely into the 6 full jars I made, which I promptly ate as well.

The tomatoes have tripled in size, overnight, and are starting to flower.

The kitten has been into her usual shenanigans.  I let her ‘help’ me clean up this weekend (by which I mean I crumpled a bunch of the junk mail into balls she could chase around the house so she would stop bothering me to pet her).  I put them in the recycling at the end of the day.  Don’t worry, she upended it all and pulled them out again (plus more), and strewed it all over the house.  It might have been my own fault for giving that stuff to her to play with in the first place…  I’ll tell you though, the lesson is not learned.  She’s too adorable, and at least the mess is clean paper.  She was waiting in the window for me to come home last night, too (and then promptly showed me that she didn’t care about me at all when I walked in the door).

My mom started a puzzle of Yellowstone at her house, which I find impossible to step away from.  Must get one more piece in (*eye twitch*). I have most of the lodges together, and was starting on the bears taking pictures of humans when we realized how late it was.

Hats off to lazy weeks.  I don’t get many of them.

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Those Summer Tomatoes

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Life feels pretty frantic right now.  Spring came to California overnight, it seems.  The tree in my front yard has gone from bare to bright green in just a few days.  The neighbor’s plum tree is flowering white.  The Roger’s Red Grape is budding with tiny silver leaves.

Spring (of course) means gardens, and garden goals include summer tomatoes in my house.  That is non-negotiable.  Home grown tomatoes are the one produce item that are nothing at all like the store bought version.  California summers get CRAZY hot, though, and in Redlands it is even worse than I am used to.  The advice for tomato planters in a hot climate?  Plant early and you will have a crop before the hot comes.  They recommend February.

When did it get to be almost March, you guys?

I put the tomatoes in the front planter last year to thwart the gophers, but now it has ornamental stuff in it.  Brian and I regrouped, and we’ve decided that if we put our veggies in raised beds in the back, we can line them with chicken wire and hopefully keep the gophers out.  Which means that we need raised beds STAT, or we won’t have a crop.  We bought the redwood boards, fought with the battery on the drill, and still didn’t quite get the planter built.  Next weekend for sure.  I have the compost, we have the dirt, and those tomatoes will be.

I am determined.

It’s the tomato plants that are indeterminate (you see what I did there?  It’s a tomato joke.  It was funny.  No, really).

Now I just have to decide what tomato varieties to plant… and frantically plant them so they can grow in time.

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A Weekly Round Up

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This week there is a tropical storm somewhere, so we have been getting spurts of torrential downpour and some epic thunder all weekend.  The wind blew down the grape vine trellis, and the cats went a little crazy.  Brian and I sat in front of the window and watched the water stream from the pergola in the back yard, puddling in the dirt and weeds.

The cherry tomatoes have gone a bit wild.  I was able to actually use some of them to cook with. (!!!)  I had heard that the Juliet variety of grape tomatoes was not considered one of the better tasting types, so I was a bit apprehensive.  But these are excellent, tangy bites of sunshine.  I would plant them again in a heartbeat.  I’m going to claim it’s the compost. The Marriage Perfect Flames are turning orange-ish too now.

I am ¾ packed for Maine.  Terribly early, I know, but I won’t have another weekend to do all the laundry.  I will only have Friday night.  It seems strange to go back again so soon after my last trip.  Strange but wonderful.  I haven’t had the chance to long for gray beaches and blue skies; for lighthouses and that sweet, wild smell of reedy grass that meets me as I walk the dirt roads, the salty wind that whips my cheeks red.  I’m not feeling empty without it all, I’m just feeling VERY glad to see everyone.  And excited for lobster and Queen Anne’s Lace, of course.

We took the cone off the kitten yesterday.  Her first act was to try and eat it in retaliation.  Then she spent the next four hours cleaning herself.

The last thing that happened was Brian and I celebrating our 12 year anniversary.  We got rained out of the plans I made (outdoor amphitheater?  Not so much), but Plan B was to go see Guys and Dolls at the Fox theater in Riverside.  They played slap-stick Buster Keaton movies before the show instead of ads, had a fancy picture booth with Sinatra, and made the experience altogether perfect.  Bonus points for the contingent of the audience dressed in ‘50s garb.  I think Plan B might have turned out better than Plan A would have, even if it hadn’t rained.

I am also attempting to pick vacation reads and maybe a new crochet project.  Any recommendations?

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Spring Reading List

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The students have graduated.  We were afraid it was going to rain on them, and so there were white tents all across campus.  It mostly just looked cloudy and miserable without any drops falling, though.  The students at Scripps get their diplomas amid a grove of trees, and I’ve never seen a prettier graduation.  Chapman’s is this weekend, and Brian will be working it.  The weekend after, my sister will be getting her hard-won Art degree.  It hardly seems like two years since I was up on that platform myself, but it has been.  It’s funny how life changes and doesn’t all at the same time.

