Wednesday, August 31, 2016


These are our tomatoes. We have one bush -- which I'm told by a British friend I must call a "tomAHto plAHnt," and not a "tomAYto bush" in my American way. It's growing in a big pot on the patio. We were optimistic about this bush because it set several clusters of fruit and seems vibrant, and, well, bushy. We've had no signs of blight or yellowing or anything like that.

But we're a bit concerned because the fruit isn't ripening. Day after day, week after week, it's still hard and green. We water it like crazy, but overall the summer temperatures have been fairly cool, and that seems to have slowed our tomAHto development. Supposedly we're going to have a warm week and I hope that pushes them over the edge.

And these are our blackberries, or were when I took this picture on Aug. 24 -- they don't look this good anymore. They're fading, coming to the end of their season. Most of these black ones I ate, though I left some for birds.

I met an old friend, Greg, for lunch yesterday near Baker Street. I haven't seen him for at least ten years. We worked together about 20 years ago at a newspaper in Florida, and it was good to see him and catch up on his life in Oregon, where he lives now. He says Portland is a strange town -- the TV show "Portlandia" come to life. People with unusual facial hair riding unicycles to work -- that kind of thing. You can buy "scented toast" at restaurants. Esoteric! I had fancy mac n' cheese for lunch, which seemed a bit hipsterish, in the spirit of the conversation.

I'm rethinking my decision not to continue my French classes. I still have time to sign up, and I think I may do so. The thing is, once you've invested time and money in learning a language, you don't want to lose it -- so you're on the hook for more lessons. I promise I won't complain if I re-enroll! (Well, not too much.)


  1. Down 'ere the requirements for growing tomatoes (you say tomayto and I say tomahto) are warm temperatures and somewhere I'm sure I learned that overnight temperatures need to be above 20C.

    As for "scented" toast - spare me!

    Hmmm, you might continue with French lesson? Yes, it would be a pity to write off all the blood, sweat and tears you have already put into the effort so far. Just do it, sign up again.


  2. If you grow tomatoes next year, check out if it is an outdoor variety or grow the tomatoes under glass. If this year's tomatoes do not ripen try making a jar or two of green tomato chutney. I provide these tips free of charge.

  3. Yep. Probably the lack of heat for those tomatoes. Dang it!
    I LIKE scented toast. That is, toast which smells of toast. Maybe also some butter and/or cinnamon sugar. Unusual facial hair amuses me and I do not mind it.
    I'm glad you got to see your friend. And if taking French makes you happy, then do it!

  4. Cut down on the water and the tomAHtoes may think it's the end and ripen. Keep up with the french. I know it takes time when you least have it.

  5. Some particularly cool summers here produce nothing but little green hard tomatoes, This year it has been warm, dry and sunny, folks don't know what to do with the abundance of fruit! Mr. Yorkshire Pudding is on to something, though we use plastic bottles instead of glass for each plant, and the chutney is SO worthy!
    My son , @ burning man frying his skin off at the moment, has become Portlandized, The guy who would never have a tattoo now has three major ones, a weird haircut, sometimes purple, now white, dresses Portlandish, all from Goodwill- so yes, Portland is odd and extremely expensive.BUT, I do love going there!It's its own thing!

  6. Where I grew up in Illinois, tomatoes grew almost like weeds. My grandmother had a huge garden with lots of tomatoes and oh how wonderful they tasted. When I was a kid I'd get some Roman Meal bread, spread a little butter on it, some thick slices of tomato a little salt and pepper and that's it. A tomato sandwich....and I wish I could do that now but tomatoes just don't taste like they did back then. I'd pay big money for a sandwich like that if it tasted exactly like it did in my youth.

  7. It's too hot and humid here for good tomatoes. Isn't that always the way? Always too much or too little of this or that. Everyone's tomato plants have succumbed to the heat by this time of year. I wish you luck on the ripening of yours!

  8. my rx: re-enroll and complain all you want, but visit france often.

  9. This is why I don't garden! Nothing ever grows for me the way it should. So we have the plahnts that thrive in the conditions we hahve and thaht's thaht :)

  10. We had the same problem with our tomatoes a couple of years ago. Mike ended up picking them when they got big enough & then laying them out in the sun each day (our garden was in partial shade a lot). That worked pretty well.