Thanks to Andrea’s generosity, I have the most amazing crop of tomatoes ever. She sent me saved seeds from chicky-bit-run last year. We have been feasting on Arkansas Traveler and Purple Cherokees for weeks now. I found myself with a batch of tomatoes stewing in a pot but no real plan for them beyond sauce when it hit me that I had never made ketchup. I added vinegar, sugar, celery and onion along with some salt, chili peppers, cinnamon and cloves and let the whole thing simmer. After a couple of hours it occurred to me that I was going to be in the kitchen an awfully long time so I added a couple of cans of tomato paste to thicken things up. The result was a dozen jars of fabulous ketchup. I processed them for 15 minutes in a water bath canner and added some fancy labels that came with jars. These are definitely gift quality. I am now wondering if I could make mustard. I think a basket of ketchup, mustard and relish would make a great gift. This was another one of those things that makes no sense to most people. I could buy a year’s worth of ketchup for maybe twenty dollars but I am so tickled at knowing how to do it myself.

The lack of rain has been a problem for a lot of gardeners this year. I know I have some reduced yields. By early September I am going to be making some runs to local farms and farmer’s markets to insure I have enough food to put up. I may be short potatoes and I know I’ll be short sweet potatoes. The brassicas were a complete bust. If I was planning to get through a year on what I grew, we would all be mighty hungry by January.

I have started to go to the monthly bee meetings with Bruce. Bee keeping is fascinating. The more I learn the more I want to know. Bee keepers are an interesting bunch. I think this has the potential to be as much fun as my perennial food and sustainability group. This a short post today. It rained last night (yeah) and I want to go for a walk in the cool, fresh air before the kids get up and my day begins in earnest.