There have been a bevvy of parties at my friend Emily’s house the last couple of weeks.  We are a snowball group of friends who met in high school and then grabbed kindred spirits in college and after to round us out a little more.  Most of us have a travesty of a car full of trash, attended community college, don’t have any idea what we want to do with our lives, and have struggled to pay the bills sometimes (often).  We hardly ever get together, but it has been twice in three weeks, and another party at her house this weekend.  There is never anyone like that group.  I was sitting on the couch next to my friend Lilo listening intently to the ratio of guano to ash to compost she puts on her tomatoes when she stopped mid-explanation.

“I just want to say that I’m so glad you’re as interested in this as I am, and I love you guys,” she said.  So I think we all feel it.  There’s no one quite like that collection of people for being so in sync with each other.

My tomatoes are going gang-busters, all except for one that died.  I’ll be investing in tomato cages soon, and I found out that Armstrong has navy-blue ones that would match my front door.  That may need to happen, since they’re in my front yard and all because of the gopher situation.

With graduation there comes the semi-annual posting of the reading list.  I have read a lot of smut this time, and I’m not sorry.  But I would like to remind you of our invisible non-binding pact that you don’t judge me for my reading habits.  This list encompasses February, and you HAVE to read romance novels in February (we’re ignoring the fact that some of these stretch in to May). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Anyway, enjoy:

