Friday, October 21, 2011

A Journal of Tomatos and a Bird of Giant Proportions....

Many people I know who are into gardening ( and much better at it than I) keep a Garden Journal.

That Garden journal looks different depending on the gardener; Some are just little snips of information scrawled across pages, some are beautiful diary entries in wavy script chronicling everything from the choosing of heirloom carrot seeds to the recipes those carrots will later become.

My Garden journal (if it existed in hard copy) would like be of the first type and would consist of two random notes about how to better grow lettuce next year (and how to avoid trying to eat it once it has bolted...cause... ya, that was nasty) and the rest would be about tomatoes.

Oh how I loved growing tomatoes this year.

I made more mistakes than any one need ever know and the things I learned along the way could fill a notebook surely.  There are so many things I'd do differently next year:

(Largely, creating a planter box for them ....the cracked black tree pots leaned ramshackle against my house looked a little white trash I dare say)

I will choose different varieties, learn how to spray them for aphids, prune them properly and actually water them like I'm supposed to....oh and the tiny .99 cages I bought them were a joke. They literally heaved them out of the pots and threw them was crazy.

But many things I will keep the same:
 Their position in the yard was good, keeping them in the garage until the first weekend of June was good....even the tree pots were good.
Kevin can pick the spiders out of them.....Coco helping to water them...and Billy check on their progress every day when they are first seedlings in the windowsill in March... those things were all really good. Those things can all stay.

Next year I'll try to remember to get out there and pick all the tomatoes while the sun is still up, unlike this year where I found myself in the dark, having been alerted that a frost was coming; groping about in the vines, praying that the giant brown spiders had ...traveled south for the winter? I don't know....and hoping I got them all safely inside.

I'll also probably try to find a day to process all of them OTHER than the same day I'm trying to prepare Turkey dinner for everyone. stove top had to work pretty hard to accommodate the blanching pot and I didn't get to enjoy the wonder of peeling all those tomato skins while I had so many other pressing concerns, like setting the table for the guest shortly arriving....

Oh but there is magic in blanching and peeling a tomato isn't there?

I suppose the best story that came out of the garden this year would have to be the one that actually walked right out of the garden... on long taloned feet.

I had the seventeen pots all positioned under the kitchen windows and one sunny afternoon at the end of september I opened the windows and startled something that becan making a rummaging and ruckus in the tangle of vines below the window sill. I started scanning frantically for what creature could've snuggled down into the plants and kept expecting to see a squirrel or chipmunk or even a skunk hop out from among the vines and scoot out the yard....

Only that didn't happen. I was still intent on scanning the pots right below the window when I heard a terrific hissing noise coming from few feet away.

and no it was not a snake.... it was this strange giant bird.... over 2 feet tall and absolutely terrifying to me.

I screamed and Ava burst into tears.

It was just that kind of moment when you are not expecting to find a pterodactyl in your garden bed....and then you do.

The evil bird started bobbing it's gross long neck and hissing at us with it's long pointy beak and only Kevin was actually brave enough to go outside and take pictures of it.

What the heck is it? Where did it come from ? ... New Zealand?????

I had never seen such a bird before, although I found out a day later that it was actually a type of egret (an American Bittern) apparently native to my area....
my area being the central prairie swamps geographically  in my area... not the suburbs I live in....

Somehow knowing it was just a normal bird didn't diminish the terror of it I felt and even seeing it's image in the "Birds of Alberta" handbook made my heart palpitate just a little.

Who knew I had a blind irrational terror of water-dwelling, carnivorous, migratory birds...

Maybe I'm just afraid of the one with the evil eyes that was lounging in my tomato plants....

It was quite the adventure anyway....

Tomato Plant Gardening in general was a happy adventure and as the last few green bulbs ripen in a bowl on the counter I guess the next stage of the adventure will be to think up some fabulous ways to  use them over the cold winter months. I'll be able to pull them out and make sauce, soup and salsa and all the while it will taste like the sunny days of my backyard when the grass was green, the air was gentle and enormous, exotic birds of prey swooped in to visit...

and I might just try some fried green tomatoes tomorrow for lunch...


  1. Fried green tomatoes were a treat when we were kids, & my Dad loved them!
    Enjoyed all you shared here today....but the bird??? Yup! I would have shrieked right with you!!!

  2. Nanny & I are trying to figure out how she can comment on your blog!

  3. Oh how I miss you Miss Ashley! I always felt as though your blogs were something right out of my life and I always enjoyed reading them. I pray that you are well and enjoying family and the school year. I would love to connect! Hugs and blessings to you and yours!



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