Rainy Day Musings


Yes Lord I know we needed the rain…..couldn’t you have at least spread the bounty over many weeks rather than this past 8-10 days….? I did wade out into the garden to gather up some cherry tomatoes for my daughter. My tomatoes are swelling up and splitting! I snack on a few of those immediately as the they go bad fast and the fruit flies just materialize out of thin air to their damage.

I want to get out and ride the bicycle a little this week and have only been able to sneak in one decent ride and a couple of runs to the store on the bike with the shopping bags…. I can get about 4 grocery sacks in the panniers without overdoing it. On one of the grocery runs it began to rain and I had to pull up under an overhang in front of the local grill, “Three B’s”. While waiting out the rain I had a St Arnold’s Double IPA – very nice. FYI – St Arnold’s is a local Houston craft Brewery that is garnering a great reputation. The wait was about a pint in length and then dash off to the house before the next shower.

While it is raining I have been reading through the current issue of the “Urban Farm”. Two articles were of perfect timing. One was concerning the resurgence in home canning. It fit very nicely with my efforts over the  past several weeks. Jams, pickles, salsa, spaghetti sauce and some uncanned but frozen tomato and cucumber gazpachos. The family really enjoyed the salsa last night…..a lot like Pace Picante sauce made right here in Houston. Article was written by Lindsay Evans living in rural North Central Washington.

The second article of interest was about trench composting. Seems like a great way to get nutrients into he soil in an easy and straight forward way. Let mother nature and her earthworm and microbe warriors do the heavy lifting…. I will consider the method as the beds begin to ready themselves for fall and winter plantings. An option for smaller amounts is to use an auger and drill a hole to be filled with kitchen wastes… I have a post hole digger that would accomplish the same thing.  Article was written by Jessica Walliser – Pittsburg, PA composter by trench and bin.


2.5 + inches of rain this morning – over 6.5 cm for those that know how to measure uniformly and more on the way!

This Morning’s Rain Total



Canning Some Salsa


Today I picked a bunch of tomatoes and peppers and decided to make some salsa. I was able to provide most of the ingredients from my garden. Nothing like the freshest of ingredients! I wound up with almost 3 quarts after it all cooked down prior to canning. The aroma coming off of the kettle was very, very nice!

Home Made Salsa


    • 7 lbs tomatoes ( about 20) –  I used celebrity, ox heart & early girl from the garden – Roma tomatoes also work well
    • 6 Anaheim chilies, diced – my Anaheim  chiles
    • 4 Poblano chiles, diced –  I used Ancho chiles from the garden
    • 5 Jalapeno chiles, diced
    • 3 Serrano chilies, diced
    • 2 cups rough chopped yellow       onions – used fresh white and red onions and green from my garden
    • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced – also       from my garden
    • 1/2 cup white vinegar ( 5 %       acidity)
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. ** Wear gloves or cut chiles under cold running water, leave the seeds if you want, chile pepper heat comes from a vein in the flesh of the chile not the seeds.
  2. Peel, seed and chop tomatoes.
  3. I leave the tomatoes in large chunks for a chunkier salsa.
  4. You can plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for about 30 seconds then run under cold water to make peeling easier.
  5. Place chopped tomatoes into a colander to drain for 30 minutes – mas o menos.
  6. You will want about 14 cups of chopped tomatoes.
  7. Chop chiles.
  8. Remove seeds.
  9. You want about 4 cups total chopped peppers.
  1. Set aside.
  2. Chop onions, mince garlic and chop cilantro.
  3. Place tomatoes into an 8 quart Dutch oven or a large sauce pan.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Boil 30-45 minutes or until desired consistency.
  6. I boil for 20 minutes, we like chunky.
  7. Add peppers, cilantro, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar.
  8. Return to a boil.
  9. Fill hot sterile jars 1/2 inch from top.
  10. Wipe rim off with clean towel, place lid and screw band on and tighten to finger tight.
  11. Set each jar into water bath canner right after filling.
  12. Bring water bath canner back to boil and bath for 35 minutes.
  13. Remove jars and cool on a wire rack or towels.

The rain has backed off a little – 6 inches in my garden since last Saturday. I can use a bit of a dry stretch. I have some garden clean-up chores planned if I get a few dry days this coming weekend.

The gazpacho – the cucumber gazpacho is much better with the addition of some Tabasco – Very refreshing in the is hot and humid Houston summer weather.



Busy, Busy, Busy – Catching up in the Garden and the Kitchen


I went out and picked a little this morning before the sky opened up and poured buckets of rain. I wound up with a bunch of cucumbers, a few ox-heart tomatoes and peppers. I will go out tomorrow and gather many more tomatoes and peppers. Into the kitchen now for a recipe experiment – I had a bowl of cucumber gazpacho in Carlsbad New Mexico this past week. It was very nice and refreshing but just a bit too peppery hot for my tastes. I searched the web and found a few similar recipes that seem to match my tastes.

My Cucumber Gazpacho

  • 7-8 Cucumbers – several varieties, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 Ancho peppers – warm enough and a very nice dark green in color – seeded
  • 2 – Anaheim peppers seeded – one that had turned red and the other a reddish-brown – for color and flavor
  • A couple of garlic cloves – skinned and crushed
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup ice water
  • ½ cup white tequila
  • Tabasco sauce – season to taste – added a lot more after taste testing on day two!
  • Lime oil
  • Chopped fresh mint leaves

Puree the cucumbers with the olive oil, water, lemon juice, tequila, garlic, salt, black pepper and Tabasco. Add the coarse chopped Ancho and Anaheim peppers and pulse to chop coarsely…leaves a little bits of pepper chunks for color and texture. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with a bit chopped fresh mint and a few drops of lime oil.

Next up for the kitchen before my wife returns from California – brew my American IPA Ale with Cascade and Chinook hops, can my strawberry and blackberry preserves and possibly a few more quarts of spaghetti sauce…..the last batch was very good – now where did I put that recipe????

Enjoy the slide show from the garden and –

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