Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wednesday's Words: A Change in the Weather

Sometimes a whole lot a nothin' happens. The sun rises in a cloudless blue sky day after day. Temps soar into the 90s, and the tomatoes put out more fruit than anyone knows what do with. We quarter and freeze them. We cook them down into a thick rich sauce. We contemplate oven drying them. We are lulled into the torpor of endless summer dreaming. Tomorrow we'll gather the last of the summer squash. Tomorrow we'll pick the ripest tomatoes. Tomorrow we'll make the final batch of pesto.
Then it happens. The weather gods in the far north blow a fierce wind that gathers storm clouds from the sea. The high temps drop 40 degrees from one day to the next. Rain is on the horizon. The shining green garden looks sallow against the gray skies. And just like that, summer is over. It's not going to be hot hot hot again until next year. Bye bye summer heat.

Hello wood stove fire. It's become second nature now for us to keep an eye on the weather. Even in the long dry months, we check to see if thunderstorms are headed our way, and with it the threat of lightning strikes and summer fires. One day last month, there were 1300 strikes in the Sierra. It happens, just like that.
So, we knew the cold out of the gulf of alaska was headed our way. We took a long look at the nearly five cords of wood that were piled up here and there, and strategized about where to stack it all in the new woodshed (which Roger did not ever write about, bad Roger, bad Roger). I helped a bit with that task, but my stupid crooked old neck doesn't like all that bending and looking around, so Roger did most of it. Took him about 2 1/2 days, but what a great reward followed that great effort. Now when we look out the window we see our woodshed full full full, three rows deep and 16 feet wide of winter warmth.
Come what may… we are ready. Well, except that we still have a ton of tomatoes that we don't really know what to do with… ah well, such problems are the dilemma of bounty.

18 comments:

  1. I hope you're right, at least I hope summer eventually leaves us here in Texas. I would pay for rain. The tomatoes you've put away will provide good memories of the endless days of summer. And the warmth of the fire will provide good memories of Roger's exceptional work...and your exceptional, if crooked-necked, help.

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  2. Oh, how I wish I were close enough to take some of them off your hands!!

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  3. ALL THAT WOOD! You are going to be warm and cozy and smokey smelling for months. How wonderful. We are having the same weather change here-not quite as drastic but suddenly I am worried about the tender potted plants out on the deck freezing and the last of the tomatoes have fallen on the ground and turned to mush. I did take the last romas and dry them in the oven with just a spritz of olive oil spray and they came out sweet and nice. Great post- thanks!

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  4. Over-abundance? Better maters then zooks, methinks!

    (Nice to see Roger's been too busy building things to write!)

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  5. We just ordered a cord and a half for winter. I can't *wait* to get stacking!

    Well, really, I can't wait to fire up the woodstove. I just love the heat off of it.

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  6. That's a good stash of tomatoes and fire wood!

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  7. I saw there's a WINTER STORM warning for the Sierras! Holy mierda. Our son is down there somewhere, he was heading for Davis and then Yosemite. He'll need to use chains...
    Well, I have herd tell of this event called a tomato fight, where people wind up wallowing in lots of mushed tomatoes, but it seems wasteful.
    Spagehetti, spaghetti, spaghetti...

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  8. jealousy turned me green with this post! wish we had your tomato problem! we didn't have even one plant this year. summers are just not long/hot enough here for us to get more than 5-6 red ones by season end, and this summer was so chilly i doubt we would have had even one. just made more sense to buy them from the eastern WA farmers.

    love your wood shed. wondered if you were getting any of the snow we heard about in the sierra range. we turned on our heat about 7-10 days ago in late evenings/night. the chill is setting in. having a hard time this year letting summer go since we feel we hardly had one.

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  9. Ya shoulda used my work-stacking abilities when I was visiting....should, woulda, coulda. I've stacked an entire cord all by myself (she says proudly).

    The shed looks grand all full like that. I'll be up for more time in front of the woodstove. Actually, I'm hoping to get snowed in with you this winter....hehehe.

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  10. Now that is one nice shed. Good job Roger and little bit by robin.
    What a comfort to see all that warmth just waiting plus that plethora of tomatoes. You have planned ahead well.

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  11. Mmm, real tomatoes! And I was just saying to my husband that fall always seems to come in like that--hot summer weather then 40-degree days for us last week, in this case.

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  12. nice shed! that looks like really a lot of wood. i'm sure you'll figure something out with the tomatoes.

    roger! write about building the shed!

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  13. WOW that looks like our Vermont barn. I loved stacking the cords. Try the dried tomatoes! The are a treat through out winter months.

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  14. Super nice woodshed. Looks like a classic design. I would like to hear more about it too. Who knows, I might need to build one at the Round Hill house someday. doesn't it feel nice to have all that wood split and stacked. That was our annual ritual too - that and canning or freezing tomatoes.

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  15. Well Robin, I hope you don't expect me to feel sorry for you because you have a ton of gorgeous, home-grown, lucious and wonderful tomatoes! Would that I had the dilemma of bounty.

    You are so right. Tough as it is, stacking firewood really is such a rewarding job. It isn't often that the results of your labors show so clearly and last for so long.

    What a treat it must be for Roger to take on such a huge task. With the help of your strategy of course.

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  16. I can't imagine that you'll get through that wood this winter. Wow! But then, I still equate CA with warm, even though it was abundantly clear from last winter's posts that you have real, honest-to-goodness winters.

    Tomatoes! Oh, to have a superabundance of home-grown tomatoes! It was so wet this summer--something we in New England will have to get used to--that some folks began to get blight again this year. Plus the pumpkin crops were hit with a fungus from all the wet. But the rain stopped and the temps spiked just in time for Columbus weekend, so hopefully at least the tourist thing will go well for the region. Of course, we're having record-breaking heat, which is just more evidence of a bad trend in climate.

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