Monday, August 21, 2006

wandering through the day

This morning started with a fairly unpleasant visit to the auto mechanic's. On the way home I remembered that I'd brought along a camera to take pictures of the pumpkin field - and from then on, the day went more smoothly.
Every year the fields of pumpkins astound me. They are hardly even noticeable until suddenly the bright orange orbs show up from under the leaves (much like my watermelons are currently doing) and although I haven't really captured it here, it is an amazing site that seems to make me believe in Cinderella... or return briefly to childhood... or "something". It feels fanciful to see them. Exciting.
The weather is not doing them any favors this year, as it is incredibly dry. The leaves are wilted, showing the pumpkins earlier than usual. Normally, they would remain hidden for a few more weeks, and then magically appear, round and enormous.


After arriving back home and taking care of a little business, it was time to trek on down the path to my sister's to can tomatoes. Along the way, I stopped at the little water lily pond to see what was blooming today. Two different colors! I love how leathery the leaves look next to the delicate flowers.

Next stop: cannery row. All the ripe tomatoes had been gathered, and it was time to peel, trim, and cook them for canning. We started with 1 and 1/2 5-gallon buckets full, and ended with 9 quarts of delicious, beautiful tomatoes. We mix together the red and yellow tomatoes, and they look pretty together. Our family has an old "comfort food" recipe which is simply canned tomatoes with sliced hard-boiled eggs mixed in. It doesn't sound all that special, but it is really good. I know that sometime in the coming winter, I'll be cooking up some eggs and SO glad to have the tomatoes.
After cleaning up a little bit, I went outside to see if there were any new kinds of butterflies out on the bushes. This little brown guy was feasting. All the shades of tawny, tans, and brown make up a beautiful muted pattern that is made even more attractive by the sheen that the sun added.


Then, much later, after a round of bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, we went outside to find a whole colony of sphinx moths. Several of them were on the 4 o'clocks. The one I took a picture of was drinking from a cleome. These things scare me. They are twice the size of a hummingbird that was sharing the clump of 4 o'clocks with them yesterday. Not only that, but they occasionally zoom right at you - as if to scare you off. It works! A couple of flashes from the camera really gets them perturbed.

There is always something going on around here. Today Bob decided to let the chickens out for a little play time. They are fairly new, and the plan is for them to be free-range. Well, they left for the day and we have no idea where they went. Bob worried about them (after that nasty turkey incident with the neighbors) and went looking a few times during the day. In fact I knew when he stuck his head out the back door and crowed trying to lure them back, I was sure that image would never leave my mind. Just before dusk, they started to straggle in. First the rooster, then 3 of the girls. "Comby" and "Stubby" were the last of the girls to finally come home. Bob says they are grounded for a week. That'll teach 'em.

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