Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rain and Tomatoes

Last night was a dark and stormy night. Thank goodness. The gardens were just about to give up and so was I. There is only so much watering a person can do. Two big beautiful pepper plants withered away in the heat because we couldn't get water to them. The beans were coming on gangbusters but stopped completely. The last picking of corn was pretty paltry and the chickens got a lot of it.

Tomatoes, though, have weathered through. Tonight I had about a bushel of them in the kitchen so it was time to get them in the canner. We've tried several different varieties this year, and I'm watching to see what does well. The Early Girls came on early, as promised by their name, but they don't give you a deep red, juicy tomato. There are plenty of them however. The German Pinks are intriguing; there seems to be a lot of green still on their shoulders when they're ripe, but they are delicious. The Amish Paste plants gave me fits when they were seedlings but not they're producing large, meaty, flavorful tomatoes. The Hillbilly tomatoes are beginning to give us large pink-and-yellow striped tomatoes, but so far, oddly, we've had no cherry or pear tomatoes. Go figure.

It's interesting to see how gardens react to rain after a long dry spell. It's as if the plants that survived were just waiting for a reason to spread out, turn deeper green and really pile on the fruits. Squash is coming on fast and so are cucumbers. I will have pickles to make tomorrow night, I do believe. Even the broccoli is getting a second wind and sending up new shoots.

We're not too different. The rain allowed us to relax, breathe deeply the damp air, and reel in the hoses. We can sit on the porch and talk about something besides where we need to water next and what the weather forecast says. The poor coneflowers, filled with flowerheads fried by the nearly 100 degree heat last week, is sending up new buds. Even the honeybees seem happier. It's as if all the world just got a deep massage with the fingers of rain that bathed us yesterday and last night.

Of course, rain also means some work doesn't get done. Larry was in the middle of brush hogging so he had to wait until this evening to finish up. He used his time to get new supers on the bees, finish up the netting over the turkeys' run and pull the onions and spread them out to dry. It looks like a nice crop of them this year, and the second planting is coming on well in the new garden.

For me, rain doesn't have much impact. My work continues as before--canning/freezing/etc when I get home from work, then on to a little housework, mail and bills, etc. Last night after the Green Drinks meeting I had to get an order of 30 CDs ready to deliver, so it was a long, late night. I find myself juggling hard this time of year to get everything done and I do get pretty tired. Then August comes, storytelling slows down and I can breathe a little easier.

But I still like the rain, and rainy days are still my favorites. There is something restful about rainfall, a reminder perhaps to slow down and appreciate the workings of nature. It's good to do that, especially now when nature is in overdrive. Thank goodness for rain, that gentle washer of earth and souls.


Angela said...

I too was so happy that it rained yesterday! We really needed it. I don't remember it being this dry this early in the Summer. I hope your garden comes out of it! I hope mine does too!

Mike said...

We usually catch some rain before it gets to y'all. We mostly missed it this time around. Won't be much of a corn or tobacco crop this year. They are both about fried. Soybeans will be in trouble soon if we don't get some rain. All in all, pretty typical farming year - if it ain't one thing, it's something else. lol

Just passing through and stopped to say hey.


laoi gaul~williams /I\ said...

here in england~well in my part of southern england!~we have had heavy rain showers and high winds since last night and its been lovely!

Granny Sue said...

I don't remember drought this early either, Angela. Usually it hits in July and August.

And Mike--I was thinking about you yesterday and wondering how you were. Seems to me yu were planning to move? Did that fall through? Guess I need to get over to your blog and catch up!

laoi, I think we're birds of a feather. Something about wild rainy weather has always appealed to me.

TheresaandJay said...

Hi Sue,
I have yellow pear tomatoes! Thank you, they are delicious. If I could get them up there I would. Our tomatoes are finally coming in, I thought they were going to be fried, cuz I couldn't get water to them unless I hand carried it. So, here's hoping the rain continues on a regular schedule for all our gardens.
love you

Granny Sue said...

i'm so glad you like them. Theresa. They're my favorite pick-and-eat tomato. Mine should start coming in this week, a little later than usual. But when I tohught about it, I realized they were the last ones we put out, so of course they'll be late.

I'm crossing my fingers for rain too. We don't need any more dry spells.

Twisted Fencepost said...

Great post, Susanna. And so true.
I can almost feel my body relax as the rain falls. Everything seems to get greener. And the air just seems fresher.

Susan at Stony River said...

I will never never never like rain after all those years where it never stopped. But I must say I like WV rain a lot better -- who could complain about rain when the heat has hit 90, or when it comes as brilliantly as a thunderstorm? so now at least I can tolerate it -- just not like it LOL

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