Friday, August 27, 2010

The hunter becomes the hunted

This green guy is one of the greatest enemies of the tomato plant -- the dreaded Tomato Hornworm, which can make incredible amounts of tomato foliage disappear in no time at all (although Minna claims the end result is a most beautiful moth that some treasure).

This guy, however, has ended up as a meal for someone else -- or, rather, many someone elses (the white spots are wasp larvae).

So, as we come to the end of a most rewarding garden season, we aren't getting much in the way of tomatoes or cucumbers anymore -- but still plenty of fascinating lessons about how the world can work.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Purple harvest comes to Sag

Minna and I brought some of our backyard harvest -- including this Purple Cherokee that we planted upside down -- to Sag Harbor with us for a couple days of relaxation before we both head into busy fall seasons. The Cherokee was a truly delicious reminder of the best of what this summer has been for the both of us and of the harvests we hope for the future from the work we have been doing and the foundations we've been laying. The summer started with Minna's ordination and continued with her first summer working as as a rabbi. We ,moved into a little house (including a yard and central AC!). And I ran my third unit of summer chaplaincy education, and prepared to enter into my second year of doctoral study at NYU.

So we took this week for a little bit of relaxation between the great busy-ness we have behind and before us. The first three days were a little bike tour of around 70 miles total mostly around Amish country. We went through French Creek State Park -- where we had to navigate around a bridge that was out! -- on the first day. It was beautiful there amid the rain, but the best part was on the next day when we went on only a short ride from Morgantown to New Holland. It took us through some incredible Amish country where we saw many people working their fields with horses. As we came over one rise, we saw what was a very confusing scene at first -- a man with a team of four large horses standing at the edge of a cornfield. There was a mechanical roar as well, though. Why, we asked ourselves, would this man choose to use horses if he thought it was ok to use a mechanical tractor as well? And then we saw it -- eight huge horses, shoulder-to-shoulder, coming straight towards us through the corn. Four were pulling the most incredible muscle-powered machine I have ever seen -- a mechanical combine harvesting the corn without the aid of any electrical or internal combustion motor -- and the other four were pulling the huge cart the harvested corn was going into. We also saw a couple harvesting tobacco by hand in a field and we bought watermelon and nectarines from the people who grew them: incredible sights -- testaments to the faith of others, really -- mere miles from our home and from the tough urban streets of Reading, streets where blood is spilled much too often and where faith is a much-needed support for many, especially in these hard economic times.

I am grateful to the Blessed Holy One for the many harvests we have been able to enjoy in these days, including these precious few days of rest, and the wonderful weather we had today for a bike ride to the beach with Minna's parents, and a nice swim there.


Here are a couple more pics of both the harvest and the ride -- and links to more pics of both:

Minna's parents (on left) riding by Long Beach
From Bromberg beach ride 2010

From Harvest 2010 (August)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Powershot -- my camera

I was surprised today to hear one of the hosts of Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast enthusiastically endorsing not a movie or play, but an electronics product. Host Julia Turner went on and on about how her camera takes "perfect" pictures in situations that may be perfect to the human eye -- twilight and candlelight, etc. -- but are anything but perfect for taking pictures with a camera.

I don't know if I would go quite so far in my praises, but ever since Minna bought me the same camera -- the Canon Powershot S90 -- before we went to Israel in the spring (thanks, Minna!), I've really rediscovered the joy of photography with the help of this great little camera!

It's a bit on the big side for a point-and-shoot, and -- at around $350 -- it's on the more expensive side for this type of camera. But considering how close it comes to SLR quality in such a small package, I really think the price is a bargain.

If you want to know what it can do, just keep reading this blog -- almost every picture that I've posted in the last few months was taken with this camera.

[BTW, it was this New York Times column by David Pogue that turned me on to the S90.]

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Looking forward to next year (saving seeds)

We harvested our first Purple Cherokee tomato, today. We only have a few fruits growing on the (upside down!) plant, so we decided that we need to start saving seeds from it now if we're going to use them grow our own plants from scratch next year. So, the seeds will sit in the jar above for three-days or so -- long enough for the gelatinous material around the seeds to dissolve in the water -- before we clean, dry and store them.

It's exciting to think we might be able to have a garden again next year!

More on how to save tomato seeds here.

PS The tomato itself was delicious!
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