  1. How to Be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman – Goodman has experience living it all, and her personal insights were fascinating and invaluable. I was left with a massive appreciation for simple modern things.  It’s not often I can’t put a non-fic down.
  2. The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro – Why are the jerks in romance novels always amazing in bed? I liked this one.  It had a mystery component, beautiful writing, and Degas.  The mystery was predictable, but it still felt tense.  Good beach smut, 4 ½ stars.
  3. The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley –The story didn’t feel important, but it was fun to see the characters I knew. I found myself wanting to keep reading so I could be in the forest with them.  Also, Marion kicks ass.  That’s awesome.
  4. Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer – Exactly what I was expecting, although the brother is a bit annoying and I wish there was more romance (they ignore each other until she’s not his ward anymore). But fun, if you can put aside their first meeting.
  5. Venetia by Georgette Heyer – Supposed to be one of her best, and I enjoyed it A TON. I wish I could just slice out that first meeting of the two main characters, though. Otherwise the book is perfect and I enjoyed it heartily. Okay, more than heartily.
  6. The Diviners by Libba Bray –Naughty John gives me nightmares, and everything just gets creepier the farther into the book you go. But Evie is delightful, incorrigible and the 1920s slang is perfection.  I can’t stop thinking about it.
  7. What to Expect Before You’re Expecting – I’m sure this is full of good advice, but I’m cranky with the cutesy terms. We’re all adults, for God’s sake.  We can have sex.  We don’t need to be TTC (wink!) or do the Baby Dance.  Please say I’m right.
  8. The Ultimate Guide to Writing Persuasively – for work. Filled with a lot of branding stuff that might have been helpful for a less well run fundraising machine (we have it handled at Scripps), but the letter writing portion was useful.
  9. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – Good, because how can a Rowell novel not be good? But this one left me heartbroken.  Eleanor’s family life is SO messed up, and watching her try to deal while falling in love hurt so much.
  10. Paris In Love by Eloisa James – A series of social media snippets refined and divided into chapters about her sabbatical in Paris. Easy to read and put down, sweet enough to pick up again.  I wanted to live in Paris forever, I didn’t want it to end. Also, may not be able to stop reading her books.
  11. Duchess In Love by Eloisa James – A cute premise, and it quickly turns into a crazy farce in a country house where you aren’t totally sure how it will all turn out. 4 Beach Smut stars.
  12. The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James – Although the book was definitely good, I felt like it wasn’t quite up to James’ usual standards. The kidnap scene in France at the end wasn’t my favorite thing.  But altogether worth it.  I would say 3 1/2 Beach Smut stars.  Okay, maybe 4.
  13. Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James – Not as X-rated as it sounds. The heroine’s name is Xenobia.  But I liked it especially for that, and for Xenobia’s independence.  She’s my favorite of James’ heroines so far.  5 Beach Smut stars.  Okay, maybe 5+
  14. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – A sweet novel set at a high school for Americans in Paris. Has a dreamy boy named Etienne, rocking friends in Atlanta, and lots of France.  Nothing too unexpected, but solid and well written.
  15. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – I’m IN LOVE with Lola. She’s hilarious, with the best fashion sense.  Her story is unusual, her boyfriend the perfect jerk, and Cricket next door the perfect complement to her.  Better than “Anna,” and it’s tough to be better than “Anna.”
  16. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – These just keep getting better and better. “Isla” was my favorite by far.  Loved the Barcelona bits and Josh too.  Sexy painting scenes.  Go read it.  That’s all I have to say.
  17. Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James – Oh man, I can’t stand the name. The novel was generally good and fun, with a good premise.  But the hero exhibits some scary, angry tendencies that made me balk a little.  Still good Beach Smut.
  18. Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horowitz – a re-read. There is peeing on buttons for authenticity, a Civil Wargasm, and much spooning.  Not to mention the horrifying ham… Brian asked me to stop laughing, because I was shaking the bed.  I think it might even get funnier the second time.
  19. The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale – Oh, I love her so much. The ending wasn’t what I thought it would be, in the best way.  Miri trying to adjust to life in the swamps, and Peder’s pursuit of her, the secret even the sisters don’t know… the whole thing was absolutely right.
  20. Rags and Bones by Various Authors – A collection of tales you know (fairy and common short stories), re-told by awesome people. They’re weird.  Like, really weird.  Like gave me nightmares weird.  I’m not sure I liked it, but I can’t stop thinking about them.  So that says something, right?
  21. The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones – Nice to be back in Chrestomanci Castle again, but I can’t say I thought it was as good as Charmed Life or Christopher Chant. Gammer is hilarious, though, and so is Nutcase the cat who walks through walls. Worth it if you like Chrestomanci stuff.
  22. A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James – I can’t tell you why I loved this book, but I did. Probably it was those horribly behaved purse dogs.  But it might also have been the dresses, or the prince in the castle or the fireworks.  It was practically perfect and gets 5 Beach Smut stars.
  23. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer – Unexceptional although not one of my favorites. It’s hard to say the heroine is dumb when she concocts such good schemes, but she is a bit.  Freddy has to save her most of the time.   I also didn’t feel real passion on either of their sides, just friendly affection.
  24. Meet the Austins by Madeline L’Engle – I fell in love with A Ring of Endless Light when I was younger, and it was nice to know there were more stories about the Austins. A sweet book about 1950s life in a big family.  It reminds me a little of LM Montgomery’s “Anne” books in tone.
  25. The Moon By Night by Madeline L’Engle – Nice to be camping out in the world of the Austins, but it was my least favorite book of the bunch so far. I didn’t like Zachary, and I felt like the message of the book was largely unrealized.  I wasn’t sure what it was About (with a big A).  I still enjoyed being in the world with the family, though.  Can’t beat a wedding!
  26. The Young Unicorns by Madeline L’Engle – I haven’t gotten to A Ring of Endless Light yet, but this book gave me SO MUCH hope it would hold up now that I’m older. It was great.  Blind Emily is capable, and it’s a mystery that thickens because everyone is trying to protect everyone else.  At times the scenes felt too unreal, but it was suspenseful and well written.
  27. What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff – I was hoping to wait until I had a kid to edit Revolution where the main character has a 6 month old. But in the place of experience there is research.  Well-written and helpful for what many things with an infant should look and feel like.  I’ll have to rely on babysitting and imagination for the rest.
  28. The Sh!t No One Tells You by Dawn Dais – Read this for ditto the reason of above. It was fhilarious, but it wasn’t very helpful for research as it dwelt a lot on the modern mother’s experience and not on child development. Still, I enjoyed it even while I cringed (in a good way?).
  29. The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern – A re-read. I forgot how much I liked this book.  I’ve seen the movie so many times that it feels so familiar, while also feeling so much deeper and more intricate.  And funnier.  I’m a fan.
  30. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle – It holds up way better than I thought it might. In fact, I’m as in love with this book as ever.  I was more frustrated with Zachary this time, and more upset that Vickie didn’t put him in his place sooner.  But everything about this book speaks to my adolescence (in tone, not fact), and it’s GOOD.
  31. Troubling A Star by Madeline L’Engle – I felt like Adam became a different person in this book, and someone I liked less. I also didn’t love the flashback structure where we know from page 1 that Vickie is on an iceberg dying, but not why.  But the writing was beautiful and the story suspenseful.  Would ultimately recommend.
  32. Four Nights with The Duke by Eloisa James – Pretty great, really. I liked that Mia was a writer, and the relationship the Duke had with her nephew – so funny.  I did feel like the crisis at the end was a little quick and predictable, but otherwise great.  Beach Smut Rating: 5 stars.
  33. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchet – This book is just about the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Their swords go blue in the presence of lawyers.  And Tiffany Aching!  Such a great, strong heroine.  I couldn’t get enough.  I’ll definitely be getting more Discworld books.
  34. Lives on the Boundary by Mike Rose – About teaching people labeled as remedial. Very interesting perspective, and reads like a memoir.  I found it fascinating, especially because he showed so adeptly that “mistakes” in a lot of cases were people seeking to grow and not knowing how.
  35. Up The Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman – So great, and so interesting in the way it was narrated through school paperwork. You got to really love the kids, and really hate the inept administration.  But it was lovely chaos.  Lives up to its reputation for sure.
  36. A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchet – I do love Tiffany. The other girls in the wannabe “coven” are sort of awesome, and so is Miss Level (all two of her).  I liked Wee Free Men better, and wasn’t as horrified as the Hiver as I’m sure I should have been.  But I’ll 100% download the next.
  37. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale – A re-read.  Oh, I love this book so.  I am trying to figure out why, and it might be that Charlotte’s neuroticism matches my own.  Or maybe it’s her hilariously quippy Inner Thoughts.  But put murder and fake Jane Austen together, and it’s magic.
  38. How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis – So good. I couldn’t put it down, and now my TBR list is gigantic because there are heroines in there that I didn’t know.  She and I felt so differently about many of the books, but that was interesting too.  A lovely wade through literature.
  39. Enchanted Glass – This book is just so ordinary, and that’s what I love about it. There are computers and trainers, and motorcars that get stuck in ditches.  But there’s also the weredog, and all the black figures in the garden, and so much everyday magic.  I’m jealous.  And I want to live there.
  40. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchet – I’m not 100% on board with the sentient cheese, but I loved everything else about this novel. I lost it in a fit of giggles when the Feegles freak out about Tiffany’s disapproval.  It’s nice to see her older, and Jack Frost is such an awkward beau.
  41. My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten– Predictable story line, and more like what working at a summer camp is like, not a Renaissance Faire (I know, I’ve done it). But I couldn’t put it down, so that says something.
  42. The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Anderson Brower – Lovely, slightly salacious and VERY interesting, but with a touching quality too. It makes presidents seem like humans, and even covers the Obamas, which surprised me.
  43. Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat – A re-read. I NEVER get tired of this book.  Mowat is hilarious while also being touching about lives and ecology.  His description of the wolves is also just great.  They get to seem like people, or maybe adorable pets, even while they’re not.
  44. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner – Such an odd book. Things don’t really ever happen in it, but it’s nice just the same.  The excitement happens at the very end, when the devil shows up.  I enjoyed it and would recommend it, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
  45. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett – Cute, and I really love Esk a lot. Why is Pratchett so hilarious? It reminded me of Ursula K. Leguin’s A Wizard of Earthsea a bit, but not entirely.  The gender banter was especially good, as was the old person romancing.
  46. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen – A cute book, and unusual. Ella is obsessed with a fictional (but handsome) dead guy, trying to move past a horrible scar on her shoulder, and full of spunk.  About secrets, and dealing with them, or being one.
  47. The Last Train Home by Renee Wendiger – It was alright. The writing was simplistic, and the asides in parenthesis were distracting.  But the topic was so fascinating that neither seemed to matter all that much.  Orphan trains might be my new obsession.
  48. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett – I felt like the epic quality of the prophecy and things was lost in the shuffle of crazy. I enjoy the shuffle of crazy in Pratchett novels normally, but this crazy didn’t seem to serve the story as well as in other novels.  Still amusing, and a good read.
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Oh the Gophers

