Thursday, August 13, 2009

Everything in Moderation

My soon-to-leave-the-nest son has drawn the winner of the $10 Barnes and Noble gift card. And the winner is......housemouse88!!!!

Drop me an email at kathleenbacus (at) iowatelecom (.) net, housemouse88, and I'll get your gift card in the mail. Congrats and thanks for stopping by Killer Fiction!


One lucky commenter will be chosen to receive a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card to celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of our Killer Fiction Writers' Blog. So chime in for a chance to win!


Boy am I glad I'm not the only one here at Killer Fiction to forget about securing a guest blogger. (Thanks for making me not look like a total screwup, Les.) Besides, Iowans have to stick together.

It's not that I didn't vaguely remember that it was the second anniversary of our Killer Fiction blog. It's just that I kept putting off actually doing anything about it. I can, I think, be excused for being a bit absent-minded. It's 'that' time of year again.

In spades.

The calendar tells us that it is time to prepare to head back to school--or in my kids' cases, back to college. This weekend I'll be moving my son into his apartment at a university about ninety minutes away from home. Not a horrible distance, but not easily qualifying for that 'just happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to drop by' scenario.

A circumstance for which my son is probably eternally grateful.

He'll be missed. My son and I share a lot of interests and are pretty tight. So, needless to say, I'll return home with a 'Rudolph' nose and plugged sinuses after I've left him there and waved goodbye.

I still have an extra week to prepare for the departure of the other daughter who goes away to college. Then it will be just my youngest (by one minutes and 22 seconds) triplet who still commutes to her classes and mom left at home.

As I told my son yesterday when we went shopping for apartment 'stuff', "It's the end of the world as we know it."

Sniff. Sniff.

So as I said, I can be excused for spacing on the guest blogger for this reason alone. But there's more.

As many of you know, I'm painting the exterior of my house. Hadn't planned to do it until

next year, but when the weather turned out freakishly cool and I got to the point I couldn't stand the old color, I decided to go for it. As a result, I've been spending a lot of time on a ladder, paintbrush in hand. I'm basically down to the trim and the garage. The end is in sight!

If those two circumstances aren't enough to merit a 'bye' in the guest procurement department, I must also add a full time job to the mix.

And last, but not least, there is the 'garden.

Okay, it's not really a garden. It's tomato plants. I love homegrown tomatoes but being a bit of a tightwad, I don't like to have to pay premium prices for them when I have a perfectly nice backyward in which to grow them myself.

So, this year I decide to do it. And, with most projects I undertake, things generally uh, snowball. From 3 plants, my plot quadrupled to 12. And everything was going very well. Until the weather decided to be historically cool for June and July delaying the growth and development of the tomatoes to such an extent that while I have tons of tomatoes on the vine, very few have actually ripened.

Now, with August temperatures soaring into the 90s we typically experience, those tomatoes are now ripening. All at the same time.

I went out and did a 'headcount' last night. Each plant has approximately 20 mature tomatoes which will no doubt ripen about the same time. That means, any day now I'll have about 200 tomatoes to deal with.

Now as I said, I love tomatoes. I'm just not too sure how much I'll love them when I have to deal with them in bulk.

I will give some away, of course, but I really would like to try and use them in some kind of food prep (short of canning, which would be ug-lee). I'd really like to try an easy salsa recipe so if you have any EASY, but good recipes for salsa, post 'em here. (I accidentally deleted your email with the recipe, Glynna, so if you could post it or resend it, that would be appreciated.)

Anyway, those are my 'the dog ate my homework' excuses for not having a guest blogger this week.

How is your fall shaping up? Care to commiserate on empty nest syndrome, gardens or summer projects gone wild, or just give the highlights of your summer? Have at it. Oh. And don't forget to post a fave recipe for tomato consumption if you have one.

Have a super day!

~Bullet Hole~


MsHellion said...

I like my salsa hot, so I usually food process:

2-3 jalepenos (I cut off the end, but leave the seeds to make it hotter, yes, I'm weird)

1/2 onion, chopped into medium pieces

4-5 cloves of garlic (I like my food garlicy as well as hot)

2-4 T of lime juice (to taste)

*process until everything is chopped up, then add:

5-6 tomatoes, seeded so everything is not overly juicy, I don't like overly juicy salsa

Cilantro (a big handful, to taste)

Salt to taste (1 teaspoon, maybe a bit more)

*process until smooth as you want it.

I also commend you on your painting. I'd rather let my house just paint curl into oblivion than repaint the damned thing. Cool weather or not. But your arms must be really toned!

Kathy Bacus said...

