Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ask Not What You Can Do For Global Warming...

Here it is, October 18 and I'm still hauling in tomatoes. Like, hundreds.

Last weekend, when it was obvious that the first frost was on its way, I went out to glean all of the green tomatoes I could find. I figured that there would be a few that we could set in the window until they ripened. It took me five trips to bring them all in and still there were a bunch on the vines. Not just green ones, but big fat, red ones ready to eat.

It isn't just tomatoes, either. The basil was still alive, and the rosemary looked positively robust. I chopped the basil down to an inch of it's life, and cut the rosemary down to half. The strawberries -- strawberries! -- were producing like they never did this summer. There were six little, tiny berries on the vine, each packing a wallop of flavor. And folks, in Colorado in October, I picked two huge, ripe cantaloupe.

I covered the plants this week to keep the frost from them. I had no time to get to them all week, but this morning I went out to see if everything survived. The basil was touched, but still fragrant, and everything else was still going strong. It took me three trips to bring in the tomatoes and I can't tell you how heartsick I was to find that I'd missed quite a few red ones last Saturday. Those tomatoes had over ripened and were squishy, but then there were others that were perfect, ready to eat off of the vine and perfectly red all the way through.

I've been spending a good part of my Saturday mornings these last few weeks chopping up tomatoes and freezing them for the winter. I dried the rosemary and basil for a few days in the fridge and they, too, went into the freezer. I'm wondering how long I can keep the tomatoes going by just covering them with our old sheets. It's going to be almost 80 today here. I know that we have always had beautiful Indian summers here, but I think the climate crisis is affecting Colorado. Calderoj and I are turning into urban farmers. Our tomato plants might just feed us through the winter.

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