Monday, September 30, 2013

Another Year of Picking Tomatoes with the Mama


Sixty-nine pounds of organic tomatoes.

That's how many pounds of tomatoes the Husband, the Mama, and I picked at the Live Earth Farm in Watsonville yesterday.  The farm was having its last u-pick day for tomatoes, and, we were quite fortunate to learn about it just in time.

I have gotten spoiled. Maybe the Husband and the Mama have, too. For the last four years, we have picked enough organic tomatoes to freeze and use until the next tomato season. Frozen organic tomatoes taste almost as if they were just picked. That's reason one for me saying I am spoiled.

Reason number two is that I like seeing Mama enjoy herself as she picks tomatoes. I think it brings her back to the days of working in vegetable seed research. We bring her little green bench so that she can sit as she pick tomatoes in solitude under the warm sun. "Don't go too far," she always tells me, as I go to find my own row of solitude nearby, while the Husband walks toward the far end of the field.

I didn't think we would be picking tomatoes this year. The farm that we usually go to wasn't planning any public U-pick days. The Mama was very disappointed when I told her. So, I searched the Internet for organic farms in nearby counties and came across Live Earth Farm. She thought it was too far to go for tomatoes. "Just buy them at the store," she said. "It's the same price."

"$1.00 a pound. You can't get a better price for organic tomatoes," I said, already deciding to go whether or not the Mama accompanied us.

At the last second, the Mama decided to go with us. She doesn't like to travel much anymore, and she was quite a grumpy traveler, especially when we got lost finding the place. But, all was well after she plopped herself on her little green bench and plucked the first tomato off the vine.

When we hauled our boxes to the scales, she said, "Ask the farmer if he needs workers. We can come work for him. How much do you think he pays?" Before I could answer, she said sadly, "He won't hire me. I move too slow."

I don't know about that. She picked 24 pounds of tomatoes on her own. That's pretty darn good for a tiny 90+ year-old-woman.


Friday, September 20, 2013

One Dime. . .Two. . .Three. . .

"I think I have 86¢," I said, when the fish lady told us the lovely looking rockfish was $5.86.

Pulling out a handful of change from my purse, the fish lady said, "Yes, I think you do."

I plucked out two quarters, two dimes, a nickel, and a penny from the coins in my hand and put them on the counter. My mind when blank. "How much was it again?"

"86¢," said the Husband.

I fished out more coins. My mind went blank again. "What was it?"

"86¢," he said.

I looked down at the change. Total blankness. "What?"

"86¢!"

I gave up. "Okay, that ought to do it."

The fish lady picked up the change, laughing with the Husband and me as we chattered on. "And, to think he has to deal with me everyday," I said while the Husband rolled his eyes and threw up his hands.

I noticed the fish lady counting the change. "Did I give you enough?"

"More than enough," she said, handing me back two dimes.

"I used to be so good at counting change," I said.

"We should get you a change maker," said the Husband.

"Like a train conductor. Yeah. I could go for that."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Never Too Old to Uncover a Talent


Today I discovered a talent -- and a natural skill -- that I have.

First, let me put it all in context. I decided to enter the Country Roads Dry Flower Arrangement category at this year's County Fair. It'll be my first time. The requirement: I must make a dried flower display using a receptacle that I have found alongside the road.

So, this afternoon, the Husband and I decided to walk on the street that's next to the last small open field in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, a chicken-wire-type cyclone fence blocked us from wandering in the field. Still, I lucked out. Just on the other side of the fence was a broken toy rocket and a small kinda flat rubber ball. Bingo!

I was able to pull the rocket through the fence without busting it. Whoo-hooo! Now to get the ball that was further away from the fence. The Husband and I found a stronger and larger stick, but that, too, was on the other side of the fence.  That's when I learned about my talent.

I was able to put part of my hand (which I now consider small) through the fence and grab the stick. Now, here comes the neat part: I patiently moved the stick up the fence until it got to the point where I could pull it over the fence and handed it to the Husband.

He channeled his talented elementary schoolboy self and swiftly rolled the ball to the fence. He stepped back and I worked my magic retrieving that ball with my new found talent. Ha! Goes to show, we're never too old to uncover a talent.