Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Domestic Tranquility – Recurring Theme of Life at Home in the Swamp

Just what does a JimmyT do when the Wife is away?

So, the Wife (Mrs. T) went out of town for a few days. She went to a Marine Mom's convention, a meeting of Lady Friends, Marine Mom's or Wives all, to commiserate and hang out. They will build up care packages for their Son's and Hubby's deployed to the AF, they will laugh cry and do all those Girllie things.
Good for Her. Great for Me.

What to do? Well, come into my world but please, don't laugh. It is what I am.

One of my favorite past times is eating. Yeah, I know hardly a past time. But it is something I know something about and one of the things I love eating is Pasta.
Now, Mrs. T is part Italian, and I think all of that Italian in her is that part that makes Pasta sauce. Mrs. T's pasta sauce is to die for. I Love it. And it is best when she has home grown tomatoes to use in her sauce building.
That is my Job. I am the Tomato supplier. I Can Tomatoes.

This is the time of the year in these parts when Tomatoes are ripe. I grow them but this year we have had a late blight throughout this county and several of the other counties around here. The blight was caused by some kind of fungus that got into the commercial growers that feed the baby plants around the south eastern PA region. Well except for the Amish who grow their plants from scratch by seed. They are so smart those Amish.

Like most every family garden around here, my crop of plum tomato plants was devastated. Out of 20 plants only three survived to give me only a few tomatoes. Not enough to fill even a single quart jar much less the 20 or so that I need to keep me in prime pasta sauce for the next year.

Good for me I live not too far from those famous Amish farms of Lancaster County. Better still, they take American Dollars for their farm products. And did I mention they know a thing or two about growing Tomatoes? A short drive and 20 bucks later and I have in my possession 40 pounds of beautiful plum tomatoes. Oh, be still my pasta loving palate.

The canning process is hardly scientific but there are some things you need to know. For me that first thing is that it makes a huge mess. The stripping off of the skin of all those tomatoes and then squishing them into a paste, packing into jars and boiling them in water is very much akin to war in a kitchen. It makes a mess.
The last thing I need while I am performing my Husbandly duty is to have the Wife standing around complaining about well, the tomatoe squirted on the window and wall, spilled on the floor and splashed onto the front of the stove, dripping down onto counter tops and spilling out everywhere.

The best time to can tomatoes here in the Swamp is when Mrs. T is not home. Preferably, far from home. This was the perfect weekend.

It took all day this last Sunday, 13 straight hours on my feet but I was able to get 29 quarts of prime plum tomato paste and three quart jars of pure tomato Juice. The Juice I use for Bloody Mary's and for de-skunking Lady, the Princess Pomeranian. Try as we do, she still can't tell the difference between the occasional skunk and the neighborhood cat. And trust me, the Juice does work!

Did I mention I love Mrs. T's pasta sauce?

BT: Jimmy T sends.


Buck said...

One of the things I miss the most about my one of my previous lives... specifically the one in Oklahoma where I had a large garden (or a small truck farm: you choose)... was picking and eating dinner right out of the garden on nearly every evening during high summer. I bought a HUGE-ass chest freezer to hold produce and still managed to keep most of my office in fresh veggies.

There's a LOT to be said for that...

Sorry about the blight, but it sounds like you recovered nicely!

Bag Blog said...

Our tomatoes were late this year and not so great. The okra is coming on strong and we have had a mess of black-eyed peas. But I hate canning. Did you ever read "The Egg and I" - not the movie, but the book. Pretty funny stories on canning!

JimmyT said...

Buck, I have always wanted more land for gardening. We live in a development on a 13,000 sq ft lot, so there is not much room. I'd love to have a Truck Farm. Must have been good.

Lou, I never read "The Egg and I" , I'll have to find it. I love gardening and all the stuff involved including the canning process. Nothing like fresh.

BT: Jimmy T sends.