Monday, October 7, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

With so much upheaval and drama and work and animals, the thing that alarms me the most is this: The window for tomato sandwiches is closing. The end is in sight.

I think, how nice it is to be a seasonal think you just can't look at another peony then poof! peonies are done and you're on to poppies and foxgloves. Nature is so clever like that.

Here on the ranch I've been homesteading hard. My pockets are full of clothespins and alfalfa pellets. I'm not going to draw a picture that isn't true, so let me try to honestly tell you what the summer has been like.

Well, for one thing; without question my mayonaise consumption has spiked considerably in the last few months. This is for tomato sandwiches, the one thing in nature that I am always ALWAYS sad to see pass. The time of the tomato, never long enough.

What is it about tomatoes that makes them the prize of the garden? I don't even like tomatoes that much (except for the sandwiches) and yet I work the hardest for our tomato crop. Worry over it like nothing else in our garden. Googling diseases, fertilizing them, tying them up, pruning them.

In July we had fine plants, all thriving, being their little tomato selves...setting flowers and little fruits. Over 100 plants (it was a winter of big dreams.) By August we were eating sandwiches everyday, and how do I like my sandwiches? I'm so glad you asked...

Bread I'm not fussy over, it's usually a sprouted Alvarado St. sliced loaf available in the freezer section of the local Hans. But, what I am fussy for - and this is really out of character, likely a carry over from my childhood - is Sweet Munchie or Muenster cheese. I broke down and just started buying it by the pound at the deli counter, a place I frequent only between the months of August and October.

If I have those things, then I need red onion and mayonaise, Hellmans only. At someone else's farm recently they mentioned a Hellmans boycott (Hellmans uses GMO soybean oil) which made me flush and uncomfortable. For christs sake, I'm growing my own food and drinking water out of a mason jar. How far are we going to take this?

The winner in the tomato department, this year at least, for us, was Yellow Brandy Wine. A very good producer, good flavor, perhaps not better than Pineapple, but what it lacked in flavor it made up in vigor. A tomato I like better is Green Zebra, but this is not big enough for a sandwich, at least not the way I roll. I like to take a big tomato, and cut the middle into a 1" slice. That goes in the sandwich, the ends get seasoned and [wow I'm really divulging here] slathered in mayonaise and then consumed either first - a sort of appetizer - or second as a coda to the main portion of the performance. A private performance - I should mention that my favorite way to eat this lunch is alone.

So that's been the summer basically, sandwich land. Today Eric reminded me that we're almost done. We're about to pull the last tomatoes; ones we had to plant up in the flower field when we ran out of room in the garden. I actually don't want to talk about this anymore, I've indulged...gone too far already.

I'm having a coffee now, reheated from it's tepid state a few minutes ago. It's 3:35. We're alone here today, and it's raining on and off. Real gloomy the way I like it.

The season keeps creeping on, we've not had a real frost yet and the dahlias I planted late are just starting to really come on, as if they had no idea it was October.

We've had so many visitors this summer, people coming through for classes, apprenticeships, private lessons, visits, photographs...people coming through to work, camp, learn, eat. I've been trying to figure out how to have so many guests, how to balance (a word I don't believe in, but will use here for lack of a better term) the excitement of sharing with my constant desire to be alone. The truth is, as much as I love flowers I can't talk endlessly about them. Someone once said to me, 'maybe you want to think you're a giver, but you're really not a giver.' Which has stuck with me.

I'm looking out the window again and it is so beautiful. The trees are all colored against a dark grey sky. This is my favorite October party trick. I'm torn between sitting here getting to my work or going outside to take a walk with the dogs. Even if I do, it won't be enough. The heartbreak of Autumn.

There's never enough of it.