Wednesday, September 4, 2013

G' Day..and the Pictures to Prove It

 Happy Tuesday to us all.  Fall comes to mind as I debate how many layers and what shoes to wear to work this morning.  I opt for an extra t-shirt against the 57 degree start but stick to my work sandals, figuring the dew is heavy and my feet will dry faster than my shoes.
Luminous Jacqueline Orange

We have two trailer loads of mums to load before we to Kearney, NE and one to Fremont, NE.  These loads are a pleasure to pick: all the plants are big, busting to bloom, and the customers will love them.  They are still heavy from yesterday's watering though, so our arms are stretched thin when the second truck is full.  This is still a good thing: we know these plants were never stressed yesterday, a far cry from last week's late season furnace.
Corn row on the edge of the mum patch
Even though the corn looks pretty tough from my standpoint facing south, several of our neighbors have put up pictures on Facebook with ears that are short, but nicely filled.  I don't pull any ears on my survey of the rows, but there are ears and they seem to have some weight.  Better than last year, I figure.

Josh's sandwich, payoff for a plant trip
It's Tuesday so Josh is helping us in the mum patch.  He decides he wants to ride with his daddy to Fremont.  The trailer is full so Josh's chair is sandwiched between two gallon pots.  I know Matt will not lack for conversation on his way north today.

Watering done, Lee and I cope with the abundant produce September has granted us.  We have three buckets of unstemmed grapes in one refrigerator and a patio table of ripe tomatoes.  The tomatoes threaten to become mush first, so I gather them, half a table at a time, into a 5 gallon bucket.  The kitchen is still cool and there's a nice breeze through the east window.  This is righteous, grasshopper vs. ant type work. We are making "chili" tomatoes today and I have no difficulty summoning the vision of a fragrant bubbling pot of chili in this self same pot on this same burner during the cold dark months to come.  The tomatoes are firm, clean, and easy to peel.  

Levi in the tub!
Always a bright part of the day when my phone dings and there's a picture or video of Levi. Sometimes he's munching, sometimes playing with his toys, sometimes dancing to a Thomas the train he's laughing in the tub.  Happy boy equals smiling grandma!

Laden Ozark Gold branches

Tis the season when snacks hang low on the tree.  I pick a Blushing Golden to see if its as ripe as it looks.  These apples are good keepers, better than the late summer Ozark Golds. This Blushing Golden is juicy and creamy clear to the core: just as ripe as the Ozarks.  But the Ozark Golds are falling from the tree and I don't want any of the laden branches to break in the next strong breeze.  Gotta make time to pick the we can line the shelves with applesauce...and know that Levi will enjoy it in Louisville just like his cousins in Missouri will.  And then there's the vision of loaves of apple bread to be stacked in the freezer, building blocks of holiday happiness. Yep..don't want to waste any apples.

 Four o'clock and the yellow bus delivers the older four grandkids.  They disperse to their outdoor fiefdoms.  The boys have built a fort near the driveway.  The girls are dissecting a zucchini with Lee's Felco pruners.  This is pretending, play acting on a grand and ongoing scale.  Today, Abbie is harvesting a bouquet of the feathery plumes of the hardy pampas grass; these props become camouflage for the boys' fort, a spear or some other projectile for Josh, and garnish, or salad, or other unknown ingredient for the girls.  If one is a country kid, after school, on a gorgeous September afternoon, the whole out of doors is your toy room.

The first batch of chili tomatoes are out of the canner.  The second five gallon bucket of tomatoes fills another seven jars and leaves three to four quarts worth in the stew pot. I set the timer on the second canner while Matt, Lee and Blake deliver mums to the HyVee in town.  Lee needs bread and dog food; she's happy to hear about the extra chili sauce...with leftover grilled hot dogs, we are set for chili dogs tomorrow!

 Its hard to pry the kids away from their imagination so they can help load tomorrow's first mum truck for Ryan to deliver to Lincoln.  He's still an hour or two out on his way back from Kearney.  After a while though, they forget to feel picked on and pitch right in.  We may not have the fastest loading crew, but we have the cutest and most boisterous.  The big heavy Husker mum combos are planted in 14" pots and watered this morning.  It takes two kids to hoist these monsters and haul them to the trailer.

Their enthusiasm when the truck is full and the days' job done is nothing if not contagious.
Grandpa's mum crew
It's been a good day.  Just another good day.

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