How Pretty are the Tomatoes

My tomato plants have been happily producing fruits and I’m happily harvesting them. Every time I get a bowl full I just have to take a picture. They’re so beautiful, especially just picked when they shine.

And the tomatillos, too.

I found a good recipe for grilled tomatillo salsa with corn and avocado served over grilled pork chops and John and I tried it last week. It was excellent!

I also froze more pesto for the winter.

Speaking of good eats, I’ve realized how many red flowers are blooming in my garden now–perfect for all the humming birds and butterflies stopping through.

And I’ve got my first Mexican sunflower blooming high above my garden.

Just in time for fall.

In case you’re wondering, the last two weeks have brought updates for the critter count. First we caught another possum, bringing us to four. Then we got another raccoon, bringing us to 10 (including the one that got away). Both were, thankfully, caught in the outside trap.

Unfortunately, we didn’t notice the raccoon right away (you’d think it would be obvious now that the trap is beneath our kitchen window, but no) and he sat in the trap for at least a day. I felt kind of bad, but then he didn’t seem all that much worse for wear.

When I re-baited the trap, I discovered that with so much time to kill, he’d somehow pulled off the heavy wire handle that you use to carry the trap and had it snagged on the bottom and side of the trap in such a way that I can’t pull it off. I’m going to have to cut the wire to undo his damage!

He didn’t escape, though. Have-a-Heart standard models are built like tanks!

The flowers say it’s September, so I guess it must be

It’s been a long, difficult, tiring summer. I think I can tell because¬† haven’t been cooking nearly as much as last summer. Still, I’ve had a little extra time away from work recently, and John and I have had a chance to do a little bit of cooking from garden produce. It’s been mostly recipes from my book of favorites, which is safe, but good. I did make some great peach shortcakes for dessert on Labor Day which were a new recipe and particularly good.

This weekend was finally cooler, but I’m still having a hard time believing that it’s September and that really, pretty much, fall has arrived. However, Saturday I saw the first toad lily blooms, so I guess I can’t escape the fact that falling leaves aren’t too far away.

The marigolds are really starting to get big. It was about this time last year that I couldn’t stop photographing them because they looked so nice. This year I’ve had a bunch come up as volunteers half way through the summer. Surprises are fun!

And the hostas have bloomed.

And the sweet autumn clematis is blooming throughout the neighborhood. It smells so nice.

However, it’s also the time of the year when the raccoons get nasty. I heard a loud noise in the middle of the night last week. I was suspicious, so I looked out the back door and saw a raccoon waddling toward the front of the house. It sounded like he had been jumping onto the lid of the compost bin as if it was a trampoline. It’s been hard to sleep since. Every creak in the house wakes me up because I’m afraid that it’s the raccoons crawling through the duct work again. Then I stay awake listening to hear if there’s another creak. It’s not very restful.

Meanwhile, my garden’s happy with all the recent rain.

I’ve got beans, tomatoes, cukes, and a few peppers.

I also have a mass of lima beans that are in a better location than last year, but are still way out of control.

And look! I finally have some tomatillos! The first year of my garden I picked up a plant somewhere thinking they would be fun, and I made some good food with its fruit. In the two years since, I tried to start my own from seed but, I haven’t been able to get the fruit ripe before the frost came. This year, I got them started super early in the greenhouse. It’s been so long that I don’t remember what tasty food I prepared with them that first year.

The cardinal creeper is taking over the side of the shed, just as I’d hoped.

And the elephant ears are still marvelous, but they’re in a really unphotogenic spot by the air conditioner and compost bin. That’s why they have generally appeared as close ups.

I also continue to get produce at the farmers’ market. It won’t be open much longer, sadly. These peppers were so beautiful. They look like the sunset. I didn’t really need them, but they looked too delicious.

We’ve also had a lot of continuing activity related to the house construction in our neighborhood. They’ve got foundations built for three on our block alone. There’s supposed to be one more across the street, but they haven’t been able to remove the giant tree stump in the middle of the lot. Here are the workers phoning their boss to tell him that the giant crane can’t get the stump to budge.

That was a couple weeks ago and they have yet to come back with a new plan.

All the dirt that’s getting dug out to create the foundations is getting piled behind our house. It’s a crazy little alien mountain range that’s replaced the football field that had been back there. The kids have fun walking across it.