Friday, July 31, 2009

Tomato Fight !

There is definately other purpose for tomatoes besides sauce ! Bunol,Spain knows this. Once a year they have a HUGE tomato fight. "La Tomatino" !!! The 3rd week in August is the reserved date. Spain is in the same longtitude as New Jersey, so their tomatoes are at their prime ripening season at the same time.Check out this website!
Truckloads of tomatoes are hauled in for this great event. People book hotels a year in advance for this hilariously fun tradition. Crowds fill the streets ~I want to go ~or else start one in Pennsylslavia! Why can't WE have one too? WHY should Americans have to travel halfway across the world just to pelt their buddies with a ripe one??I used to be so good at Dodgeball & Prisoners in gym class! We've got plenty of tomato fields and open range for the GREAT PELTING! Sign a petition today before August and September's tomato ripening gets away !

The Garden

I'm down to the last 6 quarts of tomato sauce.It never ceases to amaze me that out of all the WHEELBARROW loads of tomatoes from approximately 120 tomato plants, by August I'm actually running out of sauce.This is me from a previous year.My tomato plants this year are just starting to turn a tad bit red.I can't believe I actually pay $1.49 PER TOMATO until my own tomatoes come through. The deluge of rain has caused such a jungle of weeds out in the garden that I hope the tomato plants will not turn into 'slug garden'. I'm not worried. Today the kids picked 10 lbs. of string beans & 1.5 lbs of waxed beans ( planted later).We hunt for onions & potatoes thru an ocean of wet weeds and dodge spider webs that glisten with rain water.Young kittens followed them out into the garden and batted wooley catepillars about.Toys come cheap in nature! Cars & pickup trucks stop while the kids are picking and say, "Hey~ that's a BIG garden !". Yea, and a LOT of weeds too ! (I'm thinking).We've had a steady supply of great crispy lettuce and the remainder is beginning to grow skyward.There's only so much you can eat ! The cabbage is beginning to look like it has hyper-pituitaryism ( HUGE heads). I already have started sauerkraut in a keg in the coolest room in the house.It has 4 weeks to go.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


The pond excavator returned today and fixed the problem ( we hope).Looks like it should hold thru the winter.The plan to rescue the fish has been put on hold. The sky looks like slate and if only I could harvest the rainfall off the barn roof I'd have a good headstart on replacing water that was lost.I'm glad I won't have a big bomb crater in the middle of the yard for our Family Reunion in August ! But then again , kids would be thrilled with something like that to run up & down in ~ you KNOW I'm right about that one!

Fish Rescue

The pond's excavator has been found and paid us a visit today.Naughty pond !! It drenched him with a 10 foot spray and full gush of fishy water as he attempted to plug the 4" drain pipe.He succeeded and a temporary stoppage has occurred.Let's hope it holds until we can rescue as many fish as possible.Then we'll let it drain and get the drain capped so this never happens again.

I dread the thought of starting from the beginning with the fish farm starter kit.So,we have alighted the idea of creating our own 'Hackettstown hatchery', only for bass, carp, coy, cats, sunnies & bluegills & whatever else we find. I shall have to accumulate several kid swimming pools & aerators similar to a Talipea fish farm setup , I guess. Today I'll be spending time Googeling fish farm setups, MotherEarth News archives, etc. And I'll have to 'Craigslist' CHEAP used kiddie pools .(Sigh!)
Why am I never bored? Why does everyday have to be an adventure for me?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You never know what a day will bring !

I can't believe it! Somebody or something pulled the plug on my pond and I'm losing a foot per day ! Serious stuff going on here. It's full of fish. Some very large catfish as well as medium size, coy,bluegills, sunnies, bass and who knows what else?Vegetation around the periphery depends upon submerged root bases (cat tails & water lillies.) Ohhhh! My poor water lillies look drawn. They were so beautiful 1 week ago ! The water is too brown now to see below the surface .It's too dangerous to swim down to the plug level ( 15-17 feet deep).About 9 years ago I well remember a girl who drowned in a deep hot tub when her hair & her leg was sucked into the drain in a country club in NJ.Noone could break the suction.
The kids were having fun today with their new beach that wasn't there a week ago.They were building sand castles, volcanoes,and all kinds of imaginative art formations in the wet clay.
Who knows what we'll find down there? I'm not sure how low the level will get to before we're able to safely search for the plug~ before it becomes dangerously low for the fish.
Anybody out there knowledgeable on pond management & troubleshooting this kind of problem (loosened plug) ?

