What a great fall weekend. Since school started, I’ve felt like I’ve been going 100 mph all the time. GO GO GO!! I needed some time to slow down. My Pappy has had some health issues so I started the weekend visiting him. He’s doing well, back on the road to good health. He’s a feisty stubborn man, so it’s only a matter of time before he wills himself back to health. I’m very hopeful.
Then it was time to think about bulbs. Daffodils are a staple around here. We have a daffodil parade in the spring and it’s kind of like our area’s flower. It defines this neck of the woods. Meet the daffodil princesses in the daffodil parade:
As much as I love them, they irritate me too. The flowers are very short lived. Always exciting when they come out, brings me hope that the gloom of the Pacific Northwest will subside and summer isn’t far off. But in the end, you end up with a ton of ratty foliage that you can’t cut if you want the bulbs to come back again and again. The first time I tried this, they were great and the foliage was manageable. I didn’t do anything the next year to encourage the bulbs so I ended up with foliage and no flowers…. WTF!?!?! (Yes I swear, get over it! LOL) My friend Shelly P, from work, told me to use bone meal but cocky me said to myself “This is volcanic soil! It doesn’t need fertilizer!” Well I was wrong. So this is year 2 for this new batch and I fertilized the area with bone meal – thanks Shelly 😉 So that hopefully solves the bloom issue but they’re still short lived! On my drives home, I pass many a lovely landscaped yard and it’s hard not to take mental notes. This one farm in particular has hundreds of daffodils. I thought to myself “man, it’s going to suck to be you in a few weeks.” But I was wrong! The minute the daffodils faded another bulb came up! Beautiful, colorful and just enough to keep the spring fever going…. Bearded lilies.
It took me a while to figure out what these were but the internet showed me the way. Typically they come in purples and whites but I was able to find some deep reds and oranges for a sunset type of look. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited to test my theory.
Since they’re bulbs too. I set aside a small plot in the veggie garden for these guys. It seems so strange to plant “veggies” in the fall when our winters are so grey and cold but I’ve talked to several friends and it’s how the bulbs work. So what’s good for the daffodil must be good for the garlic? Last spring when I tried, most failed but a couple reproduced I replanted these and a few elephant garlic for fun, it’s all a big experiment anyway right?
Then I bone mealed the area. Did you know that bone meal is basically the same concept as why the Native Americans planted corn with fish as the old Thanksgiving story goes? The bone puts a ton of Nitrogen into the earth which is great plant food. It really temps me to put our salmon carcasses into the ground…. But that could end up really gross too….maybe not.
Sunday morning started with too many tomatoes!! In the winter, I make soups, stews, and other meals that require tomato sauce, so this seemed a good idea. Less sodium, no preservatives…um yes! So I looked up some instructions. The general concept seemed simple enough, and it was. Almost too simple. From whole tomato to pureed tomato, it only took 30 minutes! First you core to top of the tomato and slice an X into the bottom. Then you drop it in boiling water for about a minute until the skin starts to curl back off the tomato. Using a slotted spoon, pick up the tomato and drop it in an ice bath to cool and then onto the cutting board. From there, the skin practically peels off. I purred them in the blender.
At first the sauce was very light pink, due to all the air in the sauce. I left ½ in the crock pot and the other ½ is a pot on the oven. I let them slow cook and air out for about 3 hours on low with a little salt and garlic powder.
While that was happening, I went down to my parents’ house to visit with my cousin and her husband who were visiting from Hawaii. It is always so much fun reconnecting with them. I need to get out there soon! It just makes me so happy; I catch myself talking pidgin out of nostalgia for a home that was never mine. So good to see you guys!!
Back at home, the sauce had simmered to the perfect red. I allowed the tomatoes to cool and then vacuumed sealed them in the same manner we preserve our fish. Worked like a charm. Now I have tomato sauce for the next 3 months or so. Can’t wait to use it in cooking!