Makin’ bacon, the first BLT sandwiches of the season

There is nothing like the first BLT of the season made with homegrown tomatoes. Among the veggies in our garden this year, the Early Girl, Mr. Stripey, Cherokee Purple, Beefmaster and Roma tomatoes are the most welcome. Our spring and summer have been unseasonably cool, and tomatoes like hot days and warm nights. They do their magic during those warm nights. We’ve had an abundance of rain this season, though, so much that I’ve only watered our veggies and flowers a handful of times the whole season! This week, the tomatoes finally began to ripen.

Last night and today, BLT’s have been dinner, along with chunks of a particularly succulent and sweet seedless watermelon.The results were, well…Just take Emma’s word for it.

Picture of dog panting and drooling for BLT sandwich

Yeah, baby! It is time for fresh tomatoes plain or with Tzatziki Sauce (we get ours from GFS, Gordon Food Services), a splash of balsamic vinegar, light Italian dressing, or served up on sandwiches. Miracle Whip is our condiment of choice for the latter.

I cooked the bacon in the microwave the second time around, because it is less messy and the grease is absorbed as it cooks. Just layer a few paper towels on a plate, arrange slices of bacon side-by-side on the plate (no overlapping) and cover with another few sheets of paper towels. Cook on high for 4-6 minutes and let cool a bit. If your microwave doesn’t have a turntable, you will probably need to turn the plate part way through to make sure it cooks evenly.

There are also some great microwave bacon cooker kitchen gadgets if you want to save on paper towels and lessen the amount of bacon grease you consume. Nordic Ware makes one that’s both a bacon cooker and meat grill. There’s also The Original Makin’ Bacon Microwave Bacon Rack, which suspends the bacon during cooking, letting the grease drip down into a reservoir below. I’d like that one myself, since it lets you cook more pieces at a time, certainly more than I could using a plate and paper towels.

What’s your favorite thing to do with an abundance of fresh garden produce, especially tomatoes? We are going to have a BUNCH of Roma tomatoes coming ripe at once and I want to use them up. I don’t know if I want to bother with canning, but I might try it. It would be good to make some tomato sauces for later. Hmmmmmm. At least it’s been a cooler summer so canning wouldn’t be so doggoned hot. I thought about setting up a hotplate out under our gazebo and putting my big Ball 21-quart waterbath canner out there so it won’t heat up the house.

Ohio garden in the winter

Here are a couple of photos of our snowy, cold garden pond and yard, taken this morning at about 9:15AM. Yay, sunshine! It is bitterly cold, but we have had sunny days this week. That’s been wonderful, a break from winter’s normally grey and dismal days. These shots were both taken using the Snow setting in the Camera ZOOM fx app on my Samsung Note II.

Winter garden and pond

Winter garden and pond with ornamental grasses

 

If you have winter photos of your garden, post a link in the comments below so others can check them out!

Back-in parking spaces in Dayton, Ohio

I was in Dayton a few weeks ago and saw these back-in parking spaces. I’ve seen pull-through spaces around the courthouse square in Newark, Ohio before (and in other towns), but never ones where you back into them. Are these common?

back-in parking spaces in Dayton, Ohio

I can see where they allow more parking than parallel spaces. They probably don’t cause any more traffic backups than parallel spaces do when people are maneuvering their cars into them, either.

Confused crab spider

Spiders are cool. Take the crab spiders of Ohio, for instance (Thomisidae). They’re intriguing little guys. They’re not web weavers, these spiders. They’re passive hunters, masters of disguise. Stealthy little critters, they change color similar to chameleon lizards and blend in with their surroundings, then lie still and wait their prey to scuttle or alight nearby.

Then, when their meal is within striking distance, they pounce! They can take down prey several times larger than themselves, big insects like bees and wasps are common snacks.

A little while ago, I glanced down at the Fiberglas table next to me in the gazebo and spied a crab spider hanging on the side. Seeing how it was sporting its yellow camouflage to match it, I had to laugh. I suppose she might have found a meal there, but I still shuffled her onto a piece of paper and deposited her in the mulch by the plants. You can see her better there.

example of crab spider with yellow camouflage

The pictures were taken with my camera phone, so they’re not very good quality. I haven’t identified which specific crab spider this is, and likely won’t. I just wanted to grab some quick pictures of the spider to share.

Here’s another photo I took of one some time ago. This one was hiding beneath the bloom on one of my coneflowers (echinacea purpurea).

crabspider-bee

I love spiders, as long as they’re not crawling on me.

Bacon, Ohio? Awesome!

Until I was looking at the local weather radar just now to glimpse the thunderstorm heading through our area, I never knew there was a Bacon, Ohio.

BACON.

Bacon, Ohio south of Coshocton. Who knew?

With a name like Bacon, it has to be good.

How awesome is that? With a name like Bacon, it has to be a nice town. It’s a tiny town on 541, in between Coshocton and Plainfield. It’s a place so small, there’s not even a Wikipedia entry for it.

I must go there.

On another note, I thought it amusing to read this headline on the Newark Advocate’s website this morning: Severe weather training canceled for weather reasons.

Screenprint from Newark Advocate's mobile site

Oh, how I love good headlines like that!