It’s supposed to snow next week.
There’s nothing overly crazy about snow on the Palouse the last week of November, but our little town is still traumatized from the endless blizzard called February and March … a mere eight-ish months ago. We made regional headlines because the state highway leading out of town got buried by drifts for several weeks. Workers couldn’t even find the road but had to walk in front of plows with their shovels poking through the drifts to locate the pavement.
That was wild.
We’d thought we were getting away with a mild winter last year … but no. BLAHM! After weeks of sunny, frosty days, the wind screeched out of nowhere and snow swirled …
and swirled …
and swirled …
and turned into ginormous drifts.
Most of us are thinking that if we can just please make it to Christmas this year, we might be okay with endlessly shoveling the walks, wobbling like penguins so as not to fall on our butts on the ice, and piling on fifty layers of clothing before sticking our noses outside.
But the weather man is messing with us, so what am I doing? (And mind you, I like snow … in the “correct” season anyway).
I’m scrolling through my photos looking at all the summer and fall adventures we had, wishing I had started blogging Small Stuff then. So I’m going to back up a bit … right into our garden.
As soon as that FebruaryMarch blizzard stopped, one thing was on the mind of every farmer and every gardener around here …. PLANT SOMETHING!
Gardens and crops went in late … evidenced by the latest harvest known to ‘most every farmer around. Combines were in the field in October trying to snatch a few more garbanzo beans, many having lost some of their wheat crops altogether. And this with snow on the hills from the first freak snow storm of the fall. And as recent as last week (mid-November) we drove by several farmers still doing their fall plowing. Completely unheard of in “normal” years.
After the spring that was really a winter, we were just like everyone else and couldn’t wait to dig our hands deep into the soil. At our house, a rental for the last few years, it meant breaking up long ignored garden beds so that we could bring in bountiful harvests. Our dreams were a little ahead of our energy and actual garden space, but one thing that caught hold of the spirit was the heirloom tomato seeds I started on my own.
Here’s the results in late September.
This was about a third of our harvest, all from about 8 plants. This doesn’t include an equal number destroyed by the freak, early snow I mentioned above. We were gifting tomatoes to everyone we knew. (People turned and fled when they saw us coming at them with a bag in our hand.)
And we ate tomato sauce-included recipes for weeks. Here’s one such dinner:
Crazy as my harvest looks, many of the longtime gardeners around here raked in 3 and 4 times the bounty. They’re hard core gardeners and canners. I’m not up so much for canning tomatoes as My Guy isn’t so big on tomatoes in everything, but I did manage to learn a few new techniques for perfecting homemade sauce.
I’m still divided on whether or not to peel tomatoes first. The experts around here don’t fiddle with peeling … they just cook the sauce for a very long time, getting the skins to dissolve. That worked in the sauce I made above, but not all the varieties I grew were so cooperative.
What do you do?
And do you have any secret ingredients you’re willing to share for the perfect homemade sauce?
I threw in a little brown sugar, other garden veggies, lots of garlic and store bought tomato paste to achieve the consistency and taste I like best.
My garden bed is flattened now, but if the weather man is right, I’m going to be longing for garden beds and spring blooms as soon at the holidays are over. Here’s what’s shaping up for what looks to be a White Thanksgiving. The weather channel shows the cold front and snow continuing for several days into December, past what I’ve captured in the screen shot of my weather app, taken on Nov. 20.
Here we go again!
What’s winter like where you are? Are you dreading it or excited … and what are your favorite winter past-times?