Friday, June 26, 2009

Miscarriage - the word seems so neutral

The Kolz family mourns the loss of our baby due this winter. Today's routine ultrasound showed the fetus passed away last week. Please pray for us as we wait for a miscarriage to begin and mourn the baby we expected with such joy.

I have never felt such abject shock.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1000 pounds of Beef or 100 pounds of Goat

The day after our fateful evening before the goat court proved fraught with a little tension. I was greeted by 9:30 a.m. by two neighbors who had been to the village offices to procure further information after the village meeting last night. They offered their support, and reported their morning experience in the office.

Two requested copies of the 1965 village rules that duly permit necessary farm animals. An additional two neighbors requested permits for their "livestock" which primarily are ... wait for it... small rabbits. Those cute fluffy bunnies in their small rabbit hutch are hardly in the same category as a manure accumulating 2000 lbs. horse. Imagine the impact of a couple of rabbits in a coop in a lot as big as football field. Or.. where do you keep the rabbits? I can't see them. Oh - are those the rabbits in that hutch out back by the willow tree?

I put into writing a request for either a permit for my barn to be occupied by two dairy goats, or for two goat permits, whichever they prefer. I offered to pay $5 for an annual permit. Of course, I asked for copies or to view the permit of the sheep farm that contains eleven sheep within the village limits. I just want one like they have.

I believe our town trustees need input that aids in drafting a more reasonable, modern approach to animal zoning. To that end I'm putting together some zoning ordinances that work in other areas, including New York City, Seattle, and Denver, Colorado. My proposed ordinance for the village will include reclassifying female sheep, goats, and neutered goats and sheep, miniature horses, miniature cattle of specified sizes, as small animals (under 150 lbs) rather than livestock on the order of a 800 lbs. or larger cow.

A village neighbor has a Harlequin Great Dane, a magnificent, beautiful dog who is great with children. He's also over 120 lbs. His bark, while seldom heard, is quite loud and intimidating, and he has been known to be the killer of another neighbor's pet ferret. He was not turned in to animal control, out of compassion for the children who own him. Yet, we have laws more restrictive of two sweet faced dairy goats who would rather munch on rose bushes than bite anyone, even provoked. Countless larger dogs, usually the popular labrador mixes, are seen escaped from their village yards, and send the neighbor's outdoor cats up trees for safety.

I'm disbelieving that dairy goats need more restriction than labradors, especially since my alpine goats have never retrieved the neighbor's pet rabbit and dropped it at my feet. Don't misunderstand, I grew up with labradors, and I own two dogs myself.

This is why we have the underground fencing system, because left to his own devices Speed Racer would suffer the fate of Wiley Coyote, without the magical ressurrection effects of animation.

Speed Racer is a pretty good traveler, and a sweet ambassador of canine friendliness, so he attended the children's soccer game last night. Other dogs are usually in attendance. Biscuits, a miniature dachshund was present on Monday night which prompted my children to bring Speedy last night. He lapped up the affection along with bowls of water in the sunshine.

Coincidentally our 7 year old kids' soccer team played the team our village mayor's daughter is on. I saw him and his family on the far end of the soccer field, and thought I should go over and shake his hand after we sparred across the village trustee table the day before. But frankly, I'm pregnant, it was over 80* and I was coaching, which involves much trotting up and down the soccer field, and I just didn't get over there.

The yellow shirted team we played averaged 6 inches taller than my team, which caught the eyes of my team parents. I explained that just by luck of the distribution of children, that team contained more second graders than first graders, and even a few early birthdayed third graders. And then if you add in our two developmentally disabled boys on our team of 9, we end up with slower, shorter, less coordinated children on our team. And I don't mind it one bit! We have great fun at our practices and all of the children who have tried soccer this year for the very first time are having positive experiences and indicate a wish to play again next year.

My husband, a typical protective husband, both carries the heavy net bag of a dozen soccer balls, and made a humorous but snarky comment about the opposing team as we saw their towering stature compared to our wee little team. "Seems the mayor's team is stacked against us here too".

We don't keep score, I reminded him. Not in soccer, not in the barn. Well, maybe just a chalk mark on the barn wall where the goats can read it: Goats 1 - Mayor of Rushville o.
Just a tiny little victory dance on behalf of my children who avoid the painful consequences of cow's milk for their digestion. For one more month, or one more year.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Save the goats! Save my Children!

A concerned neighbor approached my husband tonight. He brought with him a law numbered 5-2009. Our village, upon discovering we have no livestock laws, has issued a moratorium on permits for livestock. I wondered why. The neighbor wants to help. He gave me all the paperwork from the last, closed door, village trustee meeting.

I have a herd of 2 dairy goats, which provide milk for my family, my parents, and an additional 5 gallons of milk that is distributed to needy families by the food pantry that operates around the corner from us. This is a small village - 600.

I called my favorite village board trustee who informed me that a complaint has been lodged by a 'neighbor' about my goats. I'm quite surprised. I have really great neighbors, and the goats stay in the barn. They're quite happy with their feed of goat chow and hay and all the snacks (weeds and produce) the neighbors pick out of their garden for them. It's the neighbors I have to keep out of the goats, ha ha, not the goats out of the neighbors space. The barn is a magnet- but that's okay.

Goats aren't particularly smelly. We only have females, so there's no stinky rut cycle from a buck. They're not particularly noisy - they will call to the people who are out in their gardens and beg through the window of the barn for treats. And they do have their favorite people - like the adult neighbor ladies who live next door. These are my neighbors who put in a row of burdock because the goats really like it. Burdock is a weed, by the way. So clearly, it is not them.
I called several village trustees I'm acquainted with and urged them to consider compassion and wisdom as they discussed and voted. These economic times are challenging in the Northeast, and more gardens than ever are being dug and planted. More people are relying on their own industry and thrift, than ever.

