Archive for the ‘tomatoes’ Tag

Summer’s End?   2 comments

Just when I found a way of facing the facts of life, the coming winter life, that is, I find things have been turned topsy-turvy. You see, I’d found solace in the thought that Mother Nature would be taking a well-deserved rest after blessing me with such a beautiful summer along with an abundance of vegetables, and bouquets of flowers, potential  bouquets, that is, since I only picked  flowers on two occasions.The problem, although it’s not really a problem, is that my garden doesn’t want to stop so she can rest, and she doesn’t seem ready for even a short nap anyway.

The tomato plants are continuing to furnish me with daily portions

DSCN2098as well as promises of more to come

DSCN2097Yellow Squash, though tinier than in the dog days of summer. get a bit bigger every dayDSCN2093While even tinier zucchini hope they’ll be big enough to pick before the first frost gets hereDSCN2094I don’t think any eggplant will emerge from these lovely purple flowers

DSCN2091But maybe I’ll pick a pepper or two tomorrow

DSCN2099Even my container annuals, which in other years I discard in August because they’ve grown leggy and sparse, don’t  seem to know it’s October 15 and not August 15.DSCN2110DSCN2112But then I look at the deck from a different angle.

DSCN2105And I look up the road.

DSCN2106But still, with October temperatures like these……….

DSCN2114……the plants aren’t the only ones who are getting the most out of this summer that won’t quit. I’m still working in my summer office.

DSCN2107And as for The Mars, Marble, Marcel, & MarceauDSCN2115I don’t have the heart to tell them (or my outdoor green friends) the weatherman is warning of frost on Saturday night, and temps as low as 29 Sunday night.

Go Figure!

Have Faith My Friends, Have Faith!   3 comments

My morning routine varies little. After my cup of coffee, I make my way down to the basement to turn off and empty the dehumidifier. As I pass the vegetable garden, I will myself to stay on the concrete path Taking a deep breath, I descend each step, repeating a silent mantra, Leave them alone, leave them alone.  My will power holds up on the way down,vegetable but evaporates on the way back up.

I bend over and peek under the giant atomic monster spectacle zucchini plant in search of any new green zukes,

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then do the same at its slightly smaller yellow squash cousin.

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If my garden was the state fair, I’d have to rate these two a gold medal, since no sooner do I slice and grill one harvest, but find several more lining up for the next time I fire up the grill.

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Next I sidle over to the eggplant where there’s no need to search. Although not as prolific as the squash varieties, it has yielded one meal and it looks like another one is not too far in the future.

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And although they’ve had their problems between the groundhogs’ occasional raids and my absent-minded trampling on them, the pepper plants are giving it their all. I gently part the leaves and count the pretty white flowers and recall how crisp and crunchy the one tiny pepper I couldn’t resist picking back in July was, even though I should have left it on the plant a little longer. One is waiting for me, if I can have the patience to wait for it to get a bit bigger, or maybe a lot bigger. Oh, yes, I’d give it a bronze medal.

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But now the fun ends. I know I should just turnaround and go back into the house,  but that masochistic part of me propels me on to the tomatoes with whom I have a love/hate relationship. I’m in awe of how huge the the plants are. But I guess they have to be if they are to hold up all those huge beefsteak tomatoes hanging from them. Green tomatoes. After checking each one for a hint of yellow or orange, I sigh and turn my back on them.

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Slacker medal for them

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You see, it’s more than my disappointment. It’s my friends I worry a bout. No, not my veggie plant friends, but my real live flesh and blood friends, the ones who were so hopeful as they accepted my overflow of small plants last May, the 23 seed tray mates of the  5 runts I kept for myself. Only two have reported red tomatoes, the rest are in the same boat as I am, seeking that slight change of green to yellow green, then on to orange……and so on.

Then came tonight – since we haven’t had rain in over a week, I hauled the hose over for a soaking than the watering can I usually use to gently administer to each plant.

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I wasn’t really looking at it, but there it was. Well, isn’t it always the way?!?

DSCN1949Have faith my friends, have faith. Your’s are on the way!

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The Return of the Prodigal   2 comments

At first I thought my failure to blog regularly was because my work situation has changed. I am now writing freelance from home. While it was one thing to come home from a day on my computer at the office and write a  blog, it was another thing to spend all day on my laptop  up in the loft, then come down to the living room and attempt a blog post.

But that wasn’t it. I realized it was the lack of pictures. You see, normally I’d be inspired by  something in the city or at the shopping center, think I must write about that, snap a photo or two, come home and write. But then, back in January…………..

……….. I lost my camera.

I searched everywhere: in every coat, under the car seat, in my gym bag, my pocketbook, in the kitchen drawer. You name it, I looked there. I was even beginning to think about getting a new phone so I’d have a camera, when……….

……………I found my camera.

The prodigal camera had returned! It was hanging out with some t-shirts in the t-shirt drawer! If I ate meat, I’d proclaim “Prepare the fatted calf ” or whatever it was that the father said when his prodigal son returned. Instead…………..

………….. I charged the camera and started snapping shots .

Ready for an update on the house of Mars?

Marble has calmed down somewhat. He’s two years old and now that it’s summer, he’s content to sit on a little blue rug I bought at the dollar store to wipe my feet on when I come in. The cast of characters changes DSCN1877

After breakfast… with The Brothers

DSCN1884 with Marcel

DSCN1890Alone at last

Then there’s the garden. If you recall, I started  tomatoes and cucumbers from seed. Two cuke seedlings emerged, and 23 tomatoes. Not having space for that many tomatoes, I put them up for adoption and ended up with 5 for myself. Well, 2 died, and the cukes got eaten by groundhogs. The tomatoes are doing well They are the kings of the vegetable garden……

DSCN1880…….Ruling over 2 eggplants. 2 squash, 4 yellow pepper plants

I tried to rise above it, but I can’t. I have to point out, that’s not my shed.

