Tomato, Tomahto

A few days ago, we decided to pick a lot of the tomatoes while green, and then clear out those tomato plants.  Here is our haul:

82 lbs of tomatoes

82 lbs of tomatoes

You read that right, 82 pounds!  There were a couple red/ripe tomatoes, but the vast majority are green.  It’s getting to feel like fall around here, so I figured if we took them off the vine, we can just wait for them  to ripen up more and then make more things with them.  Although, I’ve also heard about green tomato jelly, and green tomato pie, and fried green tomatoes…

Speaking of tomatoes, I hear there are these new-fangled things called food mills, or food strainers.  Apparently they are amazing at churning out tomato sauce and applesauce, and anything else soft-food-wise.

Victorio VKP250 Model 250 Food Strainer and Sauce Maker

Victorio VKP250 Model 250 Food Strainer and Sauce Maker

I must get one!  On the one hand, it’s the end of the season, but on the other hand, we have 82 lbs of ripening tomatoes to deal with.  And, I wouldn’t mind getting a bushel of apples and making some applesauce, either.

So, that was a few days ago.  A couple days after that we decided to tackle the remaining tomato beds.  Here are the “before” photos:

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008 Jesse came home earlier that day and he helped me out a bunch.  He did the heavy lifting and I cut off the green tomatoes.  Here are the “after” photos:

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We guesstimated that we pulled another 50 lbs of tomatoes from those vines.  Our tomato crops this year were excellent.  A small problem is we didn’t leave labels anywhere or create a garden diagram, so many of these tomatoes we have no idea what their strain is.  Oh well.  Maybe next year we’ll be more on the ball.

Jesse went through and removed a lot of the watering hoses.  I think we’re going to do a different layout with the garden, not so much actual garden beds, but more like long garden rows.

I have always wanted to have an orchard, and right now we have 2 peach trees, 2 pear trees, and an apple tree.  We decided to get another 3 apple trees, and then 2 plum trees from Summerstone Nursery.  I really like the idea of homemade fruit leather, and canning the fruits, and just everything about preservation.

To that end, Lowe’s is having their annual canning sale, where their remaining canning items are 50% off, so I went a little nuts and bought a bunch more jars and lids.  While we don’t have an actual use for them yet, I’m looking with an eye toward the future, and as any canner knows, this is a hella deal!

new canning stuff!

new canning stuff!

We cleaned off a couple shelves in the book room from a bookcase, and I started to stack our current canned goods.  You’ll see we have a fair amount of tomato sauce, and a couple jars of chicken stock.  Jesse also made some green salsa, or salsa verde, and you’ll also see a lonesome jar of beets.  Because really, who needs beets?  Blech!

canned goods

canned goods

I’ve also started a ginger bug again.  The first time I tried this, it didn’t turn out too well, but I watched another YouTube video, so hopefully this one goes better.

ginger bug, day two

ginger bug, day two

Our backyard mums and lavender have been blowing up.  I do so love fall!  I love the brisk air, and the fall colors.  I’m pretty sad that our fall lasts for only about three weeks and then suddenly it’s winter.  Lame.

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Our chickens have been doing a great job scratching through the turned out tomato beds.  We are very impressed with them; at the same time, they scratch up my flower garden beds, and I’m loving that aspect less.  But hey, they are equal-opportunity chickens.

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Mister and Jojo are enjoying the fall feel as well.  They keep us grounded on what’s important:  Food and loves.

Mister

Mister

 

Jojo

Jojo

 

Flowing foliage

While we are waiting for our garden beds to grow and fill our rumbling bellies, our flowers are blooming like crazy!

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The first year we moved in, I had no idea what I was doing and pretty much killed the large rose bushes that were here and we dug them out.  Then last fall I decided we needed roses again.  I’m happy these are doing so well!  I’m trying a more hands-off approach this time around.  Just watering and dead-heading.  Not really pruning or anything.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses

We originally tried to dig out all the climbing roses because they were just getting out of hand, but they grew back the next year.  They are tenacious!  I really like these lighter pink variety as opposed to the darker red behind them.  I like the flower heads better on these one, they seem more full.  I don’t think we’ll try to tear them out again.  If nothing else, they’re a deterent to someone trying to break into the house via these windows.

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One of the other new rose bushes we bought.  I love the delicate pink color!

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Our lavender is sprigging out

Our lavender is sprigging out

Jesse and I really like lavender.  I think we have…6? or maybe 7 plants around the yard.  Ezra likes to munch on the lavender as well as look at it.  I can tell if he’s been outside (apart from the dirt around his mouth) when I come home from work because his kisses are lavender scented.  Anyone else’s babe still shovelling in the dirt?  He’s getting better, but at 20 months, I thought he’d be getting over sticking random stuff in his mouth.  Ezra is our first babe, though, so maybe I’m expecting too much too soon.

Speaking of too much, too soon, Jesse would like Ez to start potty training.  I had to tell Jesse that we probably still have a good year of diapers ahead of us.

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Jesse loves wildflowers.  He has scattered a variety of wildflower seeds all around the yard.

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I like this rose bush because it’s hardy.  It’s just a wee thing, but it’s survived the last three years or so on its own, just hanging out in a corner by the fence.  We think it gets some water from the neighbors when they are watering their yard, so maybe that’s why it hasn’t kicked the bucket.

Some of our DIY raised garden beds

Some of our DIY raised garden beds

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Baby lettuce head

Baby lettuce head

Now, I realize we have un-composted rabbit poo in our garden beds, but I figured even un-broken-down rabbit poo was better than nothing.  This fall and next year we will probably work it into the soil, but for now this is what we have to work with.

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Part of our strawberry bed, with some chives seeding themselves

Part of our strawberry bed, with some chives seeding themselves

More strawberries, with a bunch of tomato plants

More strawberries, with a bunch of tomato plants

These tomato plants are completely seeded from last year.  We didn’t do a great job of picking up fallen fruit, so there were probably hundreds of seeds there are one time, and now we have a great many plants sprouted.

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Our dwarf lemon tree is producing some fruit.

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Our nod to pest control, marigolds.

Half of our rodent-removal team, Jojo

Half of our rodent-removal team, Jojo

The other half of the team, Mister

The other half of the team, Mister

The man who makes all this possible, Jesse

The man who makes all this possible, Jesse