A new Crop

Another gigantic tomato sauce manufacturing operation going on today.  This is 3 giant pots and moves us past the half way point on tomato production.   What’s most interesting is that the only tomatoes I grew this season were cherry’s and plum varieties so you can imagine just how many tomatoes it takes to make a gallon of sauce.   We’re having a mother’s day gathering at the house so you can guess what’s on the menu.  To calibrate you, after the 6 of us ate all the pasta we could handle, there were 20 pints of sauce for the freezer.  More calibration – we use 3 pints of sauce with a pound of pasta and a pint of sauce for 2 pizza’s.   

Getting ever so slightly concerned about the lake level heading into May.   Although we supposedly got much less rain than average this past winter, the lake remains fairly high.  Seems like it never really dropped down to a typical winter level.   My concern is that we’re starting the wet season without enough space to handle a much higher lake level.   Wonder if I should be thinking about converting the garden to a rice paddy?

A crop I used to grow with great success in Utah was winter squash – acorn and butternut –  have failed on a regular basis in Florida.   Over the past 10 or so years I’ve tried several different varieties of each with zero success.   I get good foliage and plenty of blossoms but shortly after the fruit starts to form, they die.   I’ve tried so many times and so many different ways that I gave up.   We get the squash at Publix and that’s that.   But something interesting happened this year.   When I clean the squash(from Publix), I toss the seeds along with the shells in the compost pile.  For some reason, this year those seeds actually sprouted in the pile and as a joke project, I transplanted several to the main garden.   As in the past, great foliage and plenty of blossoms but, for whatever reason, the squash seems to be growing nicely and I’m about ready to pick a couple of Acorns.   I have no idea what variety I’m growing and the produce guy at Publix is no source of info on varieties.  

Having technical difficulties and the IT department has temporarily relocated to Chicago.

Fun at the Lake

Nice weekend.   We met Tom, Tina, Tommy and Kate at Persimmon Hollow Friday night.   Traditionally we ate taco’s from the really great place across from the Hollow but have more recently expanded our menu to include wings and this time, Tom had a barbecue sausage sandwich which he said was incredible.  The beer was, as usual, great.   Then on Saturday, Joey and Mark came up to the lake and took out a trashy tree I’d been wanting to remove plus a lawn mowing and some honey do’s for Nancy.   In parallel with us doing the outside work, Nancy  cooked up another 10 quarts of pasta sauce using tomatoes I picked from the garden a few hours earlier.   This batch will be a little different since the mix of paste tomatoes to cherries was heavily tilted toward the paste variety.   Out of each batch we distribute a few pints to Joey and to Tom and still have enough for us to make it thru until the next tomato season.   Our problem is usually freezer space.   That became an even bigger problem today because it’s officially blueberry season.   We usually buy enough from a local farmer to carry us through the whole year.  That works out to be $100 worth.   This time Joey also ordered the same amount.  To calibrate you, that works out to be 15 quart size zip lock bags full of berries for each of us.  We use just about 1 quart bag every month.  So between tomato sauce and blueberries, the freezers are bursting at the seams. 

The weekend still had more to go.   On Sunday Tom, Tina, Tommy and Kate came to the lake for a summer celebration or something like that.   Tom arrived first and took Nancy and I shopping in Daytona then back at the house.  Tina, Tommy and Kate were down at the dock getting ready and enjoying the wilderness.   Tom and Kate brought their pit bull, Meadow, so it was a full on party.   Tom set up his portable grill and refrigerator and commenced to grill shrimp and corn on the cob.   Tina brought a Greek salad and roasted potatoes so we have a real feast.  Key lime pie for dessert.

So all in all, couldn’t have had a better weekend.