Friday, July 12, 2013

Harvested A Mini Japanese Black Trifele

Yesterday's harvest includes 15 Black Cherry, 8 Sweet 100, 6 Vorlon (8 ounces, 6 ounces, 10 ounces), 5 Garden Peach, 4 Juliet, 4 Supersweet 100, 4 Husky Cherry Red, 4 Blue Beauty, 3 German Orange Strawberry (8 ounces), 3 Shah/Mikado, 2 Indigo Rose, 2 Speckled Roman(2), 2 Michael Pollan, 2 Hungarian Heart, 2 Dr. Wyche's Yellow (8.5 ounces, 12 ounces), Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red(1), Stupice, Yellow Perfection, Black Krim (8 ounces), Snow White, Anana's Noire (18 ounces) and Husky Red(1) for a total of 73 tomatoes.

Today's harvest includes 17 Black Cherry, 10 Sweet 100, 6 Husky Cherry Red, 6 Blue Beauty, 4 Garden Peach, 3 Vorlon, 3 Berkeley Tie Dye, 3 Juliet, 3 Jaune Flamme, 3 Black Krim (8.5 ounces, 10 ounces), 2 Speckled Roman(1), 2 Supersweet 100, 2 German Orange Strawberry (7 ounces), 2 Piement, 2 Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red(1), 2 Yellow Perfection, 2 Shah/Mikado, 2 Pineapple, Japanese Black Trifele (new), Porkchop, Black Seaman, Dr. Wyche's Yellow, Speckled Roman(2) and Snow White for a total of 80 tomatoes.

The Michael Pollan plant is basically dead. I don't want any more tomatoes off of this plant. This is somewhat amazing because three weeks ago I could argue that it's the strongest plant I had. Maybe a cutworm got it, maybe it couldn't handle the heat...but I won't harvest from this plant again. There are a few unripened ones sitting on our sill that I may count toward the final total...but the plant is dead. Pierce's Pride, Nyagous, Green Zebra, Black Seaman are functionally dead as well. Green Zebra has been dead for two weeks but we've had no time to pull it.

Piement has an amazing texture! The tomato is unique. It looks like a pepper. Take a chili from the Chile's Restaurant logo and straighten it out -- that's the look of Piement. And it tastes good, too. I don't think I've ever had a tomato with such a pleasant texture. Blue Beauty was good, Shah/Mikado was good but Piement was really good.

While Japanese Black Trifele is a new tomato, it is very small. This falls in line with some of our other plants like Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red(1), Black Seaman, Berkeley Tie Dye, Pineapple, Pierce's Pride and maybe others.

I think this will be a bad year by comparison to other years. There are lots of "too small" tomatoes, weak/dying tomato plants and more blossom end rot than most years. I think the tomato seedlings were not as strong as prior years.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Harvested Grande!

Today's harvest includes 12 Black Cherry, 9 Sweet 100, 7 Yellow Perfection, 5 German Orange Strawberry (6 ounces, 7.5 ounces), 5 Shah/Mikado, 4 Juliet, 4 Garden Peach, 4 Husky Cherry Red, 3 Blue Beauty, 3 Vorlon (8.5 ounces, 9 ounces), 3 Michael Pollan, 2 Snow White, 2 Berkeley Tie Dye, 2 Missouri Pink Love Apple (6 ounces), Grande (17 ounces, new), Speckled Roman(1), Speckled Roman(2), Piement, Pineapple, Stupice, Paul Robeson, Isis Candy and Husky Red(1) for a total of 74 tomatoes.

Yesterday I gave some tomatoes to our local barrista. My wife had me give some tomatoes to a neighborhood friend of hers.

She made gazpacho for dinner and it tasted both delicious and healthy!

The new Grande tomato is our largest tomato this year so far.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Catching up...

