Saturday, July 30, 2011

Furry Friends and Tomatoes

An assortment of heirloom tomatoes and hot peppers fresh from the garden

Lunch on Sunday

Sleepy Greg

Last weekend was a pretty typical summer weekend for us. We spent it gathering baskets of tomatoes from our garden (the Romas and Matt's Wild Cherries are doing so great) and making fresh salsa and other tomato-y things. We have a patch of Matt's Wild Cherries that is so tangly and crazy; the plants are all volunteers, growing next to our lemon tree. Some of the tomatoes in this area aren't the Matt's variety, however; they aren't any identifiable variety. One plant has larger round red cherry tomatoes, and one has little shiny yellow tomatoes shaped like pears. We always kind of "hate" picking in this area because the plants are so entwined and chaotic; the little tomatoes are very hard to reach. We'll be squatting in the mosquitoes and gnats, sweating, saying cheerfully, "Hey, this sucks, but we sure are getting some great tomatoes!"

We mowed the lawn on Saturday and edged all the beds and ran the weedeater. Finally, we've gotten a tiny bit of rain, so the grass is green again, but we're still suffering from a terrible rain deficit here in Gadsden County. So as I was weeding and edging I was worrying over all my plants. I see the effects of the drought everywhere. The Hana Fuyu persimmon has died, and the mountainmint is stunted and yellow and didn't really flower with any sort of gusto this year.

In spring we filled our various pots around the vine house with petunias, and they looked great until June, but then they really started to decline. So we recently replaced the petunias with torenia--and I must say torenia is a wonderful plant. It looks so fresh even now during the dog days. The green tendrils and leaves cascade over the edges of the pots, and the plants are dotted all over with perky purple or pink or white flowers that look a little like snapdragons (they're very cute and cheerful). With its hanging pots of torenia, our little vine house is looking quite splendid now. The pipevine is curling around the wind chimes, the coral honeysuckle is sporting bright red shiny berries, and the powderpuff plant (Mimosa strigillosa) has made a ferny carpet right in front of our purple lounging chairs. (I love powderpuff plant; the pink flowers stand straight up on little stems so they look like lollipops--but they're ethereal lollipops . . . so delicate and feathery.)

On Sunday we made a huge lunch that incorporated a bunch of our fresh produce from the garden. We had stir-fried kale (the kale is still going strong), biscuits, oven fries (made from our Kennebec potatoes), watermelon, mushrooms fried in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, soy sausage, and a tofu scramble full of our own cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and garlic. It took us hours to make all this stuff and about two seconds to eat it. Then we had to start doing the dishes.

Our cat Maggie has been sick, but on Saturday we got to visit her at the vet's office (where she had to spend the weekend), and she had rallied, so I was really happy. She was so cute. She was so happy to see us. She was kneading the air and the wire floor of her cage and purring like crazy and running and taking bites of food in her excitement. We were petting her and complimenting her, and Doctor Larry was telling us how happy he was with her progress. Unfortunately, visiting hours are very short at Quincy Animal Hospital.

I tried to spend as much time as I could with the other cats at home. I gave everybody catnip and Party Mix, and Rob and I sat on the rug in the sun room and watched their various wrestling matches. I brushed Jammer and Foxy and Carl, who all love being brushed. Playing with cats is probably my favorite weekend activity. I also love making popcorn . . . the old-fashioned way, on the stove.

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