Today is THE Day

Today is THE day I shall FINALLY…
I’m building quite a list for this day.
I felt a sense of autumn this morning, just a brief whiff. It is still hot as blazes here, but this morning there it was: an ever-so-brief cool breeze. It visited only for a moment, but long enough to make me a promise: fall is right around the corner.
We have had hot and humid weather for months now. “I’m melting, I’m melting….” Just like the wicked witch. Do you know that I had to switch to water-proof mascara just because of the humidity in this area this summer? Brutal.
And my summer gardening endeavors, as I’ve already lamented, were disappointing.

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  1. Louise Fredieu says:

    Oh Rebekah!
    I am totally bonkers just from reading your article. My last garden was three years ago. My son and i were standing in the garden talking. We both happened to gaze down at the same time. To my horror and to my son’s amazement, the slinking reptile could have cared less about our emotions. He just slithered politely around us, and went on with his snakely pursuits. Oh, just thinking about it puts chilly bumps on my chilly bumps!
    I am very proud of you for taking this giant step today. I just hope that you have someone around keeping an eye on you …….. just in case!
    My prayers are with you this morning, and i can’t wait to read your next post (hopefully not from a sanitorium!)
    Thanks for the post (i think!)

  2. Jane says:

    Snakes – means transformation – your ready for a big change – It’s a terrific sign

  3. Carol in NC says:

    I finally made my dad’s hot pepper sauce from the beautiful red anaheim and jalapeno peppers in my garden. I picked and cooked them yesterday, let them cool overnight and this morning made the sauce. I’ve been planning to do this for several years and ironically, today was THE DAY! It was even easier than I’d anticipated thanks to the Squeezo I wheedled out of my mom.

    I grew the peppers from seed and have been waiting all summer for them to turn red. Happily, I have enough greenish red ones out there to make one more batch as soon as they fully ripen.

  4. Reba says:

    Today we celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. We looked at how we thought and believed when we married and how we see things now…my, oh my. We see this day as the day that we are choosing each other again…more than ever.

  5. Taralee says:

    Your garden sounds lovely, I think a snake also represents a healthy garden! I live in Auatralia, a place full of snakes. Everyone has a garden of some variety here and we do bump into them too. I asked my first aide course instructor how many people actually get bitten in the country each year, he said maybe a few and usually they are snake handlers. Maybe you could visit a reptile zoo and touch one.
    I too have tackled an ok let’s do it job! Our whole yard needed cutting back. I now have three brush piles as big as cows to haul away or burn. Underneath I found a grapevine crying for space and some lemon grass which I replanted elsewhere. I also woman handled a noxious vine the size of my arm!

    Enjoy your autumn planting and tilling. 🙂

  6. mellee says:

    Today I found out for sure that I will FINALLY be moving back to the country, after being a city dweller for 25 years. I am so looking forward to the trees, and the quiet, and the creek, and just walking aimlessly on the property and not encountering another single soul. Yes, I too don’t care for snakes. The bugs where I will be living are horrendous. But gosh it will so be worth living back on the family land, being able to plant whatever size garden i like, and maybe even having some farm animals. I have visions of a chicken coop, a milking cow for my old barn, and maybe finally I can get another cat (long story). So today, my soul feels like it can take a deep breath and knows that I will have my freedom once again.

  7. bonnie ellis says:

    I’m on tomorow already because it will be Sept. 1 and the weatherman says we’ll have some cool weather tomorrow. I will finally start working on my fall quilt table runners and and finish up a couple of small garden things.Ho,ho, who am I kidding finally is such a forboding word. Especially for a procrastinator.

  8. carol branum says:

    Hi Rebecca,I have been melting like the wicked witch all summer too,it has been a strange year here weather wize,I fear an early fall and I still have so much work to get done.This morning it is raining so hard I got soaked head to toe,we needed the rain,around here all of the farmers hay is burning up.I have been overwelmed with work,and all of my fun projects have been put on the back burner,so starting today I am makeing a list when I get off of the computer of all of my top priorities.One is just to finish all the projects that I have started before I start any new ones.As for snakes,we had rattle snakes out at the farm when I was a kid we had rattlesnake round ups just like they do in Texas only I am in Mo.Daddy would cut the tails off and line them up on the kitchen counter to admire,and momma Hallie would throw a screamin hissy fit,and they would still be there a couple of weeks before she could talk him out of moveing them.I was scared to go into the kitchen at night coz I was afraid the darn things would come alive.We went to church 3 times a week and that preacher would preach hell fire and brimstone,and I was so scared,I thought that coz I admired boys that I was gonna for sure go to hell,and the cyotes would howl,and the lightnin would strike,and I just knew I was gonna go to hell,and that them snakes were all gonna come alive and eat me in the night just coz I lusted after boys.I actually ran over a rattler going fast down a hill once,it was streched out sun bathin,and I could,nt go home coz it was coiled,so I had to ride my bike all the way to the hay feild where daddy was working.He carried a pistol on the tractor so I rode the tractor with him back to the house,and he called my uncle freddy and they got a few men with gunny sacks and raided their dens.To this day I am terrorized of rattlers.We have not seen any for a while,but,daddy won,t kill a black snake,we tease him and say they are his pets.But,daddy says he has seen them fight,and kill a rattler.Sorry my comment is so long but but,I will write about it on my blog sometime soon,love ya,carol Branum Lamar Mo.

