One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Garden Tales ~ Tomatoes and Cantaloupe ~ And a Naughty Raccoon

It's that time of the year when the tomatoes are turning red all over the garden.  The downside this year, is that a raccoon keeps eating my beef tomatoes.  I've been able to get about 5 this week before he/she did.  I think it has to do with the corn fields this year.  Last year we were surrounded by corn crops.  This year that is only one across the street.  Many raccoons have died going back and forth, but one seems to keep eating away on just one type of tomato.

However, we are getting a lot of roma tomatoes. I've been using them to make our homemade salsa, and many dishes.  I have frozen some too.  Yesterday I decided it was time to make tomato sauce from scratch for the very first time every.  While one daughter was away on a camping trip, I enlisted the help of 3 more kiddos.  They all helped remove seeds from about 8 pounds of small roma tomatoes.  This was torture to them (he he!).

We made the sauce with fresh basil from the herb garden, onion, garlic, and even oregano.  We were quite impressed with the final outcome, however it did need more seasoning.  We like to get crazy with the spices.

After I finished the sauce (which took 2 hours to cook), I decided to slice up a garden green pepper, a zucchini and a yellow squash.  I added that to the sauce without cooking it prior, like I usually do.  I topped it with a lid and boiled up whole wheat spaghetti noodles.  We loved it!  It was bit watery, compared to store bought sauce, but that's why you bake up homemade bread sticks - to wipe the plate clean.

I have to say though, I will need a lot more tomato plants if I ever want to can tomato sauce.  It did take time to remove seeds, but at this point I have no intentions of buying a "sauce maker" as requested by my husband.  I'm sure it's electric and it would, at this point, just take up space.

We've also been enjoying the very juicy and organic grown cantaloupe, from our melon patch.  We've eaten about 5 nice sized one so far, with the largest about 7 inches in diameter.  Prior to the season, we added sand to the melon patch.  So far, it's helped us grow nice sized cantaloupe.

As for our watermelon, we have enjoyed about 3 of them so far.  It takes longer for them to ripen.  And even though I warned my husband that we should not pick one yet, he did.  It was, of course, not ripe enough.  It did have a wonderful flavor, and we ate most of it anyway.  The rest went into the fridge, and was chilled.  We then cut it into cubes and treated our chickens with an nice cold snack, to help keep them hydrated in this extreme heat.  They loved it!

As I sit here they type this, a stray dog has wandered into our driveway.  He looks very much like one of our dogs, with a sickly look to him/her.  The kids are outside right now, trying to entice him/her with a treat and fresh water.  Then we can see if he/she has a collar and tags.  It appears dehydrated, poor thing.  I hope it doesn't run off without getting a drink of water.  It was over 90°F yesterday, and the only water source nearby is creek water.  Not good for a dehydrated dog.  If they are successful at rescuing the dog, I'll be sure to post an update. My heart breaks when I see a stray, hungry, and dehydrated dog, especially when it's extremely hot out.

Today, I am making another batch of liquid homemade laundry detergent.  I've tried 2 types of soap - Zote and Fels-Naptha soap.  I prefer the Fels-Naptha, even though Zote offered a more pleasant smell.  It's melting away on the stove, so I can later add the borax and washing soda.  Making it has become a natural choice for us now.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Fels is made with Petro-chemicals. Be very careful with it.