Thursday, June 29, 2006

One Fish, Two Fish, Striped Fish, Blue Fish

I don’t know where the time goes. Lately, each day it seems I run out of time before I get a chance to blog., too much work, too many weeds, too much rain. Tuesday was a workday but I skipped out of that, got up at the ridiculous hour of 4 am and I went fishing with my brother. I was lucky and that night got to have fish for supper. Outside of sand sharks these were the largest fish I’ve ever caught. I won’t say how large because they seem to continue to grow larger and larger with each telling of the story. You can see for yourself below in a photo of my brother holding the two striped bass that I caught that were keepers and a closeup a bluefish I caught who is giving me the evil eye. I was so tired from getting up at 4am that I just baked the striped bass with a little butter and didn’t do anything fancy to it. It was yummy, but if I hadn’t been so exhausted I’d have headed over to Beyond Salmon to get a more interesting recipe. I gave some away and froze the rest of the filets. I really have little experience freezing fish and am curious to see what it tastes like in a few weeks after it has been in the freezer.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Tomato is Born

If I could only plant one thing in my garden it would be tomatoes. Today I discovered the first tomato fruits starting to grow. They are both so young that their flowers haven't even fallen off yet. They are nowhere as big as they look, are pea-sized and barely noticeable if you walk in the garden. The one above is a Costoluto Fiorentino. It's one of the varieties that I grew from seed. and is a new one for me this year. It's described as a big, old-fashioned, misshapen, heavy, ribbed beef tomato from Florence, very meaty and ideal for slicing with fruits about 5 or 6 ounces. Its heavy ribs are certainly evident even so soon after planting.

Below is a very young, also pea-sized cherry tomato. The variety is Matt's Wild Cherry. I planted this variety last year. Its a good tasting prolific small red cherry tomato. It is one of the most tenacious tomato varieties I've ever planted. When other tomatoes are being attacked by blights and other things this variety kept going strong and it's doesn't seem prone to cracking. When I discovered cherry tomatoes in a row where I knew that I had not planted any cherry tomatoes it was always this variety. It ranges every where. It is the exact opposite of compact and bushy. It has a lot of personality. I always thought it would be a great tomato to train on an arched arbor. I like this tomato a lot but now plant it on the ends of the rows where I can keep a close eye on it. The fruits are small, tomato red and are perfect for adding to salads or eating as you work in the garden.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Too Much Rain

Middlesex county in Massachusetts where I live was declared a federal disaster area May 12th due to flooding and it's been raining even more since then. I've planted green beans twice, chard and zinnia seeds, but haven't seen any sprouting in a few weeks and think they have rotted. It's just too cool and wet. For some reason the winter and summer squash have actually sprouted. The tomatoes and peppers that were planted as seedlings are hanging on, but not really growing much in what seems like endless cool wet weather. Even though I planted my potatoes in a trench they are looking OK and haven't been attacked by Colorado beetles yet. Lettuce is the one thing that really seems happy, but even lettuce is looking a bit pale due to lack of sun. I took this photo at Codman Farm in Lincoln MA where I have my community garden. I remember it was taken on one of the few sunny days this spring and was unseasonably hot. These three ducks had found a little shade and were relaxing the afternoon away. The way one of them has his mouth open it looks like the are all having an afternoon conversation. Everyone I talked to is really tired of all the rain, mud and flooding, but these three fellows are probably rather happy with the very unusual spring weather we are having.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Two Wild Turkeys

Even though it rained yesterday, today and will again tomorrow I decided to go to my community garden, mostly just to putter and see what’s growing. I needed to bring some tomato cages that I’d been making from welded wire in my garage as my latest rainy day project. This time I remembered to bring my camera thinking I’d maybe take another photo of my verrrrry slooow growing artichokes or my flea bitten broccoli. On the way I spotted two turkeys by the road. My first thought was that I wished that I had my camera. In about a second or two it occurred to me that I actually DID have my camera. I pulled over and shot a few photos. Its times like this I really feel hindered by my 2 mega pixel, 3x zoom old camera. The turkey strutting with his back to me was just too far away to get a sharp image. I ended up using digital zoom just to make him bigger than a dot. The other turkey in the brush was very close to me, but it was dark and gloomy and I must have not been able to hold my camera still enough for the slower shutter speed. Even though the photos are not technically great, I’m really happy just getting them at all. I really like spotting wildlife and it’s such a bonus to be able to get a photo. I’ve seen wild turkeys before, but have never been as close to one as I was today.
Years ago there were no wild turkeys in Massachusetts. Now they are really becoming more common here.. From the hill I was standing on when I took the photos, the sky scrapers of Boston are visible and are probably about 7 or 8 miles away, as the crow flies. These two birds are almost urban dwellers. I found a site that has a nice FAQ about wild turkeys if you are interested in learning more about them.