  9. Jonnie says:

    I am so proud of you Rebekah! I love snakes! They are very honest souls – no hidden agenda. They are on earth to grow and procreate and they pretty much keep to that unless they are threatened. Your post has set me to thinking – wondering what it is exactly that I’ve been waiting to do that it’s time to start. Loving that you are a city girl successfully living as a farmgirl, maybe that’s my challenge. I’ve been thinking that I "can’t" do that. Hmmm

  10. Jeanne says:

    Tractor Supply sells snake repellant and I am told it does not kill anything but repells as they do not like the smell. Good luck

  11. Keri says:

    SNAKES!!! I have the heeby jeebies now…eek. Brings back memories of one of the farm crew having a week stay at the hospital with an arm the size of a thigh after a copperhead bite. Be careful and good luck with the garden:)

  12. DENISE says:

    My tomatoes went crazy. We had such a dismal start. Between our garden and my mother’s, mom canned 117 quarts of tomatoes. Yeah!! But no green beans, corn and very little peppers and cukes. The zuccs were okay and tasty but the gourds went nuts. We’ll have plenty of birdhouses to share come spring. Lucky for us only a couple of snake sitings. I too have a snake dance. It can be and has been performed in the car when one is spotted dead or alive on the road. I don’t try to run over them, that gives me the creeps. I, too don’t wish them dead but do not wish for them to be nearby. My day to finally do something since the heat let up was yesterday. I had weeds 10ft. tall. Just for fun I yelled timber when I cut them down. Might as well have a good time when you can, even when you’re working hard. Happy Fall Clean UP to all.

  13. Pam says:

    We just finished our basement and I found a small rat snake hiding underneath on of those inflatable mattresses. After I got through screaming for my husband..he never hears me call him from the basement, but he did this time he picked it up and carried it out to the woods. Yep.. I’m looking at storm doors now…seem’s he slipped underneath the door because the jam has a small opening.

  14. penny says:

    En esto algo es. Los muchas gracias por la ayuda en esta pregunta.

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I'm Just Saying

Oh yeah, I’ve got them. Doesn’t everybody? Quirky sayings.
“If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas” is one I’ve been repeating for years. Now to be clear, I didn’t make that up. I heard it along the way some where and loved it. I’ve  said it a million times since.Not everyone gets it to start with, and I’ve surely gotten some funny looks when I say it. But somewhere deep within those wacky words is truth, a message.

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  1. Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit. That looks mighty tasty!

  2. Tina says:

    My kids will only have homemade cornbread. Long ago I stopped making it from a box when I realized that from scratch wasn’t that much harder. Love your post.

  3. Paula says:

    "Hotter than a popcorn fart" which is what it’s been here in Oregon the last few days. This was one of my dad’s favorite sayings on a hot KS day. He passed away this year and alot of his crazy sayings keep popping into my head.

  4. Becky G. says:

    Here goes: "ain’t no little fairy gonna come tap you on your head with it’s wand and make you happy!"

    What that means is, happiness comes from inside, not outside! And personally, I think contentment is so much more important than happiness!

  5. Cindy says:

    "Spend time, not money." After raising two boys our first grandchild is a precious little girl. Of course I am inclined to buy every cute item that I see but since we are retired (as in money is tight) I keep reminding myself to "spend time, not money" because it is what she will remember years later anyways.

  6. Cindy says:

    Well the other day I said, "I AM DONE – YOU HEAR ME?" I was talking to the boys I watch and my best girlfriend, and I can’t even remember what I was talking about. But my friend turned on her southern voice (She’s from Indiana so it isn’t real) and said, "Stick a fork in her, she is done!" We all started laughing. (I guess you had to be there)

    And just before reading this post I sent my Sister an e-mail asking her opinion on something and I said, "I’m drawing a blank." Then I asked, "How does one actually draw a blank?"

