I had a lovely puttering day yesterday picking herbs, doing laundry, and putting tomatoes in the oven. The kitties were enjoying the day too. And I managed to cut the lawn in the back garden; I will take some pictures of that since it looks lovely and green with the recent rain and cooler weather.
The herbs are doing well –I try to pick a batch at the beginning of the year to dry but some of them are better now, thyme for example.
I had thought to have it be a game –how many of these herbs can you identify? Turns out (after seeing these pictures) that the game will have more to do with seeing past these not-very-good images. There are six different herbs here, but I think one might be completely at the bottom of the pile.
Mostly I try for the leathery consistency in the sun dried tomatoes (that I do in the oven), but invariably some of them end up totally stiff and dried –rattling around like dice on the tray. Turns out they are delicious crumbled into/ onto various things. My mother makes a fantastic herb mix that includes very-dried crumbled tomatoes –it is great in olive oil for bread dipping, on scrambled eggs, and sprinkled on popcorn. It has herbs and dried garlic in it too.
Above is Martin Frobisher, looking handsome. And below are a few pictures of Cousin; he was in a posing mood.
This picture shows the grand results of the canning. My mother brought peaches, peach jam, and peach salsa. The peach salsa is on the very top and the peaches and peach jam are on the left and right. I canned sweet pickle relish (top left) and bread and butter pickles (upper right, next to the peach jam) before my mother arrived.
In the upper left of this picture, these two 1/2 pint jars are tomato salsa and the red onions in honey. The dill spears are sitting on top of a jar of dill chips. And the green beans are on top of the very obvious bottom row jar of corn.
There are canned beans across the bottom row that are a little less obvious. At the far right is a jar of black beans and on the left, red beans and pinto beans. I usually put in jars of dry beans if there is a space in the canner but I also sometimes do whole batches of canned beans as I really like having them ready to eat.
The canned tomatoes are topped off with a jar of tomato sauce –such a lovely red. The apples under the peach salsa have already made an appearance, I have high hopes for that sweet pickle relish.
And my mother also brought canned cherries, which we forgot to get into this picture, but I will put up a picture of those at some point.
And, just to top things off, here is a picture of a bell pepper in my garden.
The canning has been roaring along; I had already canned some corn earlier but we did four dozen more ears of corn. Lovely, lovely yummy corn. The apples are canned very simply –a light syrup of sugar and water and no spices. They are really tasty apples and I think they will be great in oatmeal or made into an apple crisp.
It is the very end of august and the tomatoes are really starting to come on now. I had lovely tomato sandwiches –sliced tomatoes on toast with mayonnaise. And the roses are having another round of blooms. This white bush rose is really blooming and the pink rose in the front has new flowers.
The crunchy grass is also a part of August. Below is Tiglet, being busy as he usually is.
He did stop to have a look, and below is just so you don’t miss the Tiglet / Tiger staring out of those eyes. This throwback to a wild look is particularly amusing with him because is the sweetest softest cat.
These cherokee purple tomatoes are an heirloom variety (what a friend in London tells me is called heritage there). They are so beautiful and flavorful and a distinctive flavor. I like the flavor a lot –but the color is what really gets me. The greener ones here are not quite ripe. Yum.
When I look out the kitchen window (while I am washing my dishes), I get to look at these sunflowers. Last year I had made a wigwam / tipi of old sunflowers, amaranth, broom corn and everything else I thought the birds would like. Of course it re-seeded and I decided to leave it. It has been lovely and I think I will keep it next year. I also feel less badly about having bird-enticing things on the north side of the house since the cats spend most of their time on the south side of the house.
And I have begun some pickling and canning. I bought 10 pounds of beets from a gardener down the road and canned them. I’ve canned them completely plain –not pickled. I like them in salads and soups in the winter.
I canned some chickpeas when I did the beets –since I had a little space in the canner for some extra jars. These are bread and butter pickles.