Where In The World Is The Tomato Lady? Air Force Academy (In The Afternoon)

I never cease to amaze me. The things that I think are going to be boring, really aren’t. Like the Fight Museum in Seattle. Or the Custer Battlefield. After Pike’s Peak, we went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. It was beautiful. It sits on 18,000 acres at the base of the mountains and was established in 1954.



One of the coolest things I learned was that they still teach falconry there. I guess you could call them the originals drones!Image


The Chapel is what I really came ot see. Everyone said it was stunning inside. Unfortunately, they were having a wedding so we weren’t allowed on the top floor. It is a most unusual looking building with 17 spires.

chapel-large chapel-1

We were allowed to see the downstairs portion where they have a Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist worship center. This picture is of the floor by the Synagogue which is composed of real stones from Jerusalem.


This next picture is of the a Holocaust Torah


Here’s a shot of some new cadets, 2 days off the boat learning to march.af-incoming-students

This is picture of the 911 Memorial. It is a piece of the girder from one of the towers. It was very moving.



This for all of you who know jets. Can you name what kind these are what they were used for?

jet-3 jet-2



Does This Remind You Of Summer?


Does This Remind You Of Summer?

Baby, it’s cold out there. In my neck of the woods it is 22 degrees and there is frost everywhere. I was perusing my pictures and found this one and it made remember the dog days of summer when it was so, so hot. Let me see if I can remember which ones these were, from top right, Nebraska Wedding, Cougar Red, Willamette, Fiorentino, Glacier, Oaxacan, Blush and Honeybunch. The red ones are harder to identify

Saturday, May 25 Long Day

I went to Crystal River today, It’s up a few miles from Homossassa Springs, the home of the manatees. Actually, manatees live all over the gulf coast but there seems to be a greater proliferation of them there. There is a nice wildlife zoo there.

Everything in Florida, at least on the gulf coast seems to centered around water. A lot of the communities are on the canals which spread out like fingers from the gulf. Seafood is a big deal here, so are boats and fishing. The boats here look different than what we had when we owned one. The cab/console is in the middle of the boat, they use them for fishing. Not sure why that is. It’s called a walk around. My friend says that it is because if you have a fish on the hook, you can walk around the boat to keep it from getting tangled up. Of course they have  bigger fish in the ocean.

Another thing they have is a lot real estate that is probably never going to be developed. Keep in mind that I am referring to the gulf coast. Some of it seems impenetrable, not somewhere I’d like to go for stroll. The spanish moss is pretty when it drapes the trees but is filled with chiggers red mites. A lot of the area seem marshy and wet. Plus, it seems to be over run with kudzu and other vines.ImageYou see miles and miles of this as you go down the freeway. Occasionally there are abandoned houses that are slowing disintegrating. It’s pretty, but very flat and the roads, at least the highways are amazingly straight. And well maintained. Gas is $3.48 for regular.

At Crystal springs there are Indian mounds. Apparently they piled huge mounds of shellfish shells. Some of them are pretty tall. I climbed the stairs to the top of the biggest one, it was supposed to have had a temple on top, which is no longer there. ImageIt was a very nice park. I wish I could have taken the boat tour but they don’t have anything on Saturday for tourists. Sigh.

Tomorrow we set out for Georgia.

Friday the 24th (in central Florida)

Another hot day, at least for me. It;s like having a constant hot flash! Today we went to Pine Island beach, at least that’s what I think it’s called. I love all the house on “stilts” actually they are supports that keep them from being flooded when it is stormy. I wonder what happens to their cars. 

The beach was windy which was nice. My friend and I hauled all of our stuff to the beach and spent about 20 minutes trying to put up the umbrella. It hadn’t been used for at least a year but we were gamely trying to figure it out without being blown off the beach with it. It was like a “keystone cops” moment. Finally, a couple guys came over and asked us if we needed help, it took them all of about 5 minutes to have it up and  acting more like a beach umbrella than a parasail! 