    And the cornbread – gonna try it. My husbands family is always talking about Aunt Evelyn’s cornbread and how good it was and how she made it for every meal. Mine will never measure up, but I’m still gonna try.


  7. Janice K. says:

    When I’m in the garden I am reminded of my mother’s saying, ‘now that’s a tough row to hoe’, referring to a difficult situation. If someone was in a bad mood, they were being ‘owly’ (spelling?). Don’t know where that one came from and when I repeat it, people look at me like they are totally confused! When we used to speak of a couple that didn’t seem to ‘fit’ together in our estimation, my mom would say, ‘you know there’s a lid for every pot’, and then we would laugh.
    This is a favorite little ditty that my dad used to say to make us chuckle:
    ‘It makes me laugh to see the calf run down the path in
    a minute and a half to get some grass to wipe his HOO HOO!’
    My folks had roots in Kentucky and I guess that might be where some of this came from.
    All I know is that losing them both was a tough row to hoe..

  8. Cait says:

    Two from my beloved g’mother: "You do that again and I will slap the taste right out of your mouth." And when I was acting "prissy," she’d tell me: "Honey, you may be sweet, but your aren’t made out of sugar and you won’t melt in the rain."

    Also, shorten bread is actually shortbread cookies…or that’s what I’ve always been told!

  9. Reba says:

    Being from GA as well, my husband is very "cold-natured." Being in one of the hottest areas in the US in my opinion, how is it that you are "cold-natured?" But one of his sayings that he heard which possibly describes how he feels is: "It’s colder than an Alaskan well-diggers a–!" Personally, being in my 50’s, I LOVE the cold!! LOL!

  10. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the cornbread recipe… I’ve been looking for a good one!

  11. Carol Branum says:

    Hi Rebecca,I make Martha Whites White corn bread,I get my bacon greese hot,and use a corn stick pan,and a wedged pan,My mother in law taught me when I was 17 how to cook southern.This is the kind she used,Momma Hallies was always yeller,and when I first saw white corn bread at age 17 I just did,nt know what to think!About sayings around here we say"She thinks shes Miss Aster,or she thinks shes Ms Vanderbuilt"talking about rich girls who think there #%$* does not stink."We don,t like like ritch girls in this neck of the woods,espically ones that think they know it all""I also like the Dorthy Parker quote"{about horitculture/gardening}Your can lead a whore to culture but you can,t teach her to think!"Dorthy Parker was playing scrabble when she said this jokely about herself.{this was a favorite saying of my aunt Dallies who wrote a gardening column for the Carthage Press.She would give talks to groups about gardening and use this quote and the room would roar.We also say "does a bear $%#* in the woods"a lot around here too…read more on my blog {its a dot not a @}Look me up,and please comment OK?Thanks!,have a great day Becka,Carol Branum,Lamar Mo.

  12. Marcie says:

    My husband has a favorite saying, "sometimes even a blind hog finds an acorn", meaning he found a way to make the impossible possible.
    Speaking of grits and Texas….. I remember once when we were in a restaurant down in Austin, and was sitting next to a man and his young son. The little boy was whining about his breakfast and said, "Daddy, don’t make me eat those bricks".
    Grits were a food staple where I was raised (S MS) and sometimes the leftover grits were chilled, sliced & fried to a golden brown and served as a side dish for supper with gravy. They are very good, but I still like my grits and fried eggs with bacon or sausage for breakfast.
    Your cornbread recipe sounds great, Rebekah. This week we are making our late summer trip over to the other side of the mountain to Cades Cove, where my sister & I will buy freshly ground cornmeal, that is still ground on the old mill at Pigeon Forge and sold at the park. I will then try your recipe.

  13. MaryFrantic' says:

    I always tell each our son, "Better take good care of yourself cause nobody will do it for you."….
    and my personal favorite:
    .."SHE who tooteth not her own horn hath it not tooted!"
    and for good advice when things seem all but lost:…"Pretend it is a YEAR FROM NOW and you are looking back on this. It will have been resolved (somehow) and life moved on."

  14. Helen says:

    How about "kiss my grits!" (From the old show Alice.) I hope you’ll teach us more about them. This northern gal knows nothing about grits. How to buy them, how to cook them, how to serve them. I do make cornbread (from the jiffy mix!)

  15. Susan says:

    Love the blog! In response to Cindy and drawing a blank…in dominoes if you draw a tile with no dots, it is referred to as a blank. Therefore, if you draw a blank, you have nothing!

