Sunday, May 25, 2008

hotter than you want but what are you gonna do?

well folks, i think it's official. the dog days of texas are here. this heat just keeps coming. it showed up early and i think it's here to stay. there's no rain in site and there's no break from the heat in site so it's time to just accept it and if you can learn to love it.

the heat does not seem to be bothering me as much as each day goes by. oh yeah, i can feel it but i also feel that i still can function rather than drop into immediate melt down mode. the human body is pretty amazing when it comes to adaptation.

i brewed myself up a huge batch of one of my favorite summertime cool down drinks, ginger lemon tea. and this time i made it super strong so it carries a hearty bit. mmm mmm. the ginger zip is cool!

ginger is said to help a person cool down when over heated. i don't know how true that is but this really hits the spot for me.

here's the simple concoction -

about 4 gallons of water
10 lemons
peeled and cut in half
1 cup brown sugar
5 really big chunks of ginger
the size of your hand times two
peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons of red roobios tea in a tea ball
everything goes into the pot. i heat it almost to a boil then i turn it down to a low low rolling simmer for an hour. after the hour has passed, i scoop out most of the ginger, the lemons and i pull the tea ball out. everything that's been scooped out goes into a food processor and i process it all together (yup, even the tea) and throw it back into the pot. i turn the heat off and let the whole mixture sit in the pot overnight.

in the morning, i pour it off into bottles and/or pitchers and pop it in the fridge. i keep a few smaller bottles of the stuff out in the little garage fridge. it's a great drink for a hot day and it's pretty darn good for you. the processed ginger bits are tasty. this is the cool drink that i wean myself off of coffee with.
the garden is all mulched now and good thing, this sun has been unforgiving. as you can see the plants in the east garden are still, for the most part in the smaller size range. this is the garden that had to wait a bit longer due to my crazy spring schedule.

i think in a few weeks, i won't recognize it. the cucumbers are popping through, the okra is about ankle high, the melon plants are taking off and the beans way down at the other end are growing like weeds. the white pot you see on the right is mint and it's doing just fine.the peppers are flowering as are the two eggplant i've got out here. the tomatoes and the big lot of eggplant are outback this year for rotation's sake.

i'm curious to see if the early heat is going to stunt everything. those folks who planted on time have beautifully full gardens right now. i'm envious but doing my best to remain patient and understanding with my own. sometimes you just can't do it all. i hate to admit that but this year was a tough one. so now it's about a later harvest rather than sooner. i just hope the plant babies make it through the hot days.

i can't complain. i just put up 3 pints of pickled green beans and 2 quarts of pickled beets yesterday afternoon. i've got sauerkraut in the making, potatoes in the garage and a big bag full of carrots in the fridge. plus i've got all the chard a person could want growing out back.

i guess i'm just used to the garden being in a sort of jungle state at this time. i do believe things happen for a reason. there's got to be some lesson in this. i've just got to keep my eyes open in order to see it.

a bunch of us folks around here are in a quandary as our tomatoes are not setting. we've all got the maters that set a while back but the new growth just will not set. i think it's the sudden heat. other folks don't think so but there's a whole lot of happy healthy vine and very few fruits forming. my neighbor is tempted to cut off the top two feet of his plants to see what happens. i'm tempted to give that a shot too but i wonder if i should wait for the chance of a cool day to do so. i don't want to feed them too much for fear of encouraging more green but no fruit. i may go out and clip a bunch of the comfrey leaves and bury them at the feet of the maters to give them a natural boost. honestly, i still think it's the heat.

could this be the makings of a great pumpkin?

it's funny, the volunteer squashumpkins (don't really know what they'll be) have been putting out a great number of male flowers and very few females. i don't know what that's about. maybe i'm treating them too well? don't know. anyway, this is the first shot at an actual fruit. we'll see how it goes. hopefully it will stick.

these vines are really kicken' it. wonder what they'll be.

i took my weekly neighborhood grass clippings drive today and scored two big bags. they mulched the front flower garden and the side walkway a bit. each week, mulch comes. soon we'll have everything under a good 2"-3" of the green stuff.

now it's time for dinner. i'm thinking carrots and some of those groovy taters i mixed up the other day.

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