Oooh. Yum, yum! Your recipe sounds hot, hot, hot, but oh, so good!

And one upside of painting the house yourself is improving the upper body tone. The legs also got some exercise getting up and down off the ladder (and the roof!)

Thanks again!


Danielle Yockman said...

MY DH is about to paint ours! Better him than me! Watch that will come back to haunt me. :)

housemouse88 said...

I'd love to have a couple of your tomato plants. We didn't plant a garden this year so of course I've been craving home grown vegetables. I'm trying to get my DH to finish our porch. If I get it done before winter, I'll be happy. Have a great day. Happy Birthday

catslady said...

Oh, I planted a potted garden this year since I don't have a place for a real garden - spent a fortune on dirt, pots and fertilizer and watering, watering, watering and then we got rain, rain, rain lol. I can say we had a wonderful crop of green onions, and the cucumbers did okay but alas the radishes are like beebees, I got two small peppers from 4 plants (bugs),even the zucchini was a bust (hard to do I hear) - bugs or some kind of something ate the core and some rotted and the few that made it had hard skins (maybe I left them too long) but the biggest disappointment was that my tomatoes caught the late blight (big sigh). I do have some tomatoes that developed early on and even though they aren't getting any bigger they are turning red - I have like two or three leaves left on the entire plant(s). Oh and a bird made a nest in my topsy turvey tomato planter so now I can't water it roflmao.

Kathy Bacus said...

Good luck to your DH, Danielle. I do have to admit to receiving immediate gratification as I brushed away the old gray paint with the new earthy color.


Wendy Roberts said...

I'm trying to grow tomatoes but I've recently given them up to the slugs in my yard. They seem to appreciate them more than my kids do. But I'm willing to take notes with all the great recipes and try them :)

Kathy Bacus said...

Since only two people in my household like tomatoes, 12 plants was probably overkill, housemouse88, but I'm enjoying the fresh fare.

Good luck with the porch project!


Kathy Bacus said...

Okay, catslady, your gardening experience is a more harrowing tale than mine, hands down. So far no blight here, but the tomatoes are smaller than they typically are due to the cool, wet weather.

I enjoyed zucchini and muskmelon thanks to a coworker and cukes courtesy of my brother so I've had a nice variety so far.

Today with temps in the 90s and high humidity we should see our tomatoes ripen big time.


Kathy Bacus said...

I had a couple of critters venture into my backyard early on, Wendy, and they nibbled on my ripening tomatoes so I've had to be vigilant.

It doesn't help that the pear tree is dropping pears all over the place luring the nocturnal neighborhood inhabitants into my garden.

Looking forward to dabbling with salsa recipes, too!


Suzan Harden said...

I've got the opposite situation than empty nest. I'm going to be homeschooling our son this year. Though my husband does tease me about bawling my eyes out when he does go to college.

CrystalGB said...

Congrats on nearing the completion of your house painting. I am sure it looks nice. I am so envious that your tomatoes are doing so well. We had so much rain that our tomatoes suffered horribly and we have gotten very few. How about making homemade pasta sauce? You can get some recipes at the Food Network site.

Virginia said...

I have never made salsa but my sister does! I always put out about four tomatoes plants but this year they have not done well. Right now they are all are ready to die. I think they may have some kind of fungus, not sure. We have had a lot of rain this year and maybe thats the problem.

I am also sending my son off to college in about two weeks, he will be about an hour away.

Virginia said...


Jane said...

It's been a slow summer. Vacation plans didn't pan out. The weather's been crappy, but things are okay.

traveler said...

Your tomato plants are thriving. I love tomatoes as they can be used in so many recipes and dishes. My favorite appetizer which uses tomatoes and is a real treat is bruschetta.

KT Cruiser said...

One of the funny parts of summer at my parents' farm is watching their Australian Cattle Dog pick tomatoes and deliver them to the deck off the kitchen!

Estella said...

I am giving zucchini, cucumbers and lettuce to every neighbor I can talk into taking some. The garden has really produced this summer. Green beans are next---I will can them, tho'.

Brandy said...

Usually I plant a container garden, most of those are tomato's. However, this year we decided to go full out and cleared a patch of yard for a garden. My husband was supposed to take care of it. Uh, yeah. He got one row of plants planted and then... forgot about everything. We've also had a few colder days meaning that our tomato's are now ripening. Good thing my Daughter and I like tomato's! *G*
Good luck! And Happy Anniversary to Killer Fiction!

LuAnn said...

My husband has tomato and cucumber plants and he's out there babying them everyday. But, gosh, they sure do taste yummy!

Kathy Bacus said...