  16. Nancy says:

    I come from a family that has alot of quarky sayings…as long as I can remember, either my Mom,Grandmom or Great Grandmom had something to say…But my favorite when my five kids were growing up, and they asked for something that was either impossible or never going to happen, I would answer their question with "When pigs fly!!!"…hands down the one I want they to remember is "I’ll love you forever…

  17. Melodye says:

    Hi, Rebecca! I have always made yellow cornbread and instead of oil, I used butter. It’s also good with a layer of sharp cheese in the middle ( pour in half the batter and layer in grated cheese then pour in the rest of the batter). As my Dad used to say,"so good you wanna hug yourself for eatin’ it!

  18. Bonnie says:

    I’m a northern girl, but I love grits and cornbread. I do like my cornbread sweet!

  19. My husband’s favorite is "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!" spoken when someone’s request was not likely to be granted. My Aunt Edna used to say,"Leave it for the blind man on a fast horse to see." when we’d be housecleaning or such and little bitty smudges remained despite vigorous scrubbing!
    I LOVE your blog. I’m making the Hike Inn cookies this week for grandchildren

  20. Carol in NC says:

    I grew up in the deep south and ever since I finished reading ‘The Help’ all I can think of (besides praying that I wasn’t a brat) is the cornbread our maid used to make. It was divine and I’ve not really been able to recreate it. I’ll try this one.

    Hotter than a popcorn fart? hahahaha! Never heard that one before.

  21. Debbie says:

    Ever heard this one? Some days Chickens, Some days Feathers!
    My momm used to say it a lot when I was growing up…I never really " got it" until later in life… some days you get the whole glorious bird and other days… just feathers…. that’s life in a nut shell…!I’m a south western gal happily transplanted in New England…but my family out west is mostly TEXAN! They have more sayings than you can shake a stick at…They always make you laugh and think!

    I just love your writing and I gave you a little shout out over on my blog just yesterday… right along with all the other farmgirl bloggers!

    can’t wait to hear more about the shrimp and grits festival!

  22. Sherry says:

    Not my pig, not my farm. As in, not my problem.

  23. Teresa says:

    More’in one way to break a dog a’suckin’eggs.

  24. Lauie says:

    About grits, driving home to northern Ohio from Florida once, we stopped somewhere in Georgia for breakfast. I ordered eggs with bacon and toast. Went to pick up my plate and it had a bunch of white stuff on it, I said this wasn’t my order and the super nice lady said,, "thems grits honey, everyone gets a mess a grits." So I learned a lot that morning, mostly I don’t like grits. But I loved the place and the nice lady.

  25. Laurie says:

    My Mom would say "bread and butter" whenever we walked to the side of a post or whatever, one of us going one way, the other to the other side. Have no idea where it came from, have not heard it from anyone but Mom.

  26. Ellie says:

    I made the cornbread this weekend. It turned out great! The family gobbled it. I’m following the posts on your other blog. I hope the race goes weel!

  27. Leigh Anne says:

    Well my family is from East Texas. They have so many sayings; but here are a few I can remember. My grandmother would say when it was raining but the sun was still shinning "The devils beaten his wife again". One she said when I got older and something was upsetting me was "let it lye" as it let it be, most things work themselves out and the Good Lords in control anyway. My very colorful brother says things like "it’s colder than a witches tit-tie" and another thing everyone referred to me as "sister" as my name, I guess because I was the little sister. Oh and I’m sure we all heard this one, when dad would come in to wake me up he’d say, "time to get up the days a wasting", of course this was usually at 5am.

  28. Louise Fredieu says:

    "That’s so good it makes ya want to slap yo mama!" from the 6’8" son of a wonderful petite Southern woman who would lash back: "I brought you into this world and i can take you out!"

  29. Vickie says:

    Mammy’s little baby loves short’nin’, short’nin’

    Mammy’s little baby loves short’nin’ bread.

    Put on the skillet,

    Put on the led,

    Mammy’s going to make a lil’ short’nin’ bread!

    Ever wonder why?
    Give it a try!


    2 cups all-purpose flour
    ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    ½ cup buttermilk
    ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
    1 cup molasses
    1 egg, slightly beaten

    Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

    Grease and flour a well seasoned 10" iron skillet
    (An 8×8 baking pan can be substituted).

    In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.

    In another small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the buttermilk.

    In a heavy saucepan, stirring the butter and molasses continually, bring it to a boil.

    To the flour mixture, stir in the butter and molasses. Add the buttermilk, baking soda and the slightly beaten egg and mix well.

