Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Watcha sell'n out the back of that truck?


Unlike some of you I don't mind all of the snow and cold.  I like being outside in winter.  I remember going winter camping for the first time with my wife.  We were sitting around the campfire at night and a duck flew-in and landed next to us.  I'm not making this up.  There we sat; Jill, me and the mallard.  But that's an altogether different story.

Nowadays I rather enjoy the change of venue of coming back indoors for the opportunity to get caught-up on my reading.  And there is nothing like a like a breath of summer when a cold wind howls.  Homemade salsa with chips while basking in the warming multi-megawatt glow of a Sunday game on The Giant Conundrum.  You'd almost think it was early season football.

Late last year I made another humongous batch of garden salsa and canned an additional dozen pints.  I used tomatoes from my garden that I canned back in September.  When you open a jar of home-grown canned tomatoes the aroma just about knocks you right back to summer.  Same for fresh-frozen vegetables and stuff like rhubarb.  

On balance the 2008 garden was better than average.  Everything tasted great but if I measured success based-upon crop yields the score card would read as follows:

Excellent - Green beans, radishes, tomatoes and decorative gourds

Very good - Sweet corn (close call as the first planting failed), parsnips, turnips, acorn squash, kale and lettuces

Good - Scallions, pumpkins, pickles, cucumbers, carrots and red potatoes

Fair - Sweet onions and fennel

Poor - Peas and beets

Failed - Brussels sprouts

Developing - Asparagus, rhubarb, various savory herbs and Cascade hops

I've begun planning this year's garden and I have resolved to make it bigger.  That way I will have less grass to cut and more fresh produce.  I'm already committed to clearing a new spot so that I can move the pumpkin patch out of the main garden to its own separate location.  That will leave more room for vegetables.  A picket fence for the kitchen garden is in the works and can be assembled once the frost is out of the ground.  All the better to keep the critters out of my wife's herbs and the asparagus patch I'm nurturing.

There is preliminary talk (hubba hubba) of a drip irrigation system. 

Ooooh, baby!

Ladies, a word of advice.  This is the kind of talk that will get the gardener in your life all hot and bothered.

But I digress.

Technically this will leave me with a pumpkin patch, a gourd patch, a kitchen garden and the main garden.  Yes, and a Cascade hops plant that is growing on the rock wall.  If this keeps-up you may see me peddling produce down on State Street.

Hey Tom!  Watcha sell'n out the back of that truck?

From this-

To this-

Last weekend I placed my seed order.

Incidentally, If you got chips I have salsa.

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