We appear to have been discussing more than our fair share of unappealing humans just lately! What with murdering ragheads, genocidal war lords and paedophiles running amok in the news, or not running as the case may be, it has to be time to appreciate the finer things of existence.
These are some pictures I took a couple of weeks ago, one of my personal harvest festivals. Those peppers and tomatoes glowed like jewels. Apart from the corn these sort of industrial quantities of fresh veg have been coming in weekly for nearly two months. The place is now stuffed and garnished like a mediaeval castle, every freezer is full and shelves of preserves are burgeoning to the point of collapse. Apart from onions I have not bought a fresh vegetable since the asparagus started in April. I am tomatoed out, last spinning day I took a great basket and 7 people tottered off with a paper sack of tomatoes each. I am reduced to giving the rest to the food bank! (Dammit, there goes my reputation for indecent and inhuman behaviour!) Casting aubergines, tomatoes and peppers before the undeserving! I have not even started harvesting the leeks, cabbages and Brussel sprouts.
What has promoted this unwarranted production of vast quantities of grub is the WEATHER. Unprecedented dryness and warmth. We have had only 3/100ths of an inch of rain since the third week of July and 70 plus temperatures every afternoon in brilliant sunshine. The driest summer since the 1890′s when records began here. Fortunately we still have plenty of water from a very heavy snow melt so we can afford to irrigate. The hot weather crops of tomatoes, aubergines and pepper have outdone themselves, I think they thought they were holidaying in California! They are only just beginning to slow down now as the night time temp is falling to 40ish. (Thank God for that!. Enough, enough already!)
There is a downside, isn’t there always? Some of the rivers in the Olympic peninsula and British Columbia where they do not source in snow fields have dropped to alarmingly low levels, too low for the salmon to get upstream to spawn. Decent humans, there are still some around here and there have been organising rides for salmon. They are netting them in the pools, putting them in tanks with oxygen bubblers and trucking them up to their usual spawning ground that are still wet. Of course when they have spawned they die but then provide winter food for the eagles. Nobody wants dead eagles falling out the sky, too damned heavy, so they have to be helped out with their fish dinners!! Apart from that some salmon next year would be nice too for us!
The forest fires have been particularly difficult and trying this year as you can imagine. There is now a State wide ban on all and any outdoor fires of any nature, my burning heap is getting monstrous. I shall enjoy playing pyromaniac in due course.
It is distressing to say the least to have to rip out the tomatoes in the greenhouse whilst they were still marginally productive but the great changeover has to take place with minimum night temperatures dropping, plants are beginning to ask quietly can they come in mum? Its getting nippy out here! The tropicals are already inside and the others need to start the great rush. The weather is forecast to break this weekend, so it is all hands to the pumps to get the jobs done.
For your info, just in case you thought I had lost it completely, we aren’t actually intending to eat the begonias!
An amusing postscript, we have had a more than adequate diet of tomatoes in all shapes and forms for the last 10 weeks or so. On the TV news this morning there was an article extolling the virtues of fresh tomatoes for their lycopene content in that it inhibits strokes. Spousal unit and I instantly and in concert, bemoaned the fact that we had been rendered immortal, the cauldron of tomato soup in the fridge, chundered and thundered and we fell about laughing as I have a ct scan this afternoon. Well at least I won’t die on the table!
This post is just to let you know that some of us still live completely reassuring, totally boring existences where the tomato crop is of greater importance than murdering ragheads!!! Sad it may be, but some of us have to do it!