Accidental Selfie

 

 

Sometimes the unexpected happens. Like when you’re taking a photo of a beautiful spread of tomatoes and prosciutto. Tomatoes and basil you harvested from your own garden. Prosciutto you harvested from a local Italian market. Fresh burrata from the best maker in Los Angeles. And later, after you’ve devoured that fabulous platter of food, you look at the photo you snapped just before dinner and notice that not only did you capture the glorious essence of your dinner, you also got yourself a crazy selfie. I love when that happens.

 

Nice Haul!

 

 

This was my morning haul on Saturday. Nice, eh?

 

No need to answer. I already know.

You Have Got to Be Kidding

 

 

This week promises more 90+ degree temperatures in Los Angeles, right through the end of the week. That would be the start of October, for those keeping track.

 

Yesterday I read a report about “Indian Summer” wrapping itself around parts of the UK, and how folks there are soaking it up. I saw photos of people in shorts, grabbing some sun, as well as pics of kids running along rocky beaches. When the article got around to telling the expected high temperatures, I about fell off my chair: 68 degrees F.

 

A lot of us around these here hills would give part of a pinky toe for 68-degree weather. We don’t have to do that, however, as it wouldn’t matter anyway. The heat is here for a while longer and that’s all there is to it.

 

Even though the azaleas by the back door have gotten so discombobulated that they’ve bloomed as if it’s spring, other parts of nature are right on track. Our tomato plants finally looked at us, threw up a few spindly branches and said, “No mas.” So yesterday Mister ripped them all out and cleaned the area. (I would have helped, but as I have a few days left of The Crud, it seemed prudent to avoid inhaling all that dust.) As I watched through the window and saw Mister remove all signs of our abundant garden, I felt a little sad. I know I go through this every year, but for some reason this year tugged at my heart a bit more. Maybe it’s age. I don’t know. But each passing season seems to chip away at this sweet life. And though I hope to live for a long, long time, I am all too aware that everything comes to an end.

 

But I digress. Yes – summer is officially over. And yes – it is still Satan’s-Butthole-Hot here. But there are also subtle indicators of the autumn that is yet to come. And it surely will. For now, I can’t believe I’m still getting in the pool. You have got to be kidding me.

Harvest

 

 

We have a bounty of home-grown tomatoes on the sill and I am a smitten kitten.

 

Still, this weekend’s recent harvest has me wondering when to call it quits and clear out the plants. They’re getting spindly, to be sure. And the tomatoes seem to have slowed down quite a bit. At some point, we have to know when to stop watering the danged thangs. They’ve been good to us, granted, but we don’t want to waste water if they’re not producing. Capisce?

 

It’s tricky, though. For just when I think they’ve expelled their last sighs, the little tomato plants surprise me by showing off new greenies. Looks like the old gals have a bit of life left after all. I can relate…

 

Harvest

 

 

Mister and I are beginning to get some fresh tomatoes from the garden, and we couldn’t be happier.

 

The freshies are like crack, I tell ya! And we savor every little orb. There are larger tomatoes, too, but those aren’t yet ready. But we’ve got our eyes on them, and can hardly wait!

 

If you’re a fan of fresh tomatoes and aren’t growing your own, might I suggest a visit to a farmers market. Few pleasures in life equal that of the taste of fresh, home-grown tomatoes. And to think – it isn’t even summer yet! Woo-hoo!

In The Garden

 

 

This big little dude has been residing in our tomato patch for quite a while now. Mister and I have watched him grow into the hearty specimen you see in the photo. I’d like to think of him as the Keeper of The Garden, but I know he’s actually the Eater of The Garden. He seems to have an affinity for basil.

 

Even though there’s close to 2 months of summer remaining, the ugly heat is taking its toll on our little plot. We used to have a sun-shade rigged over our tomatoes, when we lived at the old house. That contraption has yet to be built here at the new pad, so the toe-mates are suffering.

