19 September 2011

Make your own garden fresh salsa!

Here's another drive-by posting!  I keep thinking that things will slow down a bit now that school has been going for a few weeks and my design jobs have finished up, but things still feel crazy around here.

The weather has cooled quite a bit, but the tomatoes are still producing wonderfully.  It is so fun to actually get a harvest from tomato plants.  In the mountains of Wyoming, I would just be getting a few red tomatoes when it would frost and kill everything.  It seems like we would always get a hard frost in August sometime and then another around Labor Day.  In between, we would still have nice summery weather, but squash and tomatoes don't forgive you for a hard frost.

So here I am, getting buried in those wonderful tomatoes and I keep telling myself that I should put together a batch of spaghetti sauce, since we eat a lot of spaghetti and pizza during the year.  But I just can't seem to collect enough tomatoes to make a big enough batch to make the canning effort worthwhile.

Why, you ask?  Because I love fresh salsa!  Every time the counter starts to be overwhelmed with tomatoes, I get a craving for salsa.  I whip up a big batch of the stuff, and then realize that I don't have any corn chips, or that my cilantro is all mushy, so I have made several extra bike trips to the store in my salsa making adventures.  Then I end up eating most of the batch while trying to get the flavors just right, so I have to start over again in order to have some salsa to share with the husband.  There have been many days that I have only had salsa for lunch.  I was hoping to start a new diet trend, but alas, I haven't dropped any inches on my salsa diet.

In case anyone out there is wanting some fresh garden salsa, but isn't quite sure how to get started, let me share my formula with you.  It's not really a recipe because I don't have a single measurement to give you.  Here's what I've got:

Fresh Garden Salsa
-Chop up lots of tomatoes.  Till your bowl is about half to 3/4 full. 
-Chop up the onions.  I like a lot of onion, but you can take it easy here.
-Chop up some cilantro.  I love cilantro, but if you go too crazy here it makes things a bit bitter, so I just do enough that you see a bit of green in every scoop.
-Add some salt and then add some more.
-Pour in a few splashes of lemon or lime juice.  I prefer lemon for some reason.
-Stir and scoop some out on a chip to taste.
-Add salt and lemon as needed to reach your favorite taste.
-Add more tomatoes, onion and cilantro if you taste test too much.
-Eat and repeat.

I guess I'll have to find a farmer before I can any sauce.  I'm not sure how much longer these tomatoes will keep coming.

08 September 2011

Thoughts on boys and dogs

I'm tired today.  My silly husband forgot that he had lots of paperwork to do and went fishing yesterday afternoon.  Late last night, his memory caught up to him and we stayed up very late getting it done.  Very late.  I remember staying up that late without any bad side effects when I was in college.  I guess I'm getting old because I'm stumbling around today in a sleepy haze.  But my grogginess isn't what I want to talk about today.  I want to talk about dogs and boys. 

Those who live in a fairly clean environment may not realize that dogs like to be dirty.  They like to be smelly.  In fact, if they find something particularly disgusting on the ground, they will roll in it until they are completely covered in the nasty stuff.  An environment like a cattle ranch provides ample substances for every dogs pleasure.  We're used to it and our dogs don't come inside much anyway. 

My city cousins on the other hand, were not pleased when their pretty, shiny coated, ride in the car with them dog went straight to a fresh pile of horse manure and adorned herself.  She came up looking like a green zebra and her people were not pleased.  I found it hilarious to watch the city dog, feeling so proud of herself, suddenly become an outcast.  Here she had put on the best perfume she could find and they were unappreciative.  Cruel, even, kicking her out of the tent.  Refusing to pet her.  Pushing her away when she tried to climb into their laps.  She refused to be discouraged though and she re-applied the lovely stuff several times during the family reunion.  I wonder how the 10 hour drive back to civilization was?

Perhaps it is the tired haze I'm in, but suddenly today, as I walk into the disgusting place that is my son's bedroom and hear him whine about having to shower or brush his teeth or wash his hands or do anything that could count as clean, I suddenly had the picture of that dog pop into my head.  Not only does my six year old boy enjoy being filthy, I think he would like to roll in it.  It can't just be my fault because my other kids will actually brush their teeth, with toothpaste on the brush.  It just seems to be the little boy factor going on here.  I really hope that this is a passing phase because if it stays like this for the next 12 years, he just may end up living in the doghouse.

01 September 2011

My late August garden update

Okay, so it's a week later than promised.  The school thing has thrown me for a loop.  Plus the job thing takes time.  Plus, I ran out of planner pages and I'm just floating from task to task, not really knowing if I'm getting the important stuff done or not. 

What was a jungle of green has kind of cleared out a bit.  The landlady cut back the sprinklers a lot and I didn't notice for a while, so I've had a few issues from that.  The buttercup squash vine that attacked the tomato trellis suddenly got too heavy and yanked a bunch of tomatoes down, so things don't look very orderly right now.  In fact it looks pretty messy. 

All of the squash plants have come down with a case of powdery mildew, so after this picture was taken, I went a little crazy pruning out the affected leaves.  In thanks, the zucchini plant spit out four more squashes.  I thought it had given up, but here it comes again!  Hopefully, the plants can get a little more air circulation in there now.  The neighbor lady said that all of her squash got it too and then she shared some of her pear tomatoes with me.

The tomatoes just keep coming, and I love it.  It's kind of funny to have so many, since I'm really the only tomato lover in the house.  My husband did help me clean up two big bowls of fresh salsa though.  I forgot to buy more corn chips at the store, or I would probably be having salsa for lunch again today.

The regular cucumbers have been a disappointment.  Two strangely shaped cukes is all I got from those two plants.  I have harvested several lemon cucumbers and those plants seem to be making some more.  The beans are done.  They won't forgive my not noticing the water situation, but a neighbor says that she has some for me.

My counter is covered with tomatoes and I have a few summer squash sitting in the fridge, waiting for me to get more inspiration on how to prepare them.  And that's my August garden update.  I'm waiting for the weather to cool a bit so I can try again for peas and spinach in the fall.  I love how this hot weather makes those tomatoes turn red, but I'm about ready for some crisp days to come along.