My dear husband was pleased to hear that i actually got into the water. I am a statistic waiting to happen, it is known that there are human-eating fish in the ocean and I just know the headline will read, “Woman Eaten by Shark in Florida’s Gulf Coast”. My husband will be sad but I will be able to say “I told you so.” Anyways, i sucked up my courage and walked out into the gulf, avoiding the nasty seaweed, keeping an eye out for the triangular fin cutting through the water, half expecting the Jaws theme music to cue up somewhere. I was surprised at how warm it was, not exactly refreshing but nice. Our lakes in Eastern Washington don’t evenget that warm by the time August rolls around. Ever. It was very shallow and came to my waist by the the time I got out to fifty feet or so from the shore. (It might be more or less, I’m bad with measurements). I will post a picture of me in the water when i get it. It proves I actually did it. And survived.

No sunburn, I was good about that. I think being close to the equator makes it easier to look like a crispy critter in no time. Just some light coloring. will work on that some more tomorrow.

Some interesting names of bars here. Tonight we passed by The Pickled Parrot and the Tailgator’s Sports Bar.

For lunch we ate at Ruby Tuesdays. We don’t have them in Spokane, apparently the closest one to us is in Oregon. Too bad, I loved it. The food was marvelous, fresh veggies as close to naked as possible. None of the fancy sauces and foo foo things like white truffle oil or squid ink or foams that chefs want to dress them up with. All of the salads on the salad bar were made in-house, not taken out of a box (and you know what box I’m talking about). Our server was named Summer and she was fabulous, Kudos to Ruby Tuesday and please, please put one in the Spokane Valley!

Tomorrow is another day. (Hello Coralie, hope you are enjoying this! Miss you.)

Green Grape Tomato


Green Grape Tomato

What can green do for you? Don’t let the color fool you. this is very, very sweet cherry tomato and it bursts in your mouth with a satisfying juiciness. They are ping pong sized and turn a lovely golden green and give to the touch when they are fully ripe. Yum. They look beautiful in a salad with other colored cherry tomatoes such as black cherry, sungold, sweet million, italian ice and the pink sugary.

“Early” Season Tomatoes

In our neck of the woods (Inland Northwest – Spokane and surrounding areas) summer seems to come later and later. Lately, June seems to be more rainy than usual. Last year, I started telling everyone that tomatoes were a fall crop!

I entered several in the fair and by the time it rolled around in the beginning of September, I still didn’t have any large tomatoes to share. I had plenty of cherry tomatoes and some smaller varieties but no prize winners… until two weeks after the fair. Sigh. After that, I had billions of tomatoes to eat and share and can (I put up 75 quarts).

One of the ways we cope with our shorter climate (and I have absolute sympathy for Deer Park gardeners) is to plant “early” tomatoes. One thing I have found is that they aren’t substantially earlier than mid-season tomatoes. As for late season, I always get beautiful crops of those also, probably due to our actual frost date being sometime in later October. Here is some info on early tomatoes.

Early season tomatoes ripen fruit in 55 to 70 days after being transplanted to the garden as 6-8 week old plants.

Because great tomato flavor comes with just the right combination of sugars and acids that are the product of sunlight and photosynthesis, early season tomatoes are often dismissed as less tasty than mid- and late-season tomatoes (which require 80 to more than 100 days to ripen) because they spend fewer days in the sun.

Many “early” tomatoes—which are often smaller and less leafy than later season tomatoes–can flower and set fruit in cool, early-season conditions. Given optimal conditions, early-season tomatoes can produce fruit equally flavorful to the best late-season varieties. I like the pink “Early Wonder”, “Stupice”, “Anna Russian”, and “Subarctic Plenty”. Those are very tasty.

Cherry tomatoes are also earlier than the larger varieties but that is another post.

Anna Russian (open-pollinated). Slicing tomato. Pink-red, heart-shaped, 10 oz. fruits; juicy, excellent sweet flavor. 70 days. Indeterminate.

Early Wonder (open-pollinated). Slicing tomato. Dark-pink skinned to 6 oz.; full flavored. 55 days. Determinate.

Stupice (open-pollinated). Slicing tomato. Red-skinned, small to medium-sized to 4 oz.; sweet, juicy. 50 days. Dwarf determinate, compact. For short-season regions. From Czechoslovakia.

Sub Arctic Plenty (open-pollinated). Slicing tomato. Small, round to 2 oz.; good flavor. 50 days. Determinate. Compact. Sets fruit in cold weather. Those were the last to succumb to the weather and I loved the taste.

In order: Anna Russian, Early Wonder, Subarctic, and Stupice.