Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Green River

Thanks for all your sympathy! We are fine here today, if a little traumatized...it's likely going to take me a long time get Sally's panicked screams out of my head, but she is back to normal--except she's avoiding that window near the heating register. That's a good thing.

OK, here's a happy tranquil post instead. I've been pretty busy lately...my days overstuffed with cooking for guests, working, and many unexpected social events. (noticed all that longing for the couch and a book?!) The professor had to do some convincing to get me out into the country. He's doing some field work (collecting butterflies and moths to study) on the Green River as part of a grant for the EPA. Every week, he takes his students "out into the field" and they spend all day in the car and on the river. He's found some very pretty sites along the way.

So, when the professor was asked by an email correspondent, a British butterfly enthusiast and his family, whether he would show them a few things on their vacation, he said sure. Then he put me in the car (with my knitting), insisting it would only be a few hours out. We had to leave at 9 in the morning, so I rushed to the farmer's market beforehand, and ended up with 25 lbs of organically grown paste tomatoes...when the tomatoes are ripe for sauce? They're ripe NOW. I left the tomatoes on the counter and off we went.

The weather was perfect. We're having a very odd streak of New England summer in Kentucky. Lower humidity, highs around 85 (29C) and lows around 60(15C). A lot of driving, river wading, and a few stops for barbeque and ice cream made it a special day out. We drove over a trestle bridge, took walks, and enjoyed dappled sunlight.

The British family had a very smart and interesting wife (a foster care nurse and gardening enthusiast) and two little boys, ages 8 and 10. Nothing is more fun than a couple of butterfly nets and some playing in the water. Catching minnows, building "dams" with pebbles were the most important things to do!
The best moment was when we crossed a river ford. The Roachville Ford is not on the map. The road ends at one side of the river, and on the other side, sort of diagonally to the right, it starts up again. You couldn't cross it when the water's too high, and the locals keep it to themselves. The professor stopped at the edge of the river, rushed back to the British family's rental car, and said, "Follow me! You'll be ok. We're driving through the river." ...And the little boys say:
"WOW! Do we need to roll up the windows?!"

Even perfect sunshine, river, and ice cream days out can last too long, and I was tired and grumpy by 5 pm, when we finally got home. Then, I faced those 25 lbs of tomatoes. We didn't even have enough freezer containers for that much sauce! All ended well...16 cups of tomato puree for winter and some "sundried" tomatoes, done in my dehydrator on the back porch...and one very very tired Joanne.


Blogger Sarah Jean said...

I'm glad that your doggies are okay, Joanne. :) Dogs have a knack of finding accidents just about anywhere, don't they?

Your day sounds lovely, but yes, that is a lot of tomatoes! Hee.

August 12, 2008 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger SueJ said...

I have just found your previous post - I had already read the update so I was both laughing & almost crying! Moss does that sort of thing but mainly outside! I read the post to him!!!! My reading was interupted by Mr J telling me the kitchen sink was blocked & the crash of thunder outside! Give Sally an extra cuddle from me!

August 12, 2008 at 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second river photo reminds me so much of the C&O Canal; wow, what a gorgeous spot. I'm so glad you got to go. And I'm glad Sally came out okay!

August 12, 2008 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Very glad Sally is ok.....you never know what our furry friends are going to get into!

Your day out sounds lovely - seeing life through the eyes of a child is such a joy. I absolutely love it when children visit the farm and play with the lambs :)

Your sauce looks great.....no tomatoes here - tons of green but they are ripening ever so slowly. Too much rain, no sun or warm temps.

I can see the sun peaking over the horizon this morning. WE are blessed today!

August 13, 2008 at 5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about a full day! Wow. I'm curious about your tomato puree. Do you peel and seed the tomatoes? Also, those look like "food storage" containers vs. "freezer" containers I've seen in the stores. I gather they work OK for the puree?

August 13, 2008 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Hi Janet, these containers are the cheap ones (freezer,microwave, dishwasher safe) that my husband bought after I discovered there were none left for freezing puree! This recipe is one I've adapted from Organic Gardening magazine. I roast paste tomato halves with olive oil, salt and pepper (and sometimes garlic) in a roasting pan or deep pan at 350 for 2 hours. Then I just puree everything--skin, seeds, etc. in the food processor and pop it in the freezer when it cools. Instant base for sauce, etc. I tried a food mill for the skins and seeds and found it isn't worth the trouble, in my opinion!

August 13, 2008 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a day late reading your previous post too. I'm so glad everyone is okay. What a scary, traumatic experience. My horses used to find the worst ways to get into trouble and get hurt, and always right before fair time.

When you have a ton of tomatoes, it's hard to remember how much they cost in January and how bad you wanted one.

August 13, 2008 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger knitalot3 said...

What kind of tomato is a paste tomato?

August 13, 2008 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

knitalot3--a paste tomato is also called a plum tomato. In terms of variety, you may have heard "Roma" or "San Marzano" but there are lots of other varieties. These tomatoes have less water than the round beefsteak variety so they are better for making into sauce--they taste more rich!

August 13, 2008 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

I love the Cardinal Flower, and the river photos! Beautiful!

And good work on those tomatoes! We still have lots of green ones (yes, we are having the NE streak too!)...

When the harvest comes, we drag out a little device known as a "Squeezo" ...works like a charm...wouldn't pulp without it!

August 14, 2008 at 7:59 AM  

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