Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Oasis

Isn't it lovely?  This green oasis I've created in my back yard?  What was once as flat and featureless as a patch of prairie has become lush and green, and dare I say it, fecund?

It has.  I love it.  My husband has threatened to get a monkey and a parrot and pipe in jungle noises.

This is what used to be the east end of our clothesline.  We built an arbor in the fence along the south edge of the property and used the existing clothesline lines as a vertical growing surface.  Now, walking under the lines is rather like passing through a jungle landscape.  All temporary of course.  The gourds are annual vines and when the frost finally does them in, I'll be bringing in the gourds for drying and tearing down the vines.

The really great news this week is that I finally have baby luffa gourds! This is the first of what has now become 5 babies maturing slowly on the vine.  I'm now hopeful that if the weather holds out and stays warm long enough, I'll have luffa sponges to play with this winter.

In a normal year, I'd say I don't have much hope.  We usually get a killing frost near the end of September or at the latest, mid-October in my neck of the woods.  But I've read a few long-range weather forecasts that warn we could be experiencing warmer than usual temperatures into the end of October.  That would be great for the gardening season.  It would also be a little freaky.  Even though it almost BURNS to say this, hopefully, this winter will be more normal in the way of precipitation.  Another dry year would not be good regardless of how much I despise the snow.  It's not the snow's fault.  I just hate driving in that mess.

Just in case you're wondering, here are the little Tennessee spinner gourds.  They have gone batshit crazy and I have what could be dozens of the little fellas.  I see 8 or 9 just in this little photo alone.  But, I have a project in mind for them.  Last winter I found an artist online who dries and paints the gourds to make Christmas ornaments.  Hers are gorgeous!  I don't believe for a minute that mine will be as pretty as the two I bought from her, but I'm going to try it out for myself anyway.  I love nature crafts like that and this one has me inspired.  So look out family!  You might be getting gourds for Christmas.

On a related note, I discovered a stash of dried birdhouse gourds in my storage building the other day.  Looks like I'm having a gourdy winter!

The eggplants just keep on a-coming.  Fortunately, I discovered that my boss has a fondness for them.  So I unloaded shared my prolific harvest with him last week.  I have another friend at work who likes them as well and she'll take some off my hands.  I love to grow them and if I can feed some friends in the process, that makes it all the sweeter for me.

Last week I finally decided to try drying my extra (!) cherry tomatoes.  I cut them in half and put them in my handy-dandy food dehydrator and a few hours later, voila!  Tomaisins!  They are so tasty!  I almost can't wait for it to be February so I can get some out and put them on my pizza.  I have a feeling we'll wind up with lots of tomaisins this year. I don't know if I have to, but we put them in little snack bags and store them in the freezer.  It doesn't seem to change the texture or flavor.

Well, I'm on vacation for a couple weeks here.  We have family we haven't seen for a very long time coming in for a visit.  Really looking forward to it.

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