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I have a gopher infestation second to none.

No, seriously.  It’s obscene in the back yard.  Tunnels and holes as far as the eye can see.  The yard was a blank slate when we moved in, mostly dirt.  We’ve slowly been putting plants and pavers into the front yard, but the back has been low priority.  In the winter rains it grew weedy and green.  A veritable gopher smorgasbord and paradise, I guess, helped by the fact that Brian and I rarely go out there.  It looks like someone aerated the soil.  There isn’t a piece of the back yard they haven’t tunneled through.  I thought the recent deadness was because of warm weather we’ve been having.  I didn’t realize how wrong I was.

I found out about the infestation when I tried to put my tomatoes in.  I bought five lovely plants at Tomatomania.  I mostly got ones that were good for hot weather, and supposedly tastier than the normal heat-tolerant varieties: Juliette Grape, Lemon Cherry, Marriage Perfect Flame (which I bought for the name, not for taste or hardiness, I admit), Cherokee Green, and Red Brandywine.  I splurged on some fancy compost on Friday, and I was all ready to dig a bed in the back yard.

The Plan was veggies in the back, drought tolerant in the front.  But those damn gophers.  I composted the one empty bed in the front yard and put the tomatoes in there.  The Cherokee Green hasn’t taken transplanting very well, but you’ll be happy to know that the Marriage is thriving, tall and deep green.  Everything else seems to be doing rather well, too.  Armstrong has bright blue tomato cages, so I’ll go fancy and match them to my  door.  I am determined to have tomatoes this year, even if it blows the garden plan to hell and makes the front of my house look rangy and dead late in the season.

In the meantime, I’ll be waging gopher-war in the back so we can get on plan again for next year.  They underestimated me when they tried to stand between me and fresh tomato.

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