Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy early September to all of you..........

Hope you all survived the summer rains, temps and bugs. Also hope that you are looking forward to Fall. I sure am.

Every year I say I am not going to wax on about how I love autumn, fall, but I must....otherwise I shall burst. I love this time of year.

Fall just seems to be a time of hurry up and get ready. The two weeks between Labor Day and the first day of fall just offer dramatic changes in light, temps and smells that no other change of season offers. I love what we used to call (totally un PC) Indian Summer. Crops are tumbling out of the gardens, sunlight has more of a golden cast to it and my homing instincts are kicked into high gear. It is also a time of festivals of celebration. Harvest, bounty and getting ready for colder times all are part of this lovely time of year.

Last late winter, I told you all of an experiment that I was undertaking with strawbale gardening. We set up our gardens in specific arrangements according to the crops that we were anticipating. We did all the prep work of nitrogen soaks, added the topsoil and mulch, kept the bales damp, then we planted our seedlings that we took care to carefully chose, plant, nurture and prepare. And watched as every single one of our "babies" died. We had started tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, cantalope, pumpkin, onions, and none of those made it in the bales. We then dropped back 15 yards and planted some seeds, some purchased plants and watered on.

While some of the seed sprouted and some of the purchased plants survived, most did not. What we were left with in mid June was tomatoes, sunflowers, cantalope vines that never set fruit, watermelon that followed suit and pumpkins that looked fabulous in June and were gone in July. We did have cucumbers planted by the front entrance to the patio in the front yard but they never tried too much, only a couple.

When I purchased the watermelon plants, I only had room for two and there were four plants so I planted one in the whiskey barrel in the front porch which is shaded with shade cloth, never thinking that the plant would do anything.....but we have a watermelon there, the size of a soccer ball. When we first spotted it, the whole Cuckoo clan a happy dance.  At last we had something for our efforts. Ry suggested that it grew because it is close to the gratefulness tree. Could be. There is magic in the gifting of others in that ladder.

Shortly after, the tomotes started developing fruit on their plants instead of just flowers. And now we have an abundance of yellow cherry tomatoes, Black Prince tomatoes and the wonderful Beefsteak beauties that Sweet Man loves so much. Slow start to our harvest, but at least we have one.

So this morning I made yellow cherry and Black Prince tomato jam, er marmalade. As a youngster my Daddy Jack (maternal grandfather) always had cherry tomato jam in his pantry when we would visit him in Tennessee. I looked for years to find a recipe for one that came close to his jam. This year I found one not that I grew the kind of red cherry tomatoes that he grew, they were tiny and bright red. But I figured I would give it a shot with what I had available.

The combination of the bright yellow and the red, green and maroon flesh of the tomato varieties I used is kinda cool looking and they were so sweet before I even made them that I knew they would be yummers. And I was not disappointed. My non tomato eating family (besides Sweet Man) are crazy about the results.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and if you give it a try, I'm sure you will be pleased, we sure are. You'll need to pan down her page to find the yellow tomato marmalade.....but some of her other receipes look super too.

Smooches and Squoozes, Oma Linda
pssssst did ya notice I have a photo? I just gave it a try with the photo from the recipe and there it is. Wow, I can use my camera again.....Hats and Horns, lets have a party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. I LOVE tomato jam. My favorite recipe has a wonderful hint of Lemon.

  2. Congrats on the eventual fruits of your labours, and on the photo!

    In the UK Indian Summers refer to certain weather patterns in the Indian Ocean when there were 'I.S.' markings on the hulls of ships to show how low they should be laden in that period.