Kudos to you, Suzan, for taking on the awesome challenge of home schooling. And I betcha the DH sheds a tear or two when the boy goes off to college so don't let him tease you.


Kathy Bacus said...

That's a good idea about the spaghetti sauce, Crystal. We all love marinara and I think you caN freeze sauce so that might be a great route to go. Thanks!


Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks for the anniversary congrats, Virginia! Sorry your plants didn't do well. I don't think mine will turn out as prolific as they might have if we'd had warmer, drier weather. I'm thinking of trying zucchini next year and reducing the number of tomato plants.


Kathy Bacus said...

I hear you, Jane. I'd hoped to have some time to take a trip this summer, but that didn't work out. I'm hoping to maybe escape this fall on a writing retreat. I can use the time away.


Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Travelor! I'd thought about bruschetta. I'm no Julia Child in the kitchen but I might be able to handle this food prep.


Kathy Bacus said...

Okay, KT. I SO would love to see your folks' dog pick and deliver tomatoes. You gotta 'You Tube' this.


Kathy Bacus said...

Talk about your garden success stories, Estella. You're eating good this summer--and from the sounds of it--so are your neighbors!

Way to go!


Kathy Bacus said...

It's amazing how quickly one can get behind on weeding, Brandy. I tried to pull some nightly but wasn't altogether successful.

Enjoy your tomatoes!


Kathy Bacus said...

Your DH must have a bit of a green thumb, LuAnn. And you get to enjoy the fruits of his labors (literally!).

I learned how to make quick, easy pickles in the microwave this year so I've consumed more cucumbers than I typically do.



Heather Webber said...

I have yet to tackle a veggie garden, though I'd love to have fresh veggies on hand. Maybe not 200 tomatoes, though...

Your house is looking great, btw!

Christie Craig said...

Hi Kathy,

Empty nest is still sounding pretty good to me. Oh heck, I know I'll cry for weeks, I've already done it for once, but hey...he still leaves his dirty clothes in the living room. He cooks and leaves the kitchen a mess. Ahh, but I know I'll miss him something terribly.

Great post, Kathy.


donnas said...

I love tomatoes. Pretty much anyway you make them. If they arent in something specific, I will eat with just a touch of salt.

Shelley Munro said...

I'm at the other end of the world so we're heading into spring, which I'm very happy about. My favorite way to use up surplus tomatoes is to slow roast them in the oven. I wash them and take the cores out then place the whole tomatoes in a baking tray. Add a sprinkle of salt, some fresh basil and olive oil and roast at a very low temperature until cooked. I usually cook them for a couple of hours. The intense flavor of the cooked tomatoes is delicious.

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Heather! I plan to post pics of the house when it's all done.

Picked more tomatoes this evening...


Kathy Bacus said...

I'll probably sob all the way home after I've moved the son in, Christie. When I moved my oldest away to college I had company on the drive home that prevented me from making a complete and utter blubbering fool of myself, but this time I'll be driving home solo.

I can already tell I'm gonna need a big box of Kleenex tissues...


Kathy Bacus said...

I love to watch my kids' faces when I grab a tomato, wash it, salt it, and bite into it, Donna.

Yesterday I ate them at every meal, including in an omelet for breakfast. Yum!


Kathy Bacus said...

Your slow-roasted tomatoes sound divine, Shelley! And even better, they sound easy enough for me to prepare!



Terry S said...

I had given up years ago on even trying any kind of plant since I have the original black thumb. My success rate this year for tomatoes is 50-50. But that 50% success is the first time EVER success. This year I tried two upside down tomato planters. One has gone wild with tomatoes (still green) in abundance. The weather next week is going to be warm for at least 4 days so they might even ripen :) The other is still alive but growing by micro millimeters. It was planted earliest and will probably go to it's oblivion when the first freeze hits without growing enough to produce anything.

That herbal wash on your house looks really good. Definitely worth all your hard work.

robynl said...

I used to make Paste Meat sauce with tomatoes when I had access to many. You can freeze it easily and take out of freezer, thaw and add to cooked spaghetti. Yummy!!!

We love toasted tomatoe sandwiches and I love Miracle Whip on mine.

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks! I like the herbal wash color, too, Terry.

And I almost invested in some of those topssy-turvy upside down planters but ended up using tomato cages. Some folks rave about them while others claim dubious success. I might try one or two next season.


Kathy Bacus said...

Yep, I'm a Miracle Whip, tomato,and a slice of cheese on bread gal, too, Robynl.

And I've decided to try making some pasta sauce Sunday. I'll need something to take my mind off my son moving away. Hmmm. Maybe I should be making brownies. Chocolate is sure to soothe.