Monday, August 11, 2008
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.
STOP PRESSURING ME!
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.