DSCN1882Mine is pretty

So that’s what’s going on in the House of Mars. I’m enjoying this summer so much, writing on the deck is like not working at all.

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So be prepared for more blogs from The House of Mars!

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Facing the Dreaded End   3 comments

But the ending always comes at last.

Endings always come too fast

They come too fast, but they pass too slow.

I love you and that’s all I know.

If you’re an Art Garfunkel fan you’ll know that verse from All I Know, written by Jimmy Web. It was an ode to a failed romance. I admit, when it was current, I was in just such a situation and found it comforting to sing along at the top of my lungs anytime it played on the radio. But today, with Eastern Standard Time back in position, November upon us, and alas! temps in the 30’s I’m singing it to last summer.

But before I let it  go, thanks are in order to a few hearty and loyal friends who have stood by through thick and thin and to this day, refuse to desert me.

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And these guys are super-loyal. They’ll be out there every day of the long winter, just as they were on the hottest driest days of summer.

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So will they

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This summer was unique in that it was the first year I grew tomatoes.  Here are the last three; the last three definites, that it

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And the maybesDSCN1762

Anyone have a recipe for fried green tomatoes?

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Posted November 3, 2014 by virginiafair in gardening

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Live and Let Live   2 comments

I love everything about summer but number two on my list, after going to the beach, is taking care of my garden. Like any mother I feed my plant babies and shop for them –  delicious foods  like fish emulsion and blood meal. I usually purchase these from Home Depot, but was in a hurry one Saturday and since I was already in Wal-Mart, decided to see if their garden department had what I needed.

Not only did they not have either,  but I was somewhat dismayed to find that the  products that supply plant nutrients were outnumbered by those that promised death –  to insects, weeds, moss – you name it

The Good

The Good

The Bad

The Bad

and the ugly!

and the Ugly!

I don’t know why but it troubled me on a deep fundamental level.  I actually feel sorry for the weeds I pull. Now I was on a quandary,  weighing  the end against the means.  Some people spray, I pull. It’s all the same to the weeds. Thankfully someone pointed out that I was protecting my flowers and vegetable plants because it’s a dog eat dog world, with everything sending down roots and competing for water.

As it turned out I could have left the weeds alone…….  because the deer got there first. I went out to water one morning and suffered instant numbing devastation. I kid you not. I was late getting to work because it took me a while to break out of shock. Was my live and let live attitude being tested?

Remember my tomato  plants and cucumber vines?

Back in July

Back in July

They don’t look like that anymore

In mid-August

In mid-August

The tomatoes fared a bit better,

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But they’re soldiering on. Wounded, but still nurturing their tomatoes.

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And so are the cucumbers,  bless their little hearts!

See the cuke (pickle) to the right of the stake.

See the cuke (pickle) to the right of the stake.

 

This called for action, but not too much. The most destructive I could get was repelling them with the noxious odor of musty rotten eggs.

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So far it’s worked. But the sixty-four thousand dollar question is……. Are they just waiting for the tomatoes to ripen?

Posted August 27, 2014 by virginiafair in gardening, Uncategorized

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Making Summer Last   2 comments

Summertime and the living is easy. Fish are jumping and the cotton is high.

This song spoke to me when I was a child. It was the epitome of  long lazy days made expressly for play. Summers seemed  to last longer when there was nothing to do but go out and play from morning to night. When did they start to fly by in the wink of an eye? I’m on a mission this summer – to try to make this summer go as slowly as it can. I switch radio stations in the car if I hear the words Back to School. I grab the remote when I hear the word football coming from the TV.  I delete e-mailed ads that mention Fall Fashions or Back to School.

Just the thought of winter sends shudders through my soul. You see, I’m chilly when the temperature dips south of 75 .  I am that one person in the world who actually loves, yes loves heat and humidity. So if you ever run into me on one of my kind of days do not, I repeat do not, make the mistake of complaining about either the h or the h. If you do, you’ll hear me growl “Would you prefer the polar vortex?

So how am I making my summer last? By handing it over to my senses.

Sometimes hearing gets there first. My ears are early risers. Some mornings, I haven’t even opened my eyes when my ears are already on the job, trying to decipher the calls of the birds who  compete to fill the air with their own particular calls. There are chitterers and tritterers, the chatterers, trillers and squawkers. There’s even a Yankee fan bird who calls Jeter, Jeter, Jeter.

Some days touch steps up to bat.  I step outside and my skin actually sings for joy as the warmth bathes it

Sight’s been putting in duty since early spring, pointing out the first crocus brave enough to break through the frigid soil next to my front walk. Sight also distracted my driving each April morning,  showing me the first leaf buds on the skeletal trees, and keeping track each morning  as   they unfurled and grew  into fragile green miracles. Anticipating the summer to come, I’d always call out the window. “Welcome to the world, little ones.”

As for taste. Coffee never tastes as good as it does when I take that first sip of coffee out on the deck in the fresh calm of a weekend morning.

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Unfortunately I have no time for coffee al fresco Monday through Friday, but thankfully I work in an office complex with lots of outdoor spots to satisfy my senses.

  There’s the bench where I take a five-minute nonsmoker’s break mid-morning.

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Where I walk at lunchtime

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And what’s lunchtime without a place to eat lunch.

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That’s my secret for slowing down summer. It’s like John Lennon said.

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round. I just love to watch them turn.

Actually I’m just sitting here watching my tomatoes grow

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And my peppers

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And my cucumbers

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