July Comes To An End

The morning air was cool as the dogs and I headed out for a walk this morning despite predicted heat. The change of seasons happens on the margins of the day, and this was the first morning that we glimpsed autumn. Bob is busy making the transition: harvesting watermelons and cantaloupes, digging up the greens that have gone to seed, planting one last crop of snap beans and tending the new pumpkin vines. We have steady business for vegetables and have partnered with a local man who sells vegetables on the weekends. He heads up to the urban areas near Petersburg and Fort Lee and can sell out a truck load of watermelons and butter beans in one afternoon. He worked for the former owner of the house as well, helping with the gardening. He is a wealth of great information and advice and we are looking forward to working with him. We’ve also been taking vegetables to the local food bank on Saturday mornings so all the squash doesn’t go to waste!

The chickens are thriving. We have lost a few to black snakes so I spent the weekend doing more snake proofing. I added some covering to the foundation of the hen house and spread some more moth balls. I think the first batch may have worked but rain diminished their effectiveness.

I promised you my secret to freezer tomato sauce. Here it is: the crock pot! I have never canned tomatoes, preferring to freeze already made sauce. I wash well and then cut up and core the tomatoes if needed (Bob’s romas just need washed and cut into quarters) and put them in the crock pot with the lid on and the temperature set to high. Once it really starts boiling, I tilt the lid to let the water boil off. Often, I’ll let it cook on low overnight. The longer it cooks, the thicker the sauce. Then, I run it through my food mill using the disk with small holes to filter out the seeds and skin. I put about four cups in a quart freezer bag.

I am also going to wash and freeze whole romas. I use them in recipes that call for canned tomatoes. Take them out, give them a rinse to remove the skin and you have stewed tomatoes ready for chilis and soups.

I managed to find time to walk around and take pictures to create the mosaic. Enjoy the photos!

mosaic of pictures

1. Field of Red, 2. Vegetables!, 3. Wandering Jew, 4. Summer!, 5. Big Bee!, 6. Ameracauna, 7. Gardenia, 8. Happy Farmers, 9. Globe Amaranth, 10. Black Eyed Susan Vine, 11. Cosmos, 12. Yum!, 13. Zinnia, 14. Bee Balm, 15. In the Hen Yard, 16. Tansy, 17. Green!, 18. Doggies, 19. Bee on the Bee Balm, 20. Zinnias

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