  3. I want to see a picture of the watermelon.

  4. This was not a banner year for my garden either. If you don't count the two quarts of strawberries we picked the whole thing was total waste of time, money and water. (Those were some dang expensive berries.)
    What a shame that all of your work with the garden beds didn't produce an abundance of lovely fruits and vegies for the table. I was expecting to see photos of beautiful leafy vegies and hearing about how you had such a big harvest you were sharing with all of your neighbors. That was assuming you could get some photos posted. :^) Maybe we'll both have better luck next year. By the way, I'm sure Ry is right about the water melon doing well because of it's connection to the gratefulness tree. It makes perfect sense.
    Tomato jam...yum! It's probably been 46 years since I last made it and I can't remember why I haven't made it since or what I did with my recipe. Maybe I'll try my hand at making a batch using the recipe from the link you provided and I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Have a wonderful day little sista. Smooches & squoozes

  5. Who knew you could make jam and marmalade from tomatoes???? Thanks for the info!

  6. Love your perseverance with the garden experiment. I'd have probably given up.
    Think you will love that watermelon. They are so much sweeter that the ones in the store.
    I am not a big tomato eater so I will check out that recipe. Never heard of tomato jam. Thanks. Fall is getting near.

  7. My garden did the same, setting seeds early, like Mother Nature was making sure the seeds continued. The swallows made three batches of babies this year. The fogs in August were numerous so I think autumn may be short and winter long. I hope I'm wrong.

    The last few days have been perfect temps, good working weather even though I have not worked.

    We always have cherry tomatoes come up volunteer. we call them Tommy Toes. They are wonderful. Dad always loved the beef steak tomatoes. In childhood summers our noon meal was scrambled eggs on bread with mayo and one slice of those awesome tomatoes. Even now at almost 60 I think it's not a summer day without that treat.

    Wishing you a happy autumn, my friend.

  8. That is so funny I should read this tonight. Just today, the weather was cooler..a strong cool wind. I was walking the dogs and just stood still, with my eyes closed, to feel the lovely air. I thought about Fall.....blankets and books, candles and pumpkins and soup. The windows open and the dogs frisky and energetic. But, we still have lots of Hot ahead here. Even so, the shadows grow longer.And we still have cherry tomatoes and basil, tarragon, and parsley growing. I can't Wait to look up the jam recipe- sounds delicious!!! Happy Fall, Gnoma!

  9. my garden did zilch this year. nothing bloomed and when it finally did, nothing set fruit. I finally yanked it all out of the ground last week.

  10. Oh, I am so happy to see a post from you... and I share your love for all things Autumn. It's still hot here in GA, but this morning there was the teey-tiniest, itsy-bitsiest chill in the air and I am so excited!
    Funny thing about the garden... I planted many things in my small raised bed, but worms ate my cabbages, my squash flowered but no fruit, and the flowers just fell off my bell peppers as soon as they bloomed. Then at the end of Aug, I started getting peppers and okra... LOTS of okra! That Ry is a wise one... I'm sure that all of the good vibes from your Gratefulness Tree was the magic that helped your watermelon grow!
    Thanks for the recipe for the marmalade, I must try... and Happy Fall, Y'all!

  11. Tomato jam? Never heard of that before! Have to tell mom!
    I am so happy you got a watermelon too ;o)
    You guys did a lot of work!
    I am so happy fall is here ;o) Doing my happy dance!
    Love you Oma Linda xoxoxo

  12. Ohh I went to your link & those gingersnap cookies look yum! So pleased Mother nature in all her wisdom coaxed some of those seeds to bear fruit to repay the loving received from the cuckoos :) We are going well with herbs & tomatoes (don't they taste so flavoursome when you grow your own?) lot of pride when we beat the grasshoppers to our lettuce, or bats to our pawpaws & banana tree... I hope the garden keeps sprouting for you Oma, and that sweet man of yours enjoys the fruits of your labour, that tomato jam is interesting, here a lot of folk have rhubarb jam, which is a bit tarter than the berry varieties... Oh... & Happy Autumn Oma xox

  13. I am currently suffering from some serious tomato envy.

    I usually love Summer more than Autumn, but this year my heart is set on the upcoming season. I'm looking forward to the cool, too.

  14. I'm happy to hear that after the slow start, there is a lovely harvest to be had! I'm wading through tomatoes right now too - salsa is in my future!


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