    Pour the mixture into the skillet and place it in the oven.
    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

    Slice and serve warm or cold with a cool, refreshing glass of milk for a delicious, nutritious treat and, "May you always be as happy as you make others!"

  30. michele says:

    A few years ago, my sister and I found two vintage containers that said "candy" and "nuts". We bought them and added 2 of our own
    "ifs" and "Buts"
    love it

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“Three.” Yes, three. The sad, sad truth. The disappointing answer. Only three! After all the sweat and work.

The question? “How many tomatoes have you gotten out of your garden this year?”

What’s your answer? Go ahead. Make me drool. Make me jealous. Tell me about your ‘maters. Tell me what varieties you are growing. Tell me how the juice, warm from the sun, drips down your chin. How you never even made it in the house with the first one from the garden. I want to hear every detail of your tomato growing this summer. Tell me your favorite way to eat them and how you’ll be canning sauce soon from the abundance. Let me live vicariously through your tomato success. Let me feel what it is like….give me the whole scoop.


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  1. R. D. says:


    Those are Tobacco horn worms. Voracious eaters,no spray or chemical will eliminate them. They must picked off.
    Moths,butterflys lay eggs on the plants. Wasps will lay eggs on the worms and the larve will kill the worm.The only predator for those worms.

    I had a great crop of Tomatoes this year ( BETTER BOY )

    Family,and neighbors have enjoyed the tomatoes.
    you will be getting more soon

    FARM BOY R. D.

  2. R. D. says:


    Those are Tobacco horn worms. Voracious eaters,no spray or chemical will eliminate them. They must picked off.
    Moths,butterflys lay eggs on the plants. Wasps will lay eggs on the worms and the larve will kill the worm.The only predator for those worms.

    I had a great crop of Tomatoes this year ( BETTER BOY )

    Family,and neighbors have enjoyed the tomatoes.
    you will be getting more soon

    FARM BOY R. D.

  3. Rhonda says:

    Check out my blog for my tomato story! No worry perhaps you’ll get more mater’s soon! Love your "Mountain Farm". I hear those hills calling me soon.

  4. Becky says:

    Oh golly, i sure miss my garden and home-grownFRESH toms.

    We are traveling this summer, no time for a garden . . . but look out, next year i’ll grow a bushel of ’em!

    ~ Becky

  5. Shery Jespersen says:

    Well, your city garden may have disappointed you, but your country sanctuary looks to be a slice of Heaven! What a beautiful, storybook-like place. Love the photos.

    My tomatoes are coming, but still green. Out here on the northern plains, we’re much later garden harvesters than a lot of other farmgirls. However, we had beets for a supper sidedish last night…and a lovely salad of homegrown Romaine with carrots, cukes and Nasturium & viola flowers scattered on top.

  6. Kellie says:

    So far we have had a bunch of cherry tomatoes. but not many heirlooms tomatoes or peppers have turn red yet. Maybe its been to wet this year?
    But it always goes from nothing to sudden madness with a counter full of red produce by late August here in Ohio!

  7. Courtney says:

    Only 2 and one disappeared the night before it was going to picked! We have a container garden and the neighborhood cats decided it was their playground and litter box…killed a lot of promising plants before we came up with a solution.

  8. Joeby says:

    I think those are swallowtail catapilliars. If they are on the dill. I had a bunch of those little rascals this year (in Texas) on my fennel – they love dill and fennel. We had beautiful swallowtail butterfiies all over the yard. It was fun to watch the whole process from tiny catapillar to big fat catapillar, then morph to a beautiful butterfly – all in my tiny garden. I had tons of tomatoes – Celebrity. They have been finished over a month now, and we are looking forward to a fall garden. Love the blog!

  9. Pam says:

    We have lived on our "Farm" for 3 summers and each one has been so different. This year our tomatoes, beans, corn, strawberries, sweet potatoes and peppers have been bumper crops. Last year not so much. Our zucchini gave us about 5 this year. Last year, way more. We live in central Oklahoma and this year has been wonderful. The heat (yesterday 103.8, last time I checked) has only just started. The way August normally is. So our prairie grass has been green all summer! The weeds laugh in our face at our attempts to control them. Normally everything is fried by now. We had just the right amounts of rain at just the right time this year. Normally, we either get no rain or we just flood everything away. So, I have felt your pain. My husband comes in each evening with hands full of vegetables, a maniacal look in his eyes that says "I have conquered the dirt, now what are you going to do with these?!" I grew up in town and I confess that I wanted to hide from him at first but, I think I’m getting the hang of this now. As my pantry grows, I’m actually enjoying him coming in with more vegetables. I think a little chicken poop helps too. Hang in there. There is always the Farmers Market for this year.

