Thursday, November 5, 2009

Frost tomorrow night, two mistakes

I'm quite sure now that I have heard TWO warnings that frost may hit our region tomorrow (Friday) night. Gardeners alert! Suggestions below.
Last evening I made two mistakes that may interest this list. One was that I "heard" at the 5:00 PM news that there would be a low of 33 degrees. I spent the next half hour doing what I describe below, only to hear a "low of 43 degrees" at the 5:30 news. I guess I heard wrong at 5:00.
About the same time Anita knocked at our door and told Fred that she had seen bales of straw on Broad Street near the Shoprite. He grabbed a shopping list and took off while I was frantic in the back yard. When he came back and told me he had brought home "a bale" of straw, I wasn't as grateful as I might have been. I reminded him that last year I used two bales. Obligingly, later in the evening he brought home another.
When I saw the bales this morning, I saw I had made mistake #2.

These bales are three times the size of any I've seen before! One of them covered all my strawberries more deeply today than they have ever been covered before.
Anyone want a big bale of straw? If so, we'll put it out for you. It will spend the night in our garage where it will stay dry. A soaked bale of that size could break a human back.
I've heard about "production" (actually of consumption) of a reported number of barrels of oil so much, that I assume "barrels" is a constant volume. Apparently bales of straw are not. Oh, well.
We all make mistakes. I tell my students that often. Internalizing it is important, I believe, for enjoying mathematics -- and accepting mistakes is not easy in their test-driven lives.
Back to my other mistake last evening. My basil and Malabar spinach had already succumbed to the cold, so I ran around tending to the peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. Since the eggplants and tomatoes have been abundant this year and I have already frozen lots of them, I first concentrated on the peppers. I picked the large ones (some of which were turning reddish!) and covered those not ready to eat with burlap. I will cut up and freeze those that I don't think we can eat "fresh," having been stored in the refrigerator.
I then harvested enough eggplant for tomorrow's dinner and Monday's, and perhaps a few more. I wonder whether they can be eaten after spending a night frozen. I have tonight to decide whether I'll pick all the rest tomorrow -- and all day to do it if I decide to do so.
Earlier yesterday I looked at my brown tomato PLANTS, and thought that the tomatoes would be just as healthy inside -- and less vulnerable. So I had started picking during the day. I picked more in the evening, and will pick more tomorrow. I have put green ones in a box, separating them all with black and white newspaper. It's been years since I've had enough late tomatoes to hope some will still be ripening during the holidays, and I hadn't realized how much color has taken over newspapers since. I suspect that color wrappings for tomatoes is less healthy than black and white, so we've scrounged around for the old-fashioned type. The ones that have turned slightly red are abundant on my kitchen counter.
I picked a bouquet of annual flowers this afternoon, and will pick another tomorrow. I'm happy to report my first bulb is blooming, so we don't anticipate the end of flowers for the winter. But that's the topic of another email (as one of you requested)!


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