July Continued . . . 

For the first part of July, go here.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cherry Tomatoes

It's tomato season! It's squash and bean season!  It's time to act as if I have a 10-acre farm and prepare for the first harvest. I can almost see the baskets and buckets full now, sitting on my counter waiting to be stored in the pantry, and I have a thousand memories of harvests past to draw on.

Occasionally in our area I run across a small stand where a local farmer or back yard gardener is selling summer vegetables.  I look for tomatoes first of all, but green beans, peppers, corn and okra are good too.  Oh, and squash for squash relish.

We stopped last week at one of those markets and got a sack of tomatoes for my beloved tomato sandwiches and to make a batch of what I call spaghetti vegetables:  tomatoes, squash, carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, zucchini, and fresh herbs.  I cook all that down and freeze it in canning jars for winter spaghetti.

The owner of this most recent small market had left a cash box outside for customers to pay.    

One of my favorite memories is of a former back yard neighbor of ours.  He was a gardener in his retirement, a gray-haired gentleman who must have worked in a bank or other corporate office in his profession, because every day in season, he worked in his garden dressed in long pants and a crisp white shirt with long sleeves.  He inspected his "crops," and kept them in pristine condition.  

Larry's Corn Harvest

We didn't know him, and only watched from our kitchen  window.  He always stood up tall and moved slowly, but with focus. 

"The neighbor is out working in his garden again," I would tell my husband, who then came to the window to see for himself.  That crisp white shirt out in the hot southern summer was my standard for dignity in things unseen, and the gardener who wore it never knew we were wathing.    

I came close to finding another "white shirt" gardener a couple of years ago in the area we now live in.  I stopped at a small card table set up with tablecloth and wood-slat baskets. The sign simply read, "Tomatoes."  The man positioning six or seven baskets on the cloth was this time dressed neatly in jeans and an ironed, plaid shirt.  I told him how good the tomatoes looked and he said, "The Lord has been good to us this year."

How do they make it look so easy?

Today I ate the cherry tomatoes you see in the picture.  They were the only ones I got from my own plants, but no matter.  I put them on a small pottery plate, and ate them like grapes. They were sweet and perfect. I made several jars of spaghetti vegetables too, all put away now in the freezer. 

It might not be a bad idea to wear a white shirt when I prepare my harvest for our own table, come winter.

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."  

Dwight D. Eisenhower, President 

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Tractor Ride

Have you noticed lately that big rolls of hay are showing up in fields around the county?  You might have seen such a thing if you have fields where you live.  We do, and yes, they are showing up.  

It seems that this July weather has brought every field-owning hay grower out to mow and bale their tall grass into those big happy straw-balls.  I like to see them hobble along in traffic on one of those long, wooden trailers with handbuilt sides. You just wonder what keeps them from rolling off.    

I suppose if you are a cow, you can smell that light, sweet scent well before it comes into view; and I dare say, all the cows for miles around line up on any given afternoon in late July to watch for another cart to go by so they can pay their respects. A good tractor and hay baler is important to their welfare, you see. 

Caroline

But don't worry if you're nowhere near a hay field or a flatbed truck filled with new hay, or even near an antique red tractor such as you see in the picture--the kind that lets you sit up high in the open air and feel bits of grass brush against your skin. 

There's an herb that is said to smell like sweet, freshly-mown hay.  It's called sweet woodruff, and it only releases its unique fragrance when drying.  It is truly heavenly.  I try to keep some growing in a pot on our porch so I can enjoy the smell for a few days in late summer when I bring it indoors to dry. That should happen fairly soon.  

This year I've been vigilent to keep my stash alive, unlike past years.  If I go in the evening after dinner to check on its status after a rain, as I did this evening, I get a small preview of that sweet fragrance.

It's enough to make me want to hang around with the cows.  

 

  

"All great things are simple." 

Winston Churchill

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Friday, July 26, 2019

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for:  a gallery of the bugs we've seen and collected these last three months.  Sit back and enjoy the show.  

Orange and Turquoise Worm

Worm/Insect Thingy

Snail Shell

Luna Moth

Lizard

Cricket

Glow Worm

yellow Ladybug

June Bug

Spikey Bug

"It is surprising how little we yet know. . .of the common things around us."  

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, from his book " April Days," 1861

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit