Monday, August 11, 2008

Hermits do it in the can

After every vacation, even the ones we go on where we hide out in a jungle and see barely more than a monkey or the inexplicable armadillo, we come home and immediately have a NO PEOPLE weekend.

See, y'all, despite childhood report cards indicating my extreme social behavior and Bubba's super friendly outwardly appearance, we are really just big hermits.

We like to be in our house (which also includes the backyard surrounded by an 8ft fence, thank you) with just each other and the creatures and no one telling us what to do or when are you having kids or hey can we borrow your welding equipment or whatever.

Frankly, going out to lunch (which we love to do even when we have food at home - don't tell my mom) becomes a flee-worthy event because of the stressful human interaction that happens when the dude asks us what we want to drink with our carne asada tacos.


It's not an official thing, where we press our palms together in solidarity on Thursday night and declare Friday through Sunday a NO PEOPLE WEEKEND, but it might as well be for the amount of socializing we do.

Sometimes I get self-conscious about the fact that it seems like everyone else in the whole wide world wants nothing more than to spend every free waking moment surrounded by other people doing things outside their homes despite the amount of hassle, travel and logistics involved. And then these same people come racing in to work on Monday morning to share with me their breathless accounts of the three bridal showers, two weddings, seven cocktail hours, family bbq and neighborhood block party they enthusiastically attended in between which they shopped for their fall wardrobe and painted the house.

REALLY? And you didn't throw yourself from the roof and/or barricade yourself in the basement?

Me, I get anxious when my weekend is predicted to hold more than one social occasion. And for me, a social occasion is any event outside my home that involves a person other than Bubba and an unexpected return time.

I don't know when I became this way, but it would appear that I'm growing into something of a magnificent hermit and with my 3-0 birthday only a few short weeks away (vomit), I'm no longer going to be able to use my youth to disguise my true identity: Old Hermit Woman.

This is another reason why no more cats.

So whether this post is really about how Bubba and I are hermits or how I'm going to be old soon or why Rocket will likely be the last feline to grace our doorstep, I'm not sure, but what I am sure about is that this Old Hermit Gal will probably eat pretty well even if she decides she can no longer handle the intense questioning of the taco dude because being a hermit means there's lots of time to work in the garden and then can some vegetables.

Because there's nothing that says Young and Vibrant like canning vegetables.

For the record, no, I am NOT sure that I'm not really turning 80. Thank you for pointing that out.

So, during our unofficial but legitimate nonetheless NO PEOPLE weekend, I did some successful canning of two crops going slowly out of control in the garden: cucumbers and tomatoes.

For the purposes of this post, though, I'll just be covering the tomatoes because I have to have something good to report about the cucumbers in the Adopt a Crop post and I suspect people are bored of hearing about the status of my melons - as inexplicable as that may seem.

So the situation with the tomatoes is this, there aren't enough.

We have two very full and healthy and productive plants, which is the same amount we've had for years and by which we've been satisfied if not overwhelmed, and yet it would seem that we've found so many ways to use them that two plants are no longer enough.

We are tomato whores.

So, this weekend's activity was to pick and can as many tomatoes as possible so that when tomato season is over *tears* we will still have tomatoes for sauce and chili and sauce. And did I mention sauce? We make a lot of sauce. It's a food group over here.

And the anxiety about oh my god are we going to have enough tomatoes to can because they're so good we've been eating them at every meal and the need to harvest and can them For Winter when we are destitute of tomatoes had become very real and a little chest-pain inducing.

We are also a little dramatic.

Saturday morning my basket and I harvested these:

And then we, quick like a cat, raced into the house and peeled them which is much messier and time-intensive than this looks:

After which , I (the basket took a nap) ran the canner at a steady boil for the entire afternoon so that we could have four quarts of tomatoes at the ready For Winter as though we live in the Alaskan interior instead of northern California and are running any risk of food shortages.

At the end of the day I happily reported to Bubba, with no sarcasm in my voice mind you, that we had DON'T WORRY, at least four quarts of tomatoes to see us through until spring. Because you know that I will can more if this next crop really comes through (*hint hint* to the plants, I know they read this) and I'd really feel more comfortable if we had more like eight quarts of tomatoes rather than four. NOT TO BE GREEDY, but really now.

And to that Bubba said, "Wow! That's almost more than last year!" which is an excellent observation because it was exactly the same amount as last year because I learned an important lesson in my canning time since 2007 and that is to STUFF THOSE FUCKERS FULL rather than do it all dainty like and end up with tomatoes floating in juice when they could be tomatoes smushed up against other tomatoes in a lewd way.

To be specific, last year I canned 10 pints of tomatoes loosely and this year (so far - remember, HINT HINT TOMATO PLANTS) I canned 4 quarts TIGHTLY.

Which, if you can do Finny Math, means 10 pints = 5 quarts but if you really smushed the tomatoes in the quart jars (which I so totally did to avoid the floating) it's 4 quarts so TEE DAH - same amount.

And there's more on the vine.


OK, I think it's obvious now why I'm destined to be The Old Hermit Woman.