  10. Laurie says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    A small correction to previous comment; the worms are tomato, not tobacco, hornworms. And, yes, the only way to get rid of them is to hand-pick. If you’re hand-picking, check to see if the hornworms have been attacked by parasitic wasps first- if they have, the wasp larvae will have pupated,forming structures that look like small white grains of rice on the back of the hornworm. Leave these be so the wasps can spread. My Rodale organic gardening book doesn’t say anything about those larvae killing the hornworm, but I guess the wasps are beneficial to the garden somewhere.
    Also, plant dill near your tomatoes. It attracts hornworms, and they’re easier to spot on dill than they are on tomato plants. I guess we know what got your dill plants, Rebekah!

  11. Debbie says:

    Wow – did I ever need your story! I had herniated disk surgery on my neck last week. Lost 3 weeks before due to pain, then drugs to help the pain. So my veggie garden is really sad at this point. Hubby can only do so much and I love working in the garden. In N. Texas we are now having 100 plus weather – so no garden. Will try again in the fall. But I need to stop and enjoy what is around me now. Thanks!!!!!!

  12. kay says:

    Lots of green ‘maters but none ready to eat. Lots of zucchini, I made zucchini relish that is soooo good.

    Enjoyed your pics.

  13. carol branum says:

    Hi Rebecca,We have some" Morgage Lifters" we bought from an Amish woman,and Brandywines.My favorite part of the garden is rideing in the back of daddy,s pickup,with the wind blowing my hair.Its our little ritual.He has a large water barrel that he fills,and he lets down the tailgate when we get to the garden,and lets it pour down the rows to his plants.I help him tie them up with peices of old fabric cut into strips,and we talk as we pick.I eat one as I fill my bucket of pepppers,and mators,and throw it in the back,and ride again in the back.He will stop the truck and point"Look over there!Did ya see that?and it will be a wild turkey,or some plant he wants me to see.And we will journey the mile back to the house.I will be putting on a pot to boil,and he will play the panio."Honey come in here,he says,and he will be playing "Crazy"by Patsy Cline",I sing for him,and its time for him to go lie down,its been so hot,and he tires easily now,Then,I can more tomatoes.Had to share that,I am so blessed,Thanks for letting me share,it is so special,Carol Branum,Lamar Mo.

  14. Robin Lockwood says:

    With all due respect, those are NOT tomato hornworms. They are monarch butterfly catapillars. And yes, they are quite destructive however, you can look at it as providing nutrition towards the continuation of a butterfly population that is diminishing. To verify, google search "pictures of tomato hornworm", then "pictures of monarch butterfly catapillars".

    This year, I’m having a much better tomato crop. Tomatoes require enormous amounts of nitrogen in order to create tomatoes. It’s not too late to correct this. When your blossoms set, put 1 cup of coffee grounds around the base of the plant and water it in deeply. It’s a very hot dry summer in Tennessee and tomatoes also require deep watering because the heat stress will cause them to shut down production. I wrapped a soaker hose around the base of my plants and have been watering them for two hours every evening around 6 pm. This way the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly, the water has time to really soak deep into the soil, and the plants can recover overnight. It’s making a noticable difference in the health of my plants. Good Luck!

  15. 4 tomatoes. And they were tiny at that. This year has been truly terrible for my garden and I’m not sure why. Will keep trying though!

    Lovely photos of your meadows and surprise produce!

  16. What a lovely post. Have you tried burying banana peels beside your tomatoes? That might help the yield. Love the jelly making story. Your daughter is really having a lovely childhood. Hooray for you both.

  17. mellee says:

    ewww…had those awful tobacco worms year before last. they are the yuckiest things to pull off your plants. thank goodness they never (cross your fingers) returned. i am sorry to hear that you haven’t had tomato luck this year. we have had a bumper crop of delicious heirloom tomatos, squash, cucumbers….until my oh so curteous neighbor used chemicals on his flower borders. then with the rain his chemicals flowed into my garden patch. my melons rotted on the vine and my majestic 16 ft. sunflowers turned black and fell over. but until the flood of weed killer, i would say our garden was a seven, no maybe an eight. i a rationing my remaining tomatos as i live for a tomato samwich. we’ve had a lot of friend squash and potatos along with cucumbers bathed in apple cidar vinegar. i even made a delicious pasta salad with all the veggies, bacon, and salad dressing. so even though the garden had an early demise, it was enjoyed throughly.

    i love all of the hidden wonders you have found; the grapes, the pumpkin, your neighbors endless sky pastures. even with only three tomatos, you most certainly have had a bountiful harvest after all.

