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Making Do

The volunteer Sungolds have climbed the espaliered apple trees out front. The plant nearest the sidewalk is dense, with many smallish tomatoes. It reaches through the fence to the side where the toddler lives. She runs there each morning and picks orange tomatoes to eat.

The plant toward the back has bigger fruit and longer, whip-like branches. Denise helps me pick and slice, trying to save as many as possible. We feed them to anyone who will eat them, and still there are more. I think there will be cherry tomatoes until a hard frost. Will I manage to not pull them out before January?

Estimating how much to plant is an art I've not yet mastered. I thought three Principe Borghese plants would keep me in sun-dried tomatoes all year long. Given the vagaries of my irrigation system, I underplanted. I'm trying to keep up with the harvest and preserve as many as I can. I'm already eating them, chopped into quinoa, tossed with pine nuts over pasta, and in salads.

But drying them in the oven isn't resource-wise, and perhaps more importantly, I'm over-crisping them. I'm pretty impatient. There's a book in our local library about building a solar dehydrator that looks pretty interesting. I'd hate to buy an electric one.

In the mean time? I'm making do with the huge solar oven-like thing out front. The dash of the van is good for turning crystallized honey back into pourable liquid, and it's doing a great job on these tomatoes, too.

What passers-by think of it is beyond my knowing. The results have been wonderful.


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