Monday, August 27, 2012


 I had imagined way back in March when I first planted my tomato vines that I would be gifting these luscious heirloom beauties on all my neighbors, relatives and friends...yes, I'd be the toast of the town! Not so much! It seems that this has been a fine year for tomatoes, so everyone has too many of their own. No one, it seems, appreciates these rare varieties as much as me. Their low acid chemistry and over the top sweet flavor don't appeal to all. What to do? Short of putting them on cereal, one can only eat so many tomato sandwiches! 
Some think that the Brandywine and Kelloggs Breakfast tomatoes' mild, sweet flavor is too bland for sauce but with a few tricks, you can have a fine marinara sauce. The trick is to get the seeds out. After a quick hot water bath and a plunge into ice water to get the skins off, I use a potato masher and a colander to squish out the seeds and extra juice.  
I saute onions in a big pot, add the 'matoes, a small can of tomato paste and my magic cubes of goodness...several garlic cubes and later some basil. I also add a teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar to ramp up the acidity and give a flavor boost. Is this cheating? Yeah, but the "Marinara Police" haven't got me yet!
Then it is just a matter of letting it simmer and cook down into a nice sludge.
I freeze some in 3/4 cup portions to add to soups and stews this winter. It's sort of like apple butter without the apples!


It's that time to start the potato harvest. These are some of the earlier varieties...Bison (red potato) along with a few of the later white potato Carola...all from one half of one potato bag. I had intended to make a potato salad but changed my mind. I couldn't bring myself to mix them with mayo! So I celebrated their nutty and fresh taste by roasting them with garlic, summer savory, rosemary and my most buttery Lucero olive oil.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I sent this photo of a half eaten tomato to the OSU Master Gardener's hot line to see if they had any ideas about what is having a midnight snack in our garden. So we're down to raccoon, squirrel or fox, since most other varmints cannot get over a 6' fence. Short of camping out by the tomato plants, the only other option is to make sure all ripe and almost ripe fruit are picked each evening before the marauder invades our little piece of heaven.
I guess my motto applies: "When you garden, there's always something!"

Friday, August 10, 2012


This photo shows the true meaning of "All dressed up and no place to go!"

Next time we think we have it rough, remember these folks in 1910 out in the middle of nowhere on the prairie...20 miles from the nearest town. And yes, that is their house, where they spent the winter...Oye!

This is a few years later...they've added a real peaked roof house to the original homestead shanty.

And here is the big house built in the 1920's when wheat prices were good.
Interestingly, we got an email from a man in Rapid (City) and he asked our permission to use the photo of the folks pushing the car out of the gumbo! Don't know how he saw my blog!  

Sunday, August 5, 2012


This big boy is growing in a old short but wide enamel bucket that I got one year at the Master Gardener's Faire. The bucket has some nice rust holes in the bottom so I just added a quart of plastic packing peanuts and some good potting soil. I also planted an eggplant which has several fruit and it supported by the bale handle of the bucket.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


 I found a folder of photos in my computer...these are genuine South Dakota folks in the 1910. I think Jack's aunt may be in this photo of the Edna School (a one-room school) which was near Kennebec, out on the prairie. Jack also went to this school!
 Homesteading, 1909...neighbors of Jack's grandparents
Good old South Dakota better wear boots if you're gonna ride to town!