  18. Marcie says:

    I have to agree with Robin… the catapillars look like soon to be Monarch butterflies. Now, that might explain what happened to my dillweed. Something ate the stalks off at the ground, although Monarch catapillars usually just eat the leaves of milkweed…… mind boggler here.
    Anyway, my garden was a bountiful harvest with cukes, zucchini & yellow squash, beans, peas, & peppers and the tomatoes & okra are still producing like mad + all the neat herbs. Wish I could send you some of everything, Rebekah. I have mades salsas & sauces and given away scads of veggies & the freezer is almost full.
    I am looking forward to next year and we will do things a lot different because some plants used others to climb on and we will be ready for this next growing season. A secret I learned from another source was "compost tea". I made a huge batch last winter & added it to the garden with our compost during tilling…. it worked GREAT!

  19. Cindy says:

    Since it’s your dill that’s being eaten, I would say they are black swallowtail butterflies. They also like fennel. I hope you didn’t pick and kill them. Personally I’d rather have a yard of butterflies than dill to pick! 🙂

  20. Melissa Medford-Hare says:

    Hello, The caterpillar is but one of the stages of the swallowtail butterfly. Fennel and Dill is one of their host plants. They will soon crawl away and make a chrysalis and more chances than not you will be able to see a few come out and emerge into a beautiful swallowtail. Just plant more than enough to share with them or harvest sooner. I plant fennel just for them. I do pick off the seeds or in the spring the seedlings will take over a garden. I grew heirloom tomatoes this year, all colors of the rainbow, just lovely

  21. all8garden says:

    You have Black Swallowtail caterpillars. They specifically eat the parsley family, which includes dill, carrot, fennel, and queen anne’s lace. I plant extra parsley just so that there’s enough for me and them. Google up some pics, they’re beautiful.

    I was late planting most of everything this year so we’re just starting into the lusciousness of summer tomatoes. The taste test winners so far have been Black Cherry and Cherokee Purple. The Pea tomatoes are bent on world domination but some animal or other scurries off with almost all of the fruit. The Jumbo Jim Orange are beginning to color as are the Rutgers.

    If it makes you feel any better I planted summer squash seeds mid-July and they’re just beginning to bloom and my first squash is developing. Exciting stuff. Can’t wait to grate them fine and freeze it in two cup increments (with a tsp. of lemon juice) to make muffins all winter long. Nothing says welcome home, I’m so glad you’re here, like spiced, fresh zucchini muffins warm from the oven.

    From our gardens, we’ve eaten plenty of broccoli and I’m pretty sure the yard-long beans will just keep producing more than we can eat. The green beans are just starting to develop. I’ll probably freeze them since the yard-long beans are so insistent. The jalapenos are doing well also.

    This year was particularly bad for the allium family here. The garlic didn’t size up well, neither did the Candy onions and the shallots were starting to rot. We’ll have to buy new starts instead of saving our own for next year. Good news is that when the tomatoes start rolling in, there are plenty of onions and jalapenos waiting to become salsa. DH can’t wait.

    The best way to tell when concord type grapes are ripe? Taste them. The seeds should be brown instead of green too. Good Luck!

  22. one of your viewers is right on the caterpillars. They are Black Swallowtails. Lovely butterfly! Larvae feed on members of the carrot family….dill,fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace, carrot, parsley etc. They will strip your parsley, but it’s for a good cause! You might plant some fennel and the butterflies will perhaps choose that over parsley.They have several generations a year, the last one in the fall will overwinter as a chrysalis and emerge in the spring.

  23. Marcie says:

    I did not see the culprits eating on the dillweed but now something is cutting my very large tomato stalks off at the ground with big green tomatoes attached and my husband thinks its the ugly green beetles that we find in the ground. We looked them up and they appear to be a June bug of some kind (nothing like the June bugs we used to see in TX). These lay eggs in the ground and grubs hatch then dig out when they become a beetle and the cycle starts all over again. They swarm like crazy in the summer after a rain.

  24. JoEllen says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    My tomatoes are not doing well either. Just little shrimpy ones are appearing and I can’t fathom that they will ever look like the beautiful tasty ones on the package. I don’t want to give up my very small garden, but it is getting very depressing. Maybe bugs, though I don’t see any on the tomatoes, but they sure like the cauliflower & lettuce. They ate it all before I got to. Maybe next year I’ll join a cooperative plot.