 

Some days I feel akin to those tomatoes. It seems as if there’s no escaping the Los Angeles heat, save residing by the ocean. We did manage to ride out the broken A/C this past month, and I will be forever grateful to the conditioned air gods for coming to our rescue. And we are able to jump in the pool to get our core temperatures down, so I can’t complain on that front.

 

Maybe what’s gnawing at my brain is the fact that there is so much heat to go. August in L.A. is typically unattractive, temperature-wise. September will probably be the same, if not worse. And then you know what’s gonna happen? October will show barely any improvement. Heck – we’ve had to run the A/C on many a Thanksgiving, and that’s all the way near the end of November, for cry-eye.

 

I miss Seasons. If the promise of Autumn was made and kept where I live, I would surely embrace the droop of Summer. But that just isn’t the case. Instead, we’re gonna have to ride out the thermometer’s reading of “Satan’s Butthole” for some time.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love summer. I also love L.A. I love home and I love our pool. And for now, I’m loving what may be the last of the season’s tomatoes. I even love the Eater of The Garden. I think I’ll call him Petrarch.

Tomatoes on The Sill

 

 

The other day I paused at the kitchen sink to gaze upon the bounty on the sill.

 

It’s so beautiful that in our house, tomatoes have come to signify summer. We eat them until we’re about to pop, and the plants continue to give. Because of the will to live, those plants give and give without giving up. They don’t ask for much in return, either. Just some food, water, sun and rest.

 

Of course, those plants are loved, too. Call me crazy, but I like to think they love us back. They certainly do shine for us. All summer long.

Weeds

 

 

“Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear

funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt.

Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules!”

Ouiser Boudreaux in “Steel Magnolias”

 

 

Yesterday I wrapped up a 2-day weeding job. The tomato garden had been turning into the finest grass patch you’ve ever seen. Whereas that area of the yard had struggled to remain green in the past, once the soil was tilled and loved on, you’d have thought we’d sown shiny new seeds. Seriously – the grass was going for it. So it took me several hours to dig out the unwanted (but pretty) grass. Right now the area looks like beautiful dirt.

 

I wore my giant gardening hat and long sleeves, but I swear, I think I may have gotten burned through my t-shirt. But that wasn’t too big a deal. I was pretty wiped out though, and that threw me for a loop. Thank goodness for Gatorade.

 

I know that in a few days the tomato garden will once again be looking more like a lawn than a veggie plot, but that’s the way it goes. Gardening isn’t a choice for some of us. We simply must dig in the dirt. And dig I do.

The First Day of Spring

 

 

It occurred to me that perhaps I could have written a post about the last day of winter. But I was too late to catch that bus, so didn’t. And then I realized how the last day of winter is very much like the first day of spring. Here in Los Angeles, it’s felt like spring for a while now. I noticed it a couple of weeks ago, when the birds could no longer contain their seasonal joy. Their calendar varies from mine, to be sure, as those little dudes and dudettes have been yakking up a storm for half a month. And they don’t even wait for daylight to begin. Something about that makes me smile. But not when they wake me. I do not smile about that.

 

Anyhoo, spring has sprung here. It’s lovely, really. The light is beginning to change and it seems that all of nature knows it. Even the hummingbirds are taking a break to enjoy this new season.

 

 

As for me, I’m beat. I spent my last day of winter tearing out part of the lawn so that I can plant a tomato patch. The worst part is I only got a little over half of it done. That means that today will find me finishing the job, no matter how sore I may be.

 

 

 

The things I do for food.

What’s the Story, Little Tomato?

 

 

Our tomatoes are tall. Real tall, y’all. Taller than me. And green, leafy. They look great. But I’m not sure they are.

 

There aren’t a lot of tomatoes growing on the plants this year. As we’re in the new place, gardening in new-to-us dirt, we’re not quite sure what’s going on. Is it the soil? Is it the plants? Is there a lack of bees? What gives?

 

If you’re growing tomatoes, I’d love to hear how it’s going for you. And if you have any insight, Mister and I would greatly appreciate your sharing.