The First Tomato!

One of the biggest thrills going here at the Three Cats Ranch is the appearance of the first tomato. Can canning season be far behind? Since I used my last jar of pasta sauce on Monday evening, it can't come too soon.

While I was in the greenhouse, I noticed the lettuce is large enough now to start picking leaves off of it. Not that we need any lettuce. There were two beautiful heads of Bibb lettuce in our CSA share yesterday, along with a bag of bitter lettuce greens. The bitter greens are good with roasted beets and a sweet honey dressing.

Also in the CSA share, more carrots. I'll be canning some of those into some Spicy Dilled Carrot Spears later on this week. I saved the carrots from our last share so I'd have enough. They're a family favorite, with Matthew being the biggest consumer.

Also in the greenhouse, the poppies are ready for planting.

Mike fashioned a protective shield for them to keep the squirrels from digging them up. Yesterday I planted them in the open whiskey barrel.

When I checked on them later in the day, the squirrels had reached through the large gauge of that fencing and dug up a clump. Fortunately, they were still hanging together, and so I'm hoping no harm was done to them. Obviously the scale of the fencing is too large. Today, he'll cut another piece to lay in the other direction, and hopefully, that will keep their little digging paws out of the dirt. Poppies are blooming now, and so I worry these won't bloom and reseed themselves before it's too late. I have more seeds, but I'm really hoping these will take off and bloom before the season is over.

In other planting news, finally, finally, finally, the lilies are planted. The calla lily was a gift for Mother's Day this year. The star lily has been sitting neglected in a pot for at least three years. Now we have a little lily patch near the sundial. Those are the day lilies there behind. You can also see one of the zucchini plants in the extreme right of the image below. Zucchini blossoms are not unlike lily blossoms, right?

And despite the neglect it's received, the star lily has a bud on it, and I expect it'll bloom very soon. Cool.

Also getting ready to bloom...the lavender. Oh, I have plans for your flowers, my darlings.

Of course, we always use them to garnish our Bees Knees cocktails. Here's an image of one from last year. The recipe for this concoction can be found right here.

The first step in making a Bees Knees is to make an infusion from lavender blossoms, and that is used to make a lavender simple syrup. So, each year I dry some of the blossoms to use for making the infusion. This year, I want to try making some lavender blossom jelly. It's made much the same way as the chive blossom jelly I made a couple of weeks ago. And this must be my year for jelly, because I've also acquired the things I need to make some mint jelly from the overly enthusiastic mint growing in the garden. Erik likes lamb, and I think he would enjoy some mint jelly to accompany his lamb steaks.

With my monthly pedicure and CSA pick-up on the yesterday's agenda, I didn't get as much sewing done as I'd hoped. Nevertheless, I had a bit of time between the two outings to get a little more done on the flamingos. Now I've sewn together most of the second section. I've reached the section where the pink flamingo's eye is located.

There are a couple of tiny little pieces adjacent to the eye that I'm going to have to remake. The pieces are so small that they ended up completely entirely where the cloth tape that holds the freezer paper together is located, and that means there's no freezer paper exposed to stick to the fabric. It's not a problem to remake those two pieces, but I can't continue on until I do.

Today I have grocery shopping to do, but I'm determined to spend the afternoon sewing today. I've cleared the calendar of everything else. My goal is to work on these through the end of the week, and then move on to something else.

Since I suppose you're Jonesing for kitty pictures, I caught these two resting in the afternoon. Honestly, Sadie is so active, it's hard to get an image of her that isn't blurry.

Smitty is the lazier of the two, and he can often be found meditating on the critter he killed most recently.

Kind of gives you whisker envy, doesn't it?

So there you go...we're pretty much back to what passes for normal here at the Three Cats Ranch. If I'm going to get any sewing done this afternoon, I'd better get myself off to the grocery store, and fast.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Barbara said...

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and home grown tomatoes.

~ John Denver

Linda said...

Yes there is nothing like that first tomato! What kind of greenhouse do you have? We are considering one. Last winter southeast Texas experienced many more than usual freezes and a cold season lasting into April, which is not our norm. We started seeds next to our very light kitchen window, but apparently it was too cold, and our plants were very puny until it was warm enough to put them in the garden. My husband suggested a greenhouse for next year, so I'm looking for suggestions.
Love your squirrel deterrent!

Robin in Portland Oregon said...

Thought it would be fun to know that squirrels can smell when the ground has been disturbed and they dig up to see if anyone planted anything they want to eat. They drive me nuts too!

Denise :) said...

We had such a cold spring, we had to wait until nearly May to plant (even though Todd started them early). We're still waiting for our blooms to fruit! Your lavender is pretty! :)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I put in some seed potatos and the stinkers dug them all up. Didn't touch them, just looking to see what goodies I stuck in the ground.

piecefulwendy said...

Those pesky squirrels. It seems like they can get into almost anything. Anyway, maybe your little star lily is saying thank you for planting her with that lovely little blossom! You have lovely gardens; I enjoy seeing all the photos! And of course, I enjoy seeing the kitties!

Brown Family said...

I have several clusters of cherry tomatoes on the vines. Facebook reminded me that I was eating fresh onions and tomatoes at this time last year, Oh, well, they will get there soon!

Do you cut the Flamingos into sections before sewing?

Kate said...

Hope Mike was able to thwart those squirrels. Squirrels have been on my naughty list for the last couple of years as we can't keep them out of our attic. Hope you got in lots of stitching on your flamingos. They look fantastic.

quiltzyx said...

My friend is trying her hand at tomato growing this year - told me last night that she now has 1 cherry tomato & 1 regular one so far. My does your lettuce look lovely! I have some leftover salad waiting for me at home for dinner, to go with a leftover grilled chicken enchilada from last night. :)
You know, for someone who rarely cooks, I keep buying spices from Penzey's. One day I will make something amazing with them all!