August 29, 2011 – Parched August

The weather service has officially put our county in the “drought-stricken” category, up from “abnormally dry.”  We’ve received less than .3 inches of rain in August and are at about 60 percent of the normal rainfall to date.

Cracks in the soil, ready for rain.

Of course, I don’t need this fancy NOAA map showing the rainfall deficit/surplus over the past three months.  Looks like over the past three months we’re short 6-8 inches of rainfall from normal.

one year ago…”About those Eggs…”

August 28, 2011 – Iowavertible

There’s likely not too many 4×4 convertibles on the road, and likely fewer pickup convertibles.  Although, technically this doesn’t count as a true convertible as it can’t convert back to having a roof, it’s not doubt a fun beating around the farm truck.

The cab was crushed in the storms in July and the owner just sawed it off.  He thought he might put a roll bar on the back and add a snap canvas top to it as well.  But at least for  a dry August, it’s stylin’.

one year ago…”Linda Recognized as Outstanding Ag Educator”

August 27, 2011 – Putting Tomaotes Up

Today was a long-anticipated day. Last year, we only had enough tomatoes to can seven quarts (it was a good thing we had canned 89 the previous year and had enough left over to get us through). This looks like a great tomato year. It was wet to get them going, hotter than blazes in July, now bone dry in August (avoids bacterial wilt and fungus).

Martin with the first sweep through the garden of the year looking for ‘maters.

A bushel of Romas waiting to be skinned and peeled.

To enable safe boiling water canning of tomatoes, we add 2 tbsp of lemon juice and a tsp of salt for taste.

We throw the tomatoes in boiling water until their skins crack and then put them in cold water to cool.

Then cut out the stem and slip the skins off.

Take about 1/6 of the tomatoes and crush them and bring them to boil, then slowly add the rest (no need to crush).  After all the tomatoes are added, bring to a boil and boil for five minutes.

Put in cans and boil for 50 minutes.  Today’s haul was 28 quarts of tomatoes.  Seems like a lot, but it’s only about two jars a month.  These are a staple in our cuisine.  Love them as the base of a minestrone soup and an essential part of red hot dish!

one year ago…”Ag Incubator Ribbon Cutting!”