Saturday night, an extremely electric storm blew through. The unusually stroboscopic lightning woke me up way before the storm was upon us, but I’d drifted back asleep when a massive explosion registered through my unconsciousness.
John and I were immediately awake, realizing that it had been a huge lightning strike very close by. We’d just managed to get our brains running fully in order to make this realization when BAM. There was a second sizzling explosion the likes of which I don’t remember hearing ever. It was a solid, compact, penetrating crack that defies description and that sounded like the lightning hit not just nearby but on top of us.
The next morning I walked up and down the alley to see if I could figure out where the lightning had hit, but there was no clear damage. I joked to John that some crazed raccoon must have been on our roof with a lightning rod trying to activate some new evil plot.
Several people have asked for updates on the raccoon situation. Here’s the latest:
Earlier this summer we had some work done on our porch and I told the guy doing the work to look for raccoon entryways because we were pretty sure that’s how they’ve been getting in. Sure enough, there was an odd little space above the foundation where a board was missing. He blocked it, so I felt better. But we’ve kept the “Raccoon Detector” activated (it’s a piece of newspaper stretched across the open space under the steps). It tells us that the raccoons occasionally stop by. Every so often the Raccoon Detector will be ripped down where a raccoon briefly ducked under the protection of our porch. There have also been other things around the back yard will be disturbed in a way that says, “Raccoons!” And then there was the time I may have heard one climbing up a downspout.
So, while there are raccoons all around us, I hope they will continue to decide to live elsewhere. Too bad that a house nearby that is probably the happy home for a whole colony of raccoons has been marked for demolition.
Meanwhile, I thought I’d do a little review of this summer’s tomatoes. They’re all varieties that are new to me. I’ve had several favorites that I’ve planted year after year, but this spring I decided to jump into unknown tastiness and adventure. After reading through all the exciting descriptions in the Baker Creek seed catalog, I picked a few to try. Most are cherry tomato sized. The larger varieties (Red Boar and Gypsy) would be lucky if they grew to be baseball sized.
The catalog description says:
A mid-season tomato that is a top notch performer in the looks, taste, and production departments. Tomato grower Brad Gates discovered this red colored mutation from his Green Zebra, and it is not related to other red striped tomatoes on the market. This 2-4 ounce gem has amazing yellow red stripes, is a great producer and is a definite winner if you want a smaller, juicy, sweet tomato.
These started really producing only recently, so I haven’t had too many, but they’ve tasted good. I may have more of an opinion after I’ve eaten a couple more ripe ones. They’re on the bigger side for me and they’re really, really pretty.
Orange and Green Zebra
Plants are covered in 2-inch cherry/salad type fruits, spectacularly striped in orange and green! Spicy interior is a lime green. High yields and very flavorful. A new favorite!
The description doesn’t do justice to the flavor. These are my favorite of the summer and are definitely on my best ever list. The first one that I pulled off the vine was so warm and bright that I bit into it right there. I never do that! The flavor was wonderful. It was the perfect mix of sweet and acidic and rawness.
When these little Oriental jewels ripen, your eyes will be stunned with color. They have pretty violet-purple fruit with iridescent green streaks! Fruit weigh 1-3 ounces, are smooth and have good tasting, dark purplish-red flesh. This variety will also amaze you with its yield: it’s not only high, but incredibly high, being one of the most productive tomatoes we have grown.
Extremely beautiful. They really are iridescent. I wasn’t that fond of the flavor, but it’s grown on me–I think the best ones have been super ripe. The problem was that I inadvertently planted them right next to the Orange and Green Zebras and the vines intertwined. The ripe Zebras look just like the unripe Violet Jasper, so it’s been difficult to catch each variety at its peak. They also haven’t been super high yield, but they’re in a tougher spot in my garden.
Crisp, incredibly flavorful cherry tomatoes that are bright pink, perfect for snacking. The vines produce very well, making them great for marketing. One of the prettiest tomatoes we carry. Mmmm, so good!
These are small and the vines have been productive. I agree with the catalog that they are nicely crunchy and I like the flavor. They’re also beautiful in a way that contrasts with the stripy, iridescent ones. They are very pearly with kind of a creamy, inner light and they start a light pink and darken unevenly as they ripen so the light seems to move across the skins. I’d definitely grow them again.
These beauties are yellow cherries to about 2 oz., with pale cream stripes. Fetching companion to Pink Vernissage when paired in salads or on relish trays! A tasty little tomato that comes to us from Ukraine.
These are the one variety that I didn’t like. They’re absolutely beautiful growing on the vine and have starred in a couple of my other blog posts, but I haven’t liked their flavor at all and they seem to go bad the minute you pick them off the plant.
We are proud to introduce this rare, old German heirloom that produces lovely, little 2 oz. cream to pale yellow jewels that are very juicy and sweet. Large vines set high yields, and tender fruit are globe shaped; skin is shiny and silky smooth.
These are nice. They have good flavor–a little citrusy–and they’re interestingly lumpy and fuzzy (I’m not sure where the catalog gets “globe shaped” and “silky smooth”). They’ve been productive and have been happy in my garden, though they are a little small. I’d grow them again.
Named for the Gypsies who live in Russia, this is one of the deepest, purplest, maroon tomatoes we have ever grown. It has a gorgeous color and good taste. Perfect, medium-sized globe fruit make this one of the nicest dark varieties. A lovely and colorful introduction from the great Soviet plant breeders.
Wow! I wasn’t supposed to have this one in my garden, but I love it. It was my free gift with my Baker Creek order and I was annoyed to have gotten it because I had already ordered one more tomato than I really had space for in my garden. But I couldn’t not plant it. I’m glad I did. It’s the second variety of the summer that I think goes on my list of top tomato varieties. It has the fullest flavor of all of them this summer. It’s a little sweet and spicy but also solid “tomato”. It was also nicely productive.