Sunday, September 8, 2013

Harvest Time

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday. It was chilly and overcast when the sun finally rose. I took care of business with a couple of cups of coffee and then shaved and showered.

I got dressed and left for the Saturday morning errands. First stop was a massage. Margaret was great, as always. She did a lot of work on the areas I screwed up raking the lawn. How she knows where to go, I have never figured out.

From there I went to Kroger’s. It was not a big shopping trip this time, just restocking the fridge and the pantry.

Next, I went to the Feed Store. I bought my first bag of birdseed for the Fall and a bale of straw (the real reason I went there). I walked across the side street to the Hardware store and bought more sanding sheets for the orbital sander.

Finally, I went to the Farmer’s Market on Middle Belt and West Chicago (the one Jake and Carla used to get their bread from for their French Toast). I moseyed around a while before deciding to buy some big tomatoes (I am tired of waiting for mine!) for BLT’s.

Back home, I treated the cats and unloaded the car. I put everything away and then changed clothes. I went back outside to spread some straw over the new grass seed on the side lawn. It’s just a swath of dirt and I figured the straw will help keep it damp.

But, before I could spread the straw, Fate intervened (as it always does). When I went to drag the hose out front, I saw a big branch had come down overnight! I freaked (just a little) thinking it had hit the shed. But, I couldn’t see any evidence of that.

So, from there, I went over to the raised bed veggie garden, since I saw red (tomatoes, not anger, LOL!) I saw the Fall peas had sprouted. But, the whole garden was pretty dry. Before I watered it, I harvested all of the green peppers and ripe tomatoes. I still have all the big tomatoes unripe and green!

More Cherry and Roma Tomatoes

Fall Peas

Green Tomatoes

More Green Tomatoes

Today's Harvest

Then I hooked up the square-head sprinkler and turned the water on. I went inside and processed my harvest. First, I donned rubber gloves and de-seeded, then diced the hot peppers Rick gave me. They went into a marked, quart bag in the freezer.

Next I diced all the green peppers. They went into a gallon baggie in the freezer as well. I put a pound of thick-sliced bacon on a half-sheet pan covered with foil and stuck them in a cold oven. I turned the oven to 400 degrees F. and set the timer for 25 minutes. The bacon will be for the BLT’s next week.

I started dicing left over celery for winter soups, stews and chili. Before I finished, the timer went off. I checked the oven and the bacon wasn’t quite done. So, I went out and shut off the water. BTW, it was sprinkling then. It figures: if I don’t water, it doesn’t rain; if I do, it does!!!  Back inside, I took out the bacon and put the slices on paper towels to drain.

But, instead of going back to the celery, I went into the garage and opened the straw bale. I spread it lightly all over the new seed in the side lawn. If it keeps raining, I’m golden. If it stops, I’ll wet it down with the hose.

I put the remaining 1/3 bale into the wheelbarrow along with the birdseed. When it’s dry out, both will go back to the shed.

Meanwhile, it was still sprinkling. So, I went back inside. It was 2:30 P.M. and I decided to take a break. I warmed up two brats and ate them on bread with deli mustard for my breakfast and lunch. Then I took a nap.

I woke up at 4:30 PM and it was still sprinkling. So, I started the weekend wash.  I finished the celery and stuck that bag in the freezer, too. Then I went out to work on the rocker. I put a thin screwdriver in each crack and forced it open enough to let it take in some wood glue. When I had glue in every crack, I clamped each one and then left it to dry overnight.

The sun had come out, so I went outside and wet down all the seed and the straw. I noticed the plants on the porch were drooping, so I watered them as well. I went out on the patio and watered the window box. I cut a handful of oregano and a big bunch of basil from the herb gardens. Then I shut everything up and went in for the night. I put the wash into the dryer and set the timer.

Then I processed the new tomatoes in the blender. I took the bowl of the tomatoes I pureed the other day out of the fridge and got my Dutch oven. I put in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in and turned the burner to medium-high. While the oil heated up, I diced up a large sweet onion and minced four cloves of garlic.

I put the onion in and sautéed it until tender. Then I put in the garlic and cooked that just until it was fragrant. Then I put in all the pureed tomatoes. I turned the heat to high and started adding herbs. I stripped the oregano leaves from the stems into the pot. I rolled the basil leaves and cut them en Chiffonade. Then I seasoned it with fresh ground pepper and a lot of sea salt.

When it came to a boil, I turned it to a simmer and walked away. I meant that figuratively, of course. I just walked downstairs and hung up the clothes in the dryer. Then I walked back to the kitchen.

I had seen a recipe for toasted ham and cheese sandwiches that I wanted to make for dinner. But I couldn’t decide on an appropriate side dish (I should have bought some chips, lol). In the end, I decided two sandwiches would make up for the lack of anything else. I’m a problem solver!

So, I mixed about two ounces (I eyeballed it, not weighed it) of softened cream cheese with a palmful of chopped basil, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and fresh ground black pepper. I spread that over two slices of sourdough bread and put them on a half sheet pan. I moved the oven rack up and preheated the broiler.

Then I added a good portion of thin-sliced deli ham and two thick-cut tomato slices. I topped that with a mound of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I put two more slices of plain bread on the sheet tray and stuck it under the broiler. It didn’t take long before the bare bread was toasted and the cheese was bubbling (less than two minutes – don’t walk away). I pulled out the tray, shut off the oven, topped each sandwich with the toasted bread and cut them in half. Then I ate my dinner.

There was, of course, a flaw in this whole idea that you probably already noticed. Only one side of the sandwich was toasted. But, the filling was fantastic! Great sandwich and I will make it again. I think the next time, though, I will toast the bottom slice before adding anything.

I went in and watched one of my favorite western movies, “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” I saw that it was coming on in the afternoon, so I taped it. Chief Dan George was excellent in it, but then all the cast was. The only downside is that it’s a long movie. I didn’t finish watching it until about 11:15 p.m.

I paused it twice. Once to shut off the burner under the Dutch oven to let it cool and then about an hour later, to put the tomato sauce into freezer jars. I got two four-cup containers for my efforts that I am sure I will appreciate this Winter.

I went to bed after watching the end of the 11:00 p.m. news.


  1. Do you ever take 10 minutes out for JOHN? Your making me feel very guilty! Tomatoes (garden) looking plentiful...congratulation.

  2. LMAO! Of course I do. I just have a lot of shit to do right now. Anyway, I can always rest when I'm dead.