So, Summer is officially done here. It's rain and cold and wind from here until May of 2009. That's good news for those of us with boats that need to be pushed by that wind. It's bad news for those us who would prefer to wear a sarong all year round.

This is the time of year when I break out the knitting needles, the sewing machine, the Kitchen Aid... anything to keep my hands busy so I don't go mad with the lack of sunshine. This season's project? Making dresses for next summer out of last summer's t-shirts. More on that soon.

In the meantime:

Holy Nightshade Family, Batman. I mean, Jesus. There's only so much green salsa a girl can eat. Not to fear. NPR is a goldmine of information for the Northwest tomato farmer (read: overly optimistic fool). Just this last Sunday, my buddy Lynn Rosetto Kasper came to the rescue when she answered a call-in from a fellow Northwesterner who'd apparently gotten as crazy with the Cheez Wiz as I had last spring. These bad boys, all SEVENTY POUNDS OF THEM, were sleeping under a blanket of newspaper to trap their ripening off-gasses by the end of the day.

I used the bicycle basket the previous owner left us to cart the suckers all the way through the yard and up the stairs and into the kitchen where I weighed them. I actually had to use my bathroom scale to weigh them. The basket held about 20 pounds when full. I filled it up three and a half times. I lined quite a few up on the windowsill in the living room. Here's the way the rotation works: I leave them on the deck in their newspaper beds to riped to stage orange. Then I move them to the library, the room in the house that gets the most sun. They usually turn red in a day or two.

Day one was hot tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner. Day two: leftovers. Day three: gazpacho, accented with zucchini and cukes also from the garden. Delicious. Now I just have to come up with recipes for the other 60 or so pounds still out on the vines.

These pictures, by the way, come to you courtesy of my new phone: The Insight, Sprint's answer to the iPhone. I can not can not can not believe I had been so far behind the technological curve. I was literally talking on a brick with an antenna on it before I got this phone. I mean, storks literally flew out of the top of it to deliver my text messages. The paint was chipped off and half the buttons didn't light up anymore (that storm in New Orleans did her in. That's the last time I take a phone and a journal to an outdoor concert) This was how I was told, several months ago, by a gracious and sensitive friend, that I HAD to get a new phone:

(On a flight that has just touched down, from a few rows behind me)
Tara: DUDE! Did you just pull the ANTENNA out of your PHONE??? (hysterical laughter)
Me: Um... well... it helps with the reception. No, really it does!
Tara: (bent over laughing) YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!! (sputtering, wiping tears from eyes) AN ANTENNA????
(Strangers crane their necks to get a better look. Scene closes as I slink down into my seat, slip my phone into a barf bag, and make a mental note to throw phone onto nearest barge headed for Siberia).

So, now do I not only NOT have to raise the antenna like the beacon of Luddite dorkiness it was, but I can take pictures, check my work email, type lightning fast texts, get directions, search on the Internets, find a coffee shop (pet store, shoe store, SCUBA gear store, chicken lo mein, whatever) within 10 miles, and take video. Take THAT, old phone! And all for the price Sprint was ALREADY charging me to carry around my cancer box with the antenna that did NOTHING. Way to go, Sprint, you scheming thieves!

So, beware, Internets. I may just stick several thousand more pictures up here real soon...


A tip.When your tomatoes are ripe, before cleaning or anything, put them in a freezer bag and freeze them. When you take it out of the bag mid-winter, just run it under the faucet with warm water to clean it and drop it into your soup pot.The warm water makes the skin slide right off and all the vitamins are intact. You haven’t even had to slave over a canning pot. Canning ould be a drag when they are all ripening individually.