  1. I envy you your tomatoes. And I applaud your hermititude. Husband and I have that same trait. For us a perfect weekend is the two of us, a cat, a movie on TiVo and some take-out Chinese. Horray for the comfy couch.

  2. I hate people too. I much prefer spending time with my tomatoes. But holy crap - you're only 30! (wait, I meant that in the nicest possible way, as in wow you are so accomplished and well traveled for 30)

  3. You have welding equipment?!

  4. My husband and I are right there with you on avoiding all human contact whenever possible. Well, not right there with you because, well, that would require human contact.

  5. I would just like to state for the record that I will never get tired of the status of your melons.

    And next time you need to skin tomatoes, do this: put a pot of water on the stove. While it gets ready to boil, cut a little cross into each tomato's bottom. And get a bowl of cold water or ice water ready.
    When the water boils, drop the tomatoes into the water for just about a minute. Fish them out with the slotted spoon, and drop them into the ice water, and then peel them easily from their crossy little bottoms.

    Oh, and the hermitude? It's the way to go. Being sociable all the time is *SOOOO* 1993.

  6. Social schmocial. I work with people all damned week long. I don't want people in my face or anywhere else near me on my weekends. I wanna have tomato plants instead, but I am a little lazy and didn't get anywhere near doing something resembling gardening. I keep telling myself next year...but alas, it is never next year.
    I need to's your melons?

  7. Word up, Finny. I leave the property once a week. I can do this because I have no job to go to. Glorious.

    And it's a good damn thing, since we have no less than TWENTY-FOUR tomato plants. I need all the time I don't spend at a job to can all those tomatoes. That's a full-time job right there.

  8. I love it. Let's all be dashing young women (yes, talking to you) who swing their hips and can actually strut in stilletos and can drink gin martinis as well as cheap ballpark beer and are so self-aware and self-reliant that we can make our own canned tomatoes and bread and berry cobbler. I think it's a pretty kick ass way to live.

  9. Girl, embrace that inner hermit! My sister-in-law usually has no less than three activities planned for her Saturday, and the very thought of it gives me anxiety. If I have a party or whatever on Saturday AND Sunday, I need charts and graphs to keep it all together. Hermit Weekends restore my (relative) sanity.

    Two more things: I am sick with tomato envy now, and I love being in my 30s more than my 20s. Have no fear, Sister!

  10. My name is Diane and I am a hermit. There, I've said it. Maybe we should all start a hermit club. Course, there'd be no meetings cause we don't want to leave home. Oh well, never mind about the club. See, the thing is, I HAVE to go somewhere five days out of the damn week (curse you, stupid job), so maybe I don't want to go somewhere the other two days. Is that OKAY PEOPLE?!!! I get so tired of the labels, man.

  11. Decca - I knew I wasn't alone in this. Swap take-out Chinese for Pizza Night and we're having the same weekend. Except when you come over for mah jong, that is.

    Knittah - SEE! I even SEEM old! But thank you - that made me happy.

    Wendy - Um, yeah. And just doesn't everyone in our neighborhood know it, too. And, no, they can not borrow it and Bubba is not available for hire.

    Alisha - RIGHT?! See. I knew we weren't the only ones.

    Elkit - You know the depths of our sociability. We come to your house, eat your scones, pick your lemons, disturb your kitties and then we race home like freaks. Why you let us come over is beyond me, but I'm grateful :) We need to get out from time to time.

    So, I do use this method when peeling tomatoes, but it's still too messy for my AR tastes. I'm so high maintenance!

    Claudia - Thank you for asking, my melons are doing great! All of them! I have 6 new ones on the vine. And then the same old two that keep hanging around ;)

    Kristin - You might be my evil country twin, but I'm not worthy. YOU HAVE 24 TOMATO PLANTS? My hero.

    Umberdove - Bless you. I agree completely. LETS!

    Meg - I'm marching into my 30s with high expectations. Don't let me down.

    Diane - Yes. Why DO we feel compelled to go out on the weekends when we just spent all week BEING OUT. I'd rather be home enjoying the place I spend all week working to pay for. The mortgage, she isn't cheap you know.

    Maybe instead of calling it Being a Hermit I will start calling it Appreciating my Investment. Yes?

  12. No, Finny--YOU are MY hero. Know why? Because I tried your tomato sauce recipe last night. I did indeed love it (it's even the subject of my post today, and I linked to your recipe so everyone else can make it) and it's so easy that it's going to be the recipe I use to make sauce for canning this year. When the tomatoes are all ripe, which will be in about 2 weeks, God help me.

    Last year I spent all damn day reducing a pot of tomato sauce, but this year? All done in the oven and blender, then shoved in the pressure canner. Yay! So thank you for saving me hours of boiling in the kitchen.

  13. Sign me up for hermit ville. LOVE what you've done here. I am considering making prickly pear jam this weekend. How's that for nuts? Not only will I spend the weekend alone in my hot kitchen boiling fruit, but first I have to take a hot hike to harvest it.
    On the other hand? Three cheers for free harvests!

  14. We are totally hermits too. In fact, sometimes it's hard to get us out of the house to visit family, let alone for a social event that includes friends. Which is odd, because when I was single I was totally social. Maybe it's marriage that does it?


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.