Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Not Available!

Have you had a real tomato recently?  If you don't grow them yourself they are difficult to find.
This time of year my garden is full of them, enough to give to neighbors with plenty left over for the food dryer.  These can never be commercial tomatoes. They have a short shelf life once picked and are the very best eaten right out of the garden.  I often cut a 3/4" slab from the center of the tomato and the rest goes to the dryer!  Nothing better than a BLT or a hamburger with a thick slice of tomato!  I experimented this year and grew some in 7 gallon pots and they produced well but offered fewer tomatoes.  Worth a try if you have limited space.  The advantage of growing your own garden is this is the only way to get these tomatoes and you know what is in them.  We eat far more poisons and pesticides and GMOs than we would care to know about.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What is in it?

What do you feed your pets?
This time of year I pretty much eat from my garden and I know what is in it or more importantly, what isn't in there.  There are no sprays, no poisons, no chemicals, no Genetically Modified foods. It is all pretty healthy.  Like eating Hot Dogs, we really don't want to know what is in our food but my suspicions increase when the food I eat originate from a foreign country.  China has been accused of adding Antifreeze as a poisonous inexpensive sweetener in toothpaste and food additives.  Recently I read of hundreds (it might have been thousands!) of dead pigs floating down a river in China.  I wonder what they did with all of these dead pigs?
   I have discovered that with even traditional American Companies, the package will say "distributed by" and seldom "manufactured by...". It is ever more an International World and ingredients come from all over the world.  Hamburger comes from bits and pieces, the left overs of meat packers from hundreds of sources spread around the globe.  A single package of hamburger can have the DNA from over 400 cows!
   So the other day I was curious what I was feeding my dog?  He doesn't really care, he will eat anything but I like him and my job is to look after him.  He is a mix of Mastiff, Rottweiler, Pitbull and probably something else.  He doesn't know this and we make a point not to tell him.  He weighs 130 pounds and is the gentlest dog I have ever seen unless he sees a racoon!  He has been eating Purina, what I thought was a good, average American dog food.  Yesterday for the first time I read the package, all of it, hunting for American ingredients and there were none!  I went to the store and discovered that in an average American Supermarket it is almost impossible to find dog food that originates and it manufactured in USA!  The same is true for Tuna fish and lots of the food items we eat.   "Distributed by" is about the best you can get.  They seldom tell you where the food came from.
   So, continuing on my investigation, I went to Petsmart and did in fact discover that there are American dog foods!  I also discovered that Canada has a higher standard of ingredients for pet food than the USA does!
   So, what do you feed your dog? (or cat?)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

After the Fire

It is amazing how the Earth regenerates after a fire or any major natural disaster.  In the disaster zone that fried my blueberries I had Borage plants to attract the bees and they were totally wiped out, or so I thought.  I removed the dead plants and tilled this area and added 6" of a really good mulch and the first plants to appear were the Borage!  It is claimed that the more you curse this plant, the harder you are on it and the more you neglect it, the better it will grow.
View to the right of my desk
   Maybe my office is the same?  I removed everything from it, scrubbed and cleaned and painted and put it back together differently and I like the new look.  I didn't struggle over paint colors and went directly to the mismatched discounted paint selection at the local home improvement store.  Some kind of lavender for the walls and a pale blue for the ceiling.  The end slate wall after a good cleaning remained the same.  I gave one desk to a neighbor, that extra desk was just a catch all anyway.  My new office is roomier now leaving more room for "art".  I even have an easel in this room!
Slate wall and widow in office
   The next door studio room is coming along.  I added bookshelves in a couple spots which helped clear out my office and adds a touch of interest to that room.  It is still a working studio where I can splash paint and make a mess without fear but has some added elements of interest.  It is not finished.  I still have some areas to develop but it is clean, just needs a bit more organization.
 Bookshelves added to Studio wall.
Studio wall and exit door, still too much clutter!
The office!
   It took a fire to get me to do this.
Studio, view from office.

I have made a couple trips to the dump and a couple to the recycle yard, given away "stuff" to the neighbors and even sold a few things and I still have too much "stuff"!  It is amazing how we acquire STUFF.  In over 35 years as a remodelling contractor, that was my job, making houses bigger for the addition of more stuff.  I do the same but I think of it as an illness!  I seem to be putting off the major cleaning of my shop.  It will be a huge task and I am not sure what is even in there!  I will take some before and after photos!  I think in my next reincarnation I will be a minimalist.  We work hard to "get stuff", to keep stuff, provide a place for stuff and we don't even know what we have!  Pretty crazy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Harvest Time

This is the time of year my garden turns into a jungle and produces more than we can eat.  I feel like a millionaire and the Powerball isn't until tonight!  Heirloom tomatoes, especially Cherokee Purple and Black Krim simply cannot be bought.  They have a shelf life from perfect ripeness to way too mushy of just three days.  No tomato has the flavor and texture and aroma that can replace the homegrown.
I am popular with the neighbors this time of yer and wen I have too many to give away I get the dryer out.  Today I sliced and diced and cut up about 25 pounds of tomatoes, what it takes to fill the dryer.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Five Seasons!

It has been almost five years since I discovered the cancer.  That is five years added to my perfecting the best tomato!  Tomatoes are self pollinating but they will also cross pollinate so as you plant different varieties close together the seeds saved will eventually become another variety or at least a variation.  I only save seeds from the heirloom dark varieties, some Japanese varieties, the darker the better.  I like Cherokee Purple and Black Krim probably the best.  They are packed full of flavor and have a soft juicy pulp.  Of course my favorite sandwich is a BLT but it is hard to beat a grilled hamburger with a 1/2" thick slice of tomato the size of the bun!  I can pick them every day now, plenty to eat and give away but not quite enough to get the dryer out.  Soon enough!
Here is what I picked from the garden this morning!