Early summer is cherry pickin'time.Sour cherries make fine pies & good eating right from the tree ( if you have a 'sour tooth').My trees are young and produced more this year than last.My neighbour has 2 mature trees that were nicely filled and they invited us to pick since they dislike sour cherries.Even the chickens like to help pick cherries !
Cherry pitters are a must and can be bought in antique stores ( like the one we have here).
A good 9" pie recipe: 4 cups pitted cherries
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbs Minute Tapioca
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 pats of butter (or margarine) placed on top cherry mixture in the pie shell).Place dough crust on top and cut a few slits in top of crust.Bake in preheated oven 375 F. until golden brown crust and mixture starts to bubble through.( About 1 hour).

Monday, July 13, 2009


This is my darlin' ~ the Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Park in Pa. My ride of rides! My birthday present to my twin grandsons every August is to take them to this wonderful park and let them have the time of their lives! But first, I must have the time of MY life, so I drag them by the ear up the ramp and shove them into that dreadful seat while they await certain death. "How many big hills are there like THAT one, Nana? " As we ascend the first 70 ft drop I assure them there is only "ONE" and the rest are "little hills".As we reach the summit I apologize with ,"Nope, I think there are 9 more.I forgot".Their eyes are huge, mouths wide open & speechless.It's time to throw up your arms & scream "YEE HAHH !!!" and burst forth into manic laughter and hold on for dear life! It's exhilarating !Cameras don't do well up there, but I try.If I'm lucky I'll get 2 shots at the top of the first ascent.
While others pay large sums going to the gym to work out trying to get their pulse up to 120 ,I go here. "Yep~ 120", as I near the last turn of the ride.And it only cost me $2.25 !
How did this addiction start ? Well, I was 14 yrs old and went to Sandy Beach at Harvey's Lake with my family and cousin Tommy.He insisted I get on the roller coaster with him, that it would be "fun" ! I was terrified but finally he talked me into it.It didn't have the heavy lap bar that we have nowadays, only a chain and a bar you held onto. That's when I panicked! I pushed myself to the floor in a kneeling postion as we ascended that enoremous first hill.The metal mesh grate at the front of the car grated at my knees.DOWN we went!I was terrified as I flung and jerked side to side and plummeted down one hill after another. Of course Tommy was having the time of his life, laughing and squeeling away !Finally the ride was over ! I was disheveled and panting. My knees were all skinned up . I staggered off the platform , down the ramp and I kissed the ground ."LET'S GO ON AGAIN!" Tommy said. "Are you NUTS?", I screamed. Of COURSE I went on again!

After that I went on the Cyclone in Coney Island .This year it's 82 yrs old ( an additional reason one might panic) . Rolling Thunder, at Great Adventure (Six Flags to non-Jerseyites),was my great love for many years .
The wooden framed scaffolded roller coasters are much more thrilling in my book.
I salute the Russians and the French for inventing this great amusement .The Russians were the initiators several hundreds of years ago. It was a huge ICE Slide with a wooden sled. The French later designed and developed it into the roller coasters we know today including the loop in the middle of the ride.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Catfish fight !

Fights like a bluefish!


Do you remember watching the original TV series of 'LASSIE' with Tommy Reddig as 'Jeff' ? These pics remind me of those TV memories.Jeff's friend ,'Porky',would skid to the front door of the barnyard & yell "Eee-Yah-kee !!". Jeff would leap out of bed & lean out of the window or jump up from the breakfast table & race outside.Chickens would scatter and Mom would yell,"You didn't finish your breakfast!".Gramps was hobbling out of the barn & was nearly knocked over as the two friends raced on old time bicycles out of the barnyard & down the dirt road.It was a great day for catfishin' !
These kids in the picture have their own secret worm-farm - a bale of hay sitting on dirt under the barn overhang.Worms love the damp dark & play in the hay between the blades of grasses.No more digging for bait necessary!
You'll notice they're fishing with salt water poles.The bigger cats break the fresh water poles . This is one of the medium school of cats. He was a 'catch & release'.
Don't you just love summer? !!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Two beautiful pictures : My daughter Annie (Happy 5th Anniversary !) and a wedding peacock. A toast to beauty!

Saturday, July 4, 2009