Where Are The Ripe Tomatoes?

Reader Contribution by Ginnie Baker
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It’s the end of July and I can’t remember a year like this when I haven’t picked one ripe tomato yet! The plants don’t look too great; they’re short and a little bushy but they do have green tomatoes.

Normally, the plants are as tall as the stakes – about 4 to 5 feet tall. Sadly, not this year! Popular chef Mario Batali said that the best tomatoes are the ones that ripen in August.

We’ll see if he’s right!

One person told me that his garden was so bad, he just mowed over it and will wait for next year.

Meanwhile, the squash plants are hale and hearty. I planted them late so they are just now producing zucchini, both green and yellow, and the cucumbers are also doing well with late planting.

A friend of mine who lives just up the road and I decided that the beans were such a disaster (mine were eaten by the bunnies!) that we are going to an Amish farm not far from here and will purchase beans. She cans a lot each year, enough for her and her husband for the year but also for her grown sons and daughter and their families. I call her “stash” of home canned goodies, the family grocery store. Her children come and “shop” filling up their baskets with beans, and whatever else she cans during the summer!

The apple trees are so loaded, they are actually “shedding” the smaller apples. I’ll have plenty of apple butter and applesauce to make.

My Rose of Sharon is the prettiest it’s ever been. … I guess it likes all of the rain we’ve had this summer.

The wildlife is doing well also! The two bunnies are regular back-door visitors, waiting in the morning for me to throw out the carrots. They also, literally, come running in the late afternoon for more carrots! They run and hop as fast as they can … it’s amazing, they don’t fight, they just hunker down and munch.

I have two wild turkey juveniles who have also become “regulars” at the bird feeders. They clean up all the seeds that are on the ground. They seem to have figured out when the bird feeders get filled in the morning, at noon and then at 5 p.m. or so in the evening. They make their appearance as soon as I go inside. It’s almost as though they watch from the trees and then say, “she’s done. Let’s eat!”

Samson and Delilah can’t chew down their pastures fast enough so a good friend and neighbor has been over twice now with his tractor and Bush Hog to mow it down. Miniature donkeys just can’t eat that much!

I try not to think about fall and winter rapidly approaching, but my bittersweet tells me we may be in for an early fall. The husks on the berries are already turning a yellowish orange. That shouldn’t happen until September. And it certainly isn’t because of a lack of rain!

This is today.

This is last September.

We had 9.19 inches of rain in June. This morning, during a thunderstorm, we added another 3/4 of an inch of rain. That’s approximately 4 inches so far in July.

Well, it’s time to feed the critters: Samson and Delilah, the bunnies, the birds and the turkeys!

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