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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomatoes + Humidity = Fruit Flies

Yep, that's right...fruit flies! Ewwww. I'm not talking just a couple flying through our kitchen...I'm talking breeding ground. I shall explain (aren't you thrilled?).

As you have seen from my previous posts, we have our own little tomato farm going this year. At this point we think we are over 200 lbs. of the yummy stuff. After we harvest them into bags, we put them onto the dining room table. We have one of those padded vinyl table covers for this purpose. Well, what we didn't think of was the fact that the sun comes through those windows at various points of the day. Couple that with the insulation of the table cover....are you getting my point? It causes the tomatoes to ripen a tad faster which, in turn, causes them to OVER-ripen faster. The fruit flies are having a field day. Now, it's not like there is a swarm but we had the beginnings of one. I do use the word "beginnings" for a reason. Last week we went to pick out the smelly tomatoes when all of a sudden I saw something move. EWWWWWW! Tons of worms, or fruit fly larvae if you would prefer. Blech! Needless to say, I didn't take a picture. I didn't want to remind myself of what that looked like ( like I'll EVER get THAT visual out of my head).

So now I am getting a complex and am double and triple cleaning the tomatoes. I am throwing away tomatoes with cracks and am no longer harvesting those ones. Pity really since they are normally ok to eat. With all the rain we have been getting this past week it's "Fruit Fly City" in the backyard.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

PHEW!! Speeding ticket & Expired registration ticket averted

HUGE Sigh of relief as I am writing this.
I was just pulled over for speeding on a nice stretch of road in town. For those of you in Branson...I was on Shepherd of the Hills coming from Roark, heading towards 76.

So, I'm on the phone with my mom in California and I pass a cop while going 47. I am one of those drivers that constantly looks in her rear view mirror, especially when a police car is involved. I notice him turn around about 200 yards after he passed me. Hmmmmm. So, I continue talking to my mom and switch lanes. At this point he's about 300 yards back and I see him do the same. CRAP. Yep, he gets closer and I tell my mom that I need to go. As soon as I hung up he signaled for me to pull over.

This is where I'm very thankful to be female. I honestly DO think that comes in handy at times. I was also dressed in my church clothes =)~ He told me that he pulled me over because I was going 47 in a 35 zone. Oops. I told him that I honestly thought it was around 40-45 at that point and that it changed to 35 as you headed towards 76. Being a nice person, I apologized. I then took the initiative, before he could get to it, to tell him that I was aware of my expired plates. I also told him that I was going in tomorrow and showed him my property tax receipts that I had in my car, all ready to take with me tomorrow. He chuckled at that.

I figured I would tell him my fun little story about having to have my mom mail me my passport to renew my license. This happened about a month ago when when my car was in the shop ( from the fender bender I mentioned in a previous blog), so I couldn't bring my car in for the inspection that I needed to renew my plates. I told him that I was going to do it all online but they messed up when they entered my car info in so the information didn't match up for the past 2 years. At this point I showed him the tax receipt where they had crossed out the information and corrected it. He told me that since my car was a 2007 that I might not need to get another inspection and to call first instead of spending the money. =)

So, long story short...he let me go. =)Wahooooo

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Day at Silver Dollar City

We had a family reunion of sorts on July 25th of this year. It was nice to meet more of the extended Hughes clan. One of our activities included going to Silver Dollar City. It's always a lot of fun, has tons of amazing food AND it's free for us. Ya can't beat that! We went during KidsFest, hence all of the fun and colorful photo ops. =)

As we were leaving the parking lot we got hit by another car. =(
My poor Forester got a tad smashed up in the front. The nice thing was...we are in the Ozarks! Translation...nice people everywhere. The couple that hit us were really nice and admitted that they were at fault. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and talked for a bit. They were on vacation for the weekend. We gave them tickets to our show because we felt bad about everything. Since the fender bender the car has been fixed and we have exchanged emails. They are hoping to come back to see our Christmas Show this year. =)

I always seem to be doin' the Asian Squat.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pictures of our tomato plants

Several of you have wanted me to post pictures of our tomato garden you go!
The top picture is a close-up of our Sweet 100 Cherry tomato plant. It is now 8 feet tall and about 5 feet wide. This year we planted 8 different tomato plants, 2 of them cherry tomatoes...Sweet 100s and a yellow pear shaped one. These 2 plants are seriously out of control. The yellow pear ones are now reaching to all sides of the grow box. We got a little lazy in our maintenance so it turned into a bush/tree. Oops
This is what a few of them looked like at 1 month.

A view of the Sweet 100 plant

I have to stretch and reach to grab the top ones now
This was taken a few weeks ago. It may be more than 8 feet by now. Hmmm, I guess I should measure it again this week.

Canning tomatoes

We have been busy canning a lot of our tomatoes. At the moment we think we have harvested at least 150 pounds. Pretty amazing for 8 plants! Our latest canning adventure involved salsa and pizza sauce. Mmmmmm

Adam is a huge salsa eater and we wanted to try and make our own. I found a few recipes and we combined them, thus creating our own little experiment. Note to self, don't use as much vinegar next time. We used 11 pounds of tomatoes for the salsa and a ton of other veggies. Adam had fun chopping up a pound of jalapeno peppers and I made a nice mess with the tomatoes.
My favorite thing that we have canned is the pizza sauce. Serious NOMage. Nom nom nom
I found a mix and it tastes great....simple too. LOVE that! All you do is blanch, peel and core 6 pounds of tomatoes, Whiz them up and toss them into a pot. Add 5 Tbs of sugar and the packet. Bring to boil and then simmer for 25 minutes. I think the process time was 40 minutes. Sooo much easier than canning tomatoes plain. We made pizzas on Greek pitas and used Havarti Cheese. OH MY GOODNEEESSSS, AMAZING! Next time we'll add more toppings and go all out.

As per usual, I was a klutz and got a steam burn while checking on the boiling canning pot. I just wouldn't be me if I didn't injure myself in some way. The best part was that the next day, during our show, I scratched it with my nail during a dance. All downhill from there. *sigh

On the upside...we have yummy tomato products for the following year. We're going to do more pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce and plain tomatoes in the next month.