Die Tomatoes Die- a homesteady report

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Yellow Cherry Tomatoes I can't keep up with them. And so I wonder if I should just pull the damned thing out of the ground and start trying to grow something for Fall and Winter in its spot. The cherry tomato vine is the most prolific garden plant I've got going in the garden. After the first 2 quarts of sweet grape sized fruits, I hate this plant. I've given up trying to get ahead of the splitting. I have cut it back to keep it from attacking passerbys on the sidewalk.

The other tomatoes, the normal sized ones have produced jack squat as of late. The vines have either died, or the flowers fall off, or there are no flowers at all. In the rear I suspect the Tree of Heaven has filled out and stolen most of the sunlight and tomatoes love sunlight. I'm trying to hunt down the owners, who are an LLC and notably haven't paid this year's taxes.

Despite the evil tree, the peppers are happy. The green peppers and the chili peppers. The squirrels seem to have no interest in those. The green pepper came from a neighbor who had many seedlings and gave me some. The chili pepper was a .99 cent plant bought at Benhke's. Herbs such as lemongrass, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, lemon verbena, bay, and parsley seem to be just ok. Nothing bad, noting notable, either. Beans and the cuke are semi-unproductive. 

Canning wise I may need to slow down. The Help says that when he does the dishes after I've removed the seeds and skins from dozens of tomatoes he feels like he's cleaning up a crime scene. There is red splatter all over the sink and kitchen. Kim over at Field to City provided some wonderful paste tomatoes that just screamed, "turn me into pasta sauce!" Which I did.

One problem with all the canning, besides the time consuming part, is that I have very little to give for food drives. I don't buy a lot of canned food, with nice commerical lables. I can give you tomatoes, stock or anything else I've canned, but seriously, I'm gonna want that glass jar back. No seriously. When looking around for food to give away I don't have a lot of non-perishable pre-packed items to donate. On the plus side, I guess we eat healthy.

I must be canning more than I did last year as I've had to go out and buy more jars. Last year I only canned strawberries, cherries, citrus marlmalades and tomatoes. This year we have a pressure canner and I've added beef and chicken stock to the mix.  Also I discovered I could make chicken stock in the slow cooker, so I've been making stock. I've canned fewer cherries this year, because I was feeling lazy and just threw them unpitted into jars of vodka and brandy. Cherry brandy is good.

We also got a dehydrator and this year figs, cherry tomatoes, garlic, cherries, apricots, carrots and celery got dehydrated. The products of those efforts sit in hand labled sandwich bags.

Yes, our lives could be easier and we could go down to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods and get these things already canned and packaged. Then we'd have something ready to donate. But then we'd lose the fun of creating and doing.

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