  25. denise says:

    Rebekah, the summer has been an odd one for our garden. Tomatoes, looked fantastic comin’ on then the blight hit, too much rain, we had toadstools growing at the base of the plants. A true jungle. We’ve only managed maybe 6 tomatoes, the chickens are reaping the benefits of our loss. The zuks, cuks and squash are going gang busters. The too much rain just destroyed the greenbeans. Just when the blossoms came on a rain storm of epic zest would knock them off before a bean could sprout. Now the heat has taken a toll on our animals. June started the first round of heat loss, a new litter of rabbits. July took my old goat "Bullet". Now this latest blast just yesterday has taken 6 of my older rabbits. We’re icing them down 3 times a day just to get them through. 3 more are looking rough. To say the least we are really looking forward to some relief from this heat. But as country life goes we have our blessings. We have been just gifted to the max with butterflies. What a joy they have been to watch. School is starting next week and I have a list of things to do while our last child is out of the house for a few hours. But for now I’m signing off, it’s supper and then home ec club with my only daughter (3 boys also). Enjoy whatever your bounty may be.

  26. KimberlyD says:

    I planted my tomatoes late so they are still green, I do have a lot of them on the vine still. The grapes I am not sure when they would be ripe in Georgia, do you get frost up in your Mountain farm? For in Michigan you wait for the first frost and than they are ripe. My parents grew grapes and we made grape jelly all the time. And I am with your daughter to this day I do not like store grape jelly, even smuckers (sorry Even though I had not made homemade grape jelly in years!
    We had wild blackberries but my landlord got rid of them this year. Thats ok we didn’t do anything with them either, just takes to many to do something with them and the birds are good at getting most of them

  27. Teresa says:

    My ‘maters haven’t been doing too well in the Garden State,but for some odd reason,the bell peppers are doing great.Can’t tell you why.I have had just enough tomatoes for salad for my hubby and my self,andan occasional pot of chili.We are begging for rain here,but that doesn’t explain why the peppers are thriving.

  28. Carla says:

    I can’t tell you how many tomatoes we got from our garden. We planted 1 cherry/grape tomato plant in a pot that sits on our deck. It grew, alot, and is taller than I so at least 5 and half feet tall. We used two tomato cages to help keep it upright. We have eaten tomatoes that tast so sweet from this 1 plant for weeks now. There are at least 30 in a bowl on my counter. The plant is still blooming, beginning to look a little haggard too. We have been so happy with our $1.00 investment. We used to plant tomatoes in our small garden, but the worms ate like hogs, so a pot on the deck of cherry/grape sized ones work best for us. I buy the larger ones at the farmers market, getting ready to can tomatoes next week.

  29. Vickie says:

    Those are definitely catepillars that will be butterflies! Don’t kill them, feed them. If you don’t have one, plant a few butterfly bushes. You won’t believe the butterflies that will visit. I enjoy your blog! Keep writing!

  30. Paula says:

    We have Black from Tula, Cherokee purple, sweet 100’s and several others that are loaded with tomatos. We’ve had 5 tomatoes from the Black from Tula…sweet and meaty!
    Oh and being from Oregon…blackberries are EVERYWHERE! I don’t like the seeds either so my Victorio Strainer is the answer, run them through and what wonderful jam, and goodies you can make seed free! Don’t let the seeds deter you from yummy goodness

  31. Tina says:

    I am a city farm girl too! And this year I thought my tomatoes would be a bust. I planted seedlins in the garden and the temperatures in my Wyoming area just took forever to warm, so they died. My husband bought me some more mature plants, a plum tomato and a beefsteak, at wal-mart, and while I didn’t have high hopes, I planted them in large pots on the deck instead of my little garden. They are growing like weeds! 🙂 I have 8 plums and don’t see anymore blooms, so I think it must be an indeterminant plant. I don’t fully understand what that means, but I think it means it won’t keep producing. The Beef Steaks are still growing and I have about 9 tomatoes and several blooms. I know it’s late, but this is southeast Wyoming and we are happy to have even green maters in August.

  32. Taylor says:

    Our tomato crop is in full force now. Salsa, spaghetti sauce, tomato pie. You name it, I’m doing it right now. I’m about to get to that point where I leave them on neighbor’s doorsteps. Do you want some?

  33. Karen says:

    5. Yup, had a bad ant problem this year, apparently made a nest among the roots. I’m lucky I got 5. Your statement about how the first tomatoes didn’t even make it in to the house reminded me about the "first fruits" mentioned in the Bible. That first tomato, ripe, red, looking so juicy, the one you’ve been waiting for all winter…give it away? Hmmm. Not as easy as it sounds.

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