Friday, May 11, 2007

Dirty Fingernails

We've been in the new house for almost a week and a half, and I haven't put a single dish, a single bottle of vinegar, a single pot into the kitchen shelves. We still haven't decided what should go where, so we just spend a lot of time sitting on the patio in a dreamy state.
Of course, in that dreamy state, I've developed strong ideas about where the tomato plants should go. Well, I will confess that in that dreamy state, I'm sitting out there, watching the pattern of the sun as it crosses the yard. So, it's part dreamy, part science.
Also part emergency. Sourdough Monkey Wrangler dropped by our old place on the day movers were there, taking out the big stuff. We hardly had time to visit. But this thoughtful lad had brought us a pair of housewarming presents: Two tomato plants raised from seed by his father-in-law. And they needed to get planted pronto.
Well, pronto took a week and a half, but this morning I directed Cranky as he went into peon mode and scraped a goodly square of grass off the "lawn." (Quotation marks, because it's dinky, although Bean Sprout can't complain.) He labored with a pick axe, and then we dumped soil amendment all over the dirt and stirred it in.
Quick aside: When we bought the soil amendment, I asked the nursery man for a sack of steer manure. Cranky blurted, "Cookiecrumb! I thought you were going to ask him for a bag of bullshit!" The nurseryman, unfazed, said, "Chickenshit is better."
Anyway, the furniture may not be properly arranged and the sheets and towels are not yet in the linen closet.
But the tomatoes are in the ground.


kudzu said...

You sure got your priorities straight! And if those plants are from the MW's Italian side of the family, you're a lucky rancher.

Greg said...

thanks for reminding me. we have to buy and plant ours this sunday.

Tea said...

Yay, you're a tomato rancher again!

Dagny said...

Does it seem strange that the tomato plants are not in a pot?

dancingmorganmouse said...

Cow poo & chook poo, 2 of the best things on the planet!

Sam said...


Lannae said...

Damn, what is it like to have a complete foodie, conscious eater, and food blogger stop by with sustainable food for you? That is just very cool. And I admit, I am a bit green with envy as I type this. But then again, it would be unwise to plant tomatoes in my tiny backyard with my lovely shade tree (aka no sun).

Liz said...

Happy gardening! :)

Kalyn said...

Yes, exactly what Sam said. They look like Brandywines, are they? I planted two of those this year, even though I know I'll be giving them away to everyone in the neighborhood because the tomatoes get so big. But I love the flavor. I think brandywine tomato sandwiches are one of the best things about summer.

ChrisB said...

Funnily enough we have just planted two (not from as good a provenance as yours) but how well they do will be dependent on the unpredictable English weather.

lucette said...

Planting tomatoes should definitely come before arranging the linen closet. And I have to admit that after our kitchen renovation, I still haven't put all the things back on the shelves, because I can't decide what to put where. Which is why the crockpot is still in the dining room, and the springform pan is in a box in the hall.

Moonbear said...

O wonderful, wonderful, and yet again wonderful! T'maters!

Chilebrown said...

I have heard of farmers taking cow horns and stuffing them with manure to add to the soil. I would like to try that. Do you think my tomatoes would have a beefy flavor? Would they still be a fruit/vegetable?

sfmike said...

I love the phrase, "Chickenshit is better." When you think about it, it's a perfect non sequitor response for all kinds of situations.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: We got forever to load the shelves; May only lasts for a couple more weeks!!

Greg: Totally, go and plant. And let me know.

Tea: I've been pretty much a bum the whole time, though. :D

Dagny: What a brilliant, prescient question. It felt weird for me for a whole week before we finally scraped the grass off. I kept telling Cranky "Wouldn't it just be easier to put them in pots?" But I have huge, hopeful hopes for this.

DMM: Poo is good! But not doggie poo, I've been told. Darn meat-eater. This sack of chook poo -- it's beautiful, black, granular and almost odor-free. Organic, too.

Sam: Can you believe it?

Lannae: Oh, what a friend we have in Monkey Wrangler. (I wonder what you can plant in the shade... herbs?)

Liz: {{cowering in your experienced presence}} Thanks!!

Kalyn: Good call. Dylan didn't know what they were exactly, but he pointed out that they have that "potato-leaf" shape, and that's what I recall about my Brandywines from a couple of years ago.
(There's a "Tomato Lady" in Santa Cruz who can identify almost any variety by its leaf shape. Awesome.)

ChrisB: Well, good luck! I know there are varieties that don't need "quite" so much sun. Let us know.

Lucette: You nailed it. I finally went into the garage last night and pulled out one bowl to put on a shelf. But who cares? I've got tomatoes in the ground.

Moonbear: You understand. :-)
(I thought I heard a rooster in my new neighborhood this morning... You don't suppose... ?)

Chilebrown: Oh dear, I'm sure that would qualify as a GMO.

SFMike: I've been working on developing a catchphrase.
I had almost settled on "How tedious."
But, yeah. Maybe "Chickenshit is better" is better. Hah!

Monkey Wrangler said...

Yeah! Maters in the ground!

Slight correction though: the one pictured is from my father in law and is indeed an heirloom he started down in Reedley that he believed was something like a brandywine or cherokee. The other one I gave you was started inside from seed by my very own self, right here in Oakland when it was still freezing outside (as if you can seriously say that around here) and if I recall, was a pompeiian type Roma (extra long I think).

I can't wait to see how they go with my smoked salmon later this summer.


Glenna said...

Ahhhhh...that was so nice of him! Great housewarming gift.

cookiecrumb said...

Monkey Wrangler: Well, I totally want to give credit to you, so -- credit!! This will be my first Roma plant, and I am looking forward to saucy sauciness. Today Cranky and I bought a purple cherokee and a sungold for the next patch of scraped-off grass. What a way to treat a lawn!
Thanks again for the kick in the pants.

Glenna: This has proven to be a very gifty community. I'd better get cracking on the jars of tomato sauce, or something, to make even.

El said...


RE: unpacking. I remember thinking hell they've given me a 30-year mortgage, what's with the rush to unpack. But unpot, after Cranky did some sodbusting for you? Most glorious.

cookiecrumb said...

Hey, El: I think I'll make that my motto. "I've got 30 years."
Thanks for the encouragement to take it easy. :D