Today's harvest includes 7 Sweet 100, 4 Husky Cherry Red, 4 Shah/Mikado, 3 Yellow Perfection, 3 Juliet, 2 Vorlon (7 ounces), 2 Supersweet 100, 2 Speckled Roman(1), 2 Speckled Roman(2), 2 Garden Peach, 2 Black Krim (8 ounces, 7 ounces), 2 Blue Beauty, Kellogg's Breakfast (8 ounces, new), Anana's Noire (10.5 ounces, new), Isis Candy (new), Porkchop, Black Cherry, Paul Robeson (8 ounces), Jersey Giant, Missouri Pink Love Apple (7 ounces), Jaune Flamme, Indigo Rose and Snow White for a total of 46 tomatoes.

Our harvest total starting at June 27 are as follows: 22/29/38/26/26/43/35/58/54/53/53/62 followed by today's harvest of 46 tomatoes.

As noted previously, a dear friend passed away.

About six or eight weeks ago, our dear friends we told they had to move out of their rented house. The owners were going through a divorce. This caused a lot of heartache -- it's one thing to be forced to abandon their vegetable garden, but what about their animals? Where will they go? Things were grim.

But lo and behold, a place to rent was found in the Antelope Valley. It was nearly an acre in size and could be worked as farmland. The commute to work for the husband was nearly the same and the rent was cheaper. Great! One door closes and another one opens. A chicken coop was ordered along with some ducks and a goose in anticipation of a small working farm. The wife could quit her retail job to manage the small farm because of the significant rent savings. Boxes were packed. My wife made plans to visit the new place once a week.

I was recruited to help drive up some of their larger items in a van on July 4 and July 6 in front of a July 10 deadline for the old place.

Then in the late morning on June 27 my wife received the call: Her husband is dead. Heart attack.

We met in early April of 2004. I was brought in to an entertainment payroll company as a software developer and consultant on a "rescue mission" -- a project had gone haywire and supposedly I'm just the man to fix it. The team involved one developer and a project manager. The goal was to get rid of the current project manager, take over and see to it that the developed software is brought out to the commercial market.

I got in and took stock of the situation. My evaluation was this: Down was up and up was down. The project manager was a bit of a misfit for the position (or in Hollywood terms, was "slightly miscast") but was leading the project as best he could. The software developer was atrocious. And the manager above the project manager but between us and the client was in la-la land...but also the recruiter for the consultants. No time for analysis or determining project requirements. We're being billed out as hot shot, experienced consultants but in practice we were glorified typists! The recruiter designated himself as the project lead across multiple projects and the one person to report to the company. Not only does that violate labor laws, he was woefully inadequate for the task.

I wasn't going to fire the project manager. I needed him around to deal with management nonsense while I try to get my arms around this monstrosity.

And thus began our friendship.

But soon thereafter I got rear-ended in an auto accident and lost a few weeks due to some whiplash and soft tissue injuries. I could only work full time after a couple of months. By that time, panic had set in and there was no time to get my arms around it. But I admired our project manager for the ability to take "bullets" for things he had little or no control over. He was the designated punching bag.

I had double-jaw surgery in late March of 2005. We met at a bookstore 19 days after the surgery and he immediately gasped (There was *lots* of swelling). I think he took pity on me a bit.

At the time I was in my early 40's, still single, unattached and basically divorced from my family (I'm the designated punching bag -- sound familiar?). The project manager would invite me over for dinners during holidays and just because he could. Later on I got a girlfriend and the four of us would get together for things. But they moved to Miami.

We got married on September 15, 2007. The project manager flew out from Miami for our wedding.

About a year later they moved back to Southern California and took a job with a solar startup company in Burbank. Yay! And as time went on we slowly grew closer and closer, going out to dinner, sharing tomatoes, vegetables, canning recipes, you name it. They were good friends. It wasn't forced, it just happened. It was easy, it was natural.

They were packing for a new life in the Antelope Valley. The wife will have a new life but it won't be in the Antelope Valley. The day after her husband's death she was firm in that she was moving back to the east coast to be with her parents. And there was no flexibility in the exit date, she had to be out by July 10. So there's been a mad scramble the last 10 days to make that happen for them.

My wife and I took her and her son to LAX last night.

So tomatoes just haven't been much of a priority. The plants are beat up in the heat and I've stopped training them. My wife waters when she can but we're all too busy.

We're caught up for moment. However, I may be taking another break soon.