16 September 2012

Green Tomatoes of September

This last week.  It's unbelievable.  The switch on the weather has been flipped.  From scorching sauna to light and crispy fall.  Man, I gotta figure out where that switch is.

So.  Tomatoes.  As I've mentioned before, I haven't done much gardening this year, but PapaBear put in three tomato plants and one pepper plant.  One bush was a hybrid yellow variety, which was the first time I'd had a yellow.  The fruit it produced it were delicious, but it didn't bear all that many.  The other two bushes were cherry and plum varieties, and they were a little more active, but the squash bugs from the spring of 2010, still in residence, apparently, seem just as happy to murnch on tomatoes as on precious, white Italian heirloom zucchini.  Not that I'm bitter or anything.  The pepper plant hasn't done much of anything.

All in all, it could have been a better tomato year, but you get out what you put in, so meh.  But now it's about time for those tomato plants to come out, and there was maybe a medium sized bowl of unmolested green tomatoes.  Not that I bothered to find that out before coming across this post on A Way to Garden.  Following the hyperlink rabbit trail, we find this recipe for canning green tomatoes, and this recipe for roasted green tomatoes, which I'll be making later today.

This youtube video is where I first learned the waterbath canning technique...only, in my kitchen it's a little more low-tech. Think big casserole pot and matching steamer basket and a bigass spatula.

Speaking of A Way to Garden, it was the day after I saw this post about hornworms that I found this critter in our own garden.  Here's your gross-out nature moment of the day.  This, I believe, is a tobacco hornworm, just like the one from Margaret Roach's garden.  It has been made into a meatsack by a parasitic wasp, who planted her larvae on its back.

Looking at my post list, I see that I've really been focusing on the garden a lot.  That will change if I have time to do some blogging in the next week; there's a creative writing exercise from a blog I read that I've been messing around with for the last three weeks, and I hope to get that up soon.  I also want to do a post on some of the reading material for one of my classes this semester.  It's a topics class on war and genocide as represented in children's literature (I know @_@), but it's really interesting, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts about it.  (As if I won't be doing plenty of writing for that class already.)

But before I go, lemme show you what I done!
 <--These will be the roasted tomatoes and below are my dilled green tomatoes all canned up so pretty!


06 September 2012

I Bring to You an Announcement...


Well ok maybe not - but it's pretty freakin' awesome.

Amazon and Audible have just announced whispersync for voice.  You don't need an Audible account; you can use your Amazon if you have one - and let's face it if you don't you're not really living in the 21st century.  Your soul might be intact, but, really, as I sit here totally geeking out, who am I to judge?

And make no mistake, if you haven't picked up on the fact already, I am TOTALLY geeking out.  On the list of books available for whispersync, there are a whole bunch of free (FREE!  It rhymes with spree!) classics.  Which means you get the book.  And the audiobook.  And the two versions keep track of your locations so that you can switch off between them.  For free.  Did I mention it was FREE?

There's also a list that, sadly, is not free, but still, you can't have everything.

From what I can tell, whispersync should work with the desktop reading app that Amazon provides (also free).  I also noticed a new cloud reader that openss up directly in the browser - although only select browsers are supported.  (Not something I have to worry about because I have a Kindle Fire *ridiculously self satisfied smile*)

So go, my Imaginaries, go, and feel the love.

05 September 2012

Weedy Wednesday: Mare's Tail

...also known as horse tail, also known as horseweed.  Being the feminist that I am, I shall say "Mare's tail."

         I periodically (as with everything I do) become obsessed with weed identification.  Through repeatedly letting my garden get wildly out of hand and then going in and pulling everything up by hand I've become closely acquainted with a few of the (in my opinion) more pernicious weeds, such as spurge, crabgrass, brambles, and the invasive-but-at-least-it-has-a-pretty-flower knotweed.  But weed ID is even more satisfying and fun when I'm out and about and can look at plants by the roadside and know what they are. 
          For Weedy Wednesday (look, I already told you I'm a sucker for alliteration, ok?), I'm going to do a series on weed identification, focusing on one weed each essay.  I will post the official source of identification (usually from what seem to be state university student projects, although some information comes from the NC Extension Office), where you can see their pictures of the plant, information from those sources, and my own personal pictures as documentation.  Often times there are several closely resembling varieties and what I hope to accomplish is that by posting pictures of the actual plant I'm looking at, any random imaginary passerby (yes, I'm looking at you - goshdarnit, I need a poster) can help decide whether or not I've correctly identified the weed.

           I chose mares tail for my first Weedy Wednesday  because, one, its really, really common in my neck of the woods - it even showed up in my garden; if you go look at the before picture you can see it. And two, MamaBear asked about it and since I didn't recognise the adult plant, I was prompted to check the online sources that I mentioned earlier...which got me rooting around even deeper, looking for other plants I recognised in one stage or another, and well, one thing led to another and here we are.

           So, there are several source for mares tail.
           There's the NC State University TurfFiles (*snicker* I like that)
           Apparently mares tail is ubiquitous in more states than NC, since the University of California included it in their Integrated Pest Managemnt gallery
           And this...company (I don't know, and really couldn't care less, I just think they have a really good weed ID thingy) has a really good weed ID thingy that you can search by state.  It has an oh-so-fancy pop up function though, so to see mares tail you'll have to scroll down because I can't link directly to it.

           So, finally, Duh-tuh-duh-duh, we come to MY pictures!


There are several fallow roadside fields that are practically nothing but mare's tail.  The NC State blurb (it's really not very detailed, but what more can you say, I suppose?) informs us that the height of the plant depends on the soil in which it grows.  I think our local soil agrees with mare's tail tremendously.  The blurb also states that the plant produces copious seeds.  I think I got the specimens in my garden pulled up before they were done flowering, but if not, I hope my mulch stands up...