Now is not the time in a small NY farm village, to limit the contents of one's barn and one's ability to feed their own family. Not to mention.. who is going to buy the large amount of specialty milk my family would require with our caseine and lactose intolerance problem? Should the village be able to limit, for no good reason, my children's access to safe food and drink?

They may be messing with the wrong mama. I will go door to door and campaign for my goats, the people's right to raise food for their own family without interference, and maybe it may help that my own mother is on the village planning board.  I doubt it, frankly, because she hadn't heard of the law when I approached Mom. I'm not sure who has juridstiction here.

It's not like the neighbor two doors down and their friendly labrador/poodle mix who they cannot keep on a leash. It's not like my goats go in their barn and bother them. And yet I have sweetly returned their pooprador home from my barn at least a dozen times without complaint, instead of calling the dog catcher (if we have one). Because Curly is a nice dog, and it's not his fault his parents just open the door and let him out to turn over people's trash cans and poke his head in my barn.

The next village board meeting is July 18. I'll have to skip soccer practice to rally the board in support of my goats. In the meantime, I am mentioning this to every family who drinks my goats milk, and to every friend of my goats, and every parent who loves their children and would do anything to help them grow up safely without diarrheal disease and other misery from drinking something harmful for them. Please consider calling my village hall in support of our goats.

As I asked the village board member tonight. What would you have me give my children for breakfast tomorrow if the village votes my goats out of the barn? Do you know of any place in the three county area which sells goat milk by the gallon? I cannot buy 1/2 pint cans of goats milk for $2.99. I urged the board members to act with compassion and wisdom, because my goats are no threat to the natural resources or happiness of my neighbors. But they are necessary for the welfare of my children.

If you read this, I encourage you to call, between the hours of 9a.m to 4p.m. Monday through Friday, and leave a message with the village clerk or leave a note for the village mayor of Rushville. The phone number is (585) 554-3415. Please call in support of Mrs. Kolz' dairy goats for her children. The goats live in a barn, and provide milk for the children, manure for the neighborhood gardens which supply families and the food pantry, and also provide free milk for needy families. And please be polite, this is a small, country village and we're polite. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tangy Key Lime Bars on a Sweet Butter Cookie Crust

My friend Lisa had to go and talk about her home away from home in Florida. Oh yea, that's all it took for me to start thinking of Key Lime Pie, but I just couldn't work myself up to making pastry crust, and well that's how new recipes are built. I didn't want a typical graham cracker crust - so try the butter cookie crust that I adapted from the Neely's. My filling is better!

Tangy Key Lime Bars on a sweet butter cookie crust

Sweet butter cookie crust
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch kosher salt

Tangy Key Lime Filling
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lime zest
• 2/3 of a cup of fresh squeezed lime juice (about 23 tiny key limes or 2/3 cup of regular Persian lime juice from the larger Persian limes
• 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crust, combine the butter and confectioner sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt, and mix another minute, until well combined.

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and pat out to an even thickness over the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 20 minutes until it is just barely taking on color. It will be baked more later. Remove from the oven, and cool on a baking rack.

To make the Tangy Key Lime filling, whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together until the yolks have increased in volume and become thick and creamy looking, then add condensed milk and stir together until fully incorporated. Add key lime juice and mix well. Ok, you can do this with an electric mixer if you insist. But better biceps aren't just born ya know.

Carefully pour mixture onto cooled crust, smooth surface and bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. When completely cool, refrigerate until ready to serve. We're talking four hours, for complete cooling and the filling setting up firmly.

You can serve each bar with a thin slice of lime if you'd like. Or a dollop of sweet whipped cream.

Pardon me while I go walk off my key lime bars.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Grey Duct Tape with Turquoise Uniforms

As the mother of a future six children, with Speck due in January, I feel such pangs of responsibility when soccer signups are passed around. I manage to stifle them most of the time. I almost always do.

I dutifully fill out four forms in 3 age groups and with a small inaudible whimper write out a check for soccer fees.  Then I ponder who has outgrown their cleats, shin guards, and soccer socks from last year. After that little task is sorted out, I begin praying that the teams will not have soccer practice all on the same night, on different fields.

Last year we were at the soccer fields Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings.  On the 100* days, I felt trapped in a humid purgatory, but on days with lovely weather, it was enjoyable to have an hour or two to sit outside and enjoy a little down time. Half- frozen Crystal Light, melting in my bottle, always supplying me with a fresh blast of chill... a Reader's Digest Condensed Books volume of 5 novels in my hand, a comfortable chair.  And lots of children to play with my irresistible toddler who wanted entertaining.  Who could ask for more on a sunny summer day?

Despite my strong powers of resistance to the requests for parents to sign up for coaching soccer, I powered through those application forms for all the children. But they got me, got me I tell you, when they sent email pleas for coaches for both my 7 and 9 year old daughter's teams.

I might have volunteered my husband, were I quicker on my feet. But that would end any chances of having ice cold Crystal Light brought to me.  And I'm pregnant.  In the summer.

So I took the only avenue available to me.  I volunteered myself as coach, as long as it was the youngest group available (they're less critical), and that it was my daughter's team.  Imagine, I might have accidentally signed myself up for the one night my children had off of soccer. That wouldn't do.

As a postscript, I told the soccer director that my husband would assist me.  When your husband jumps to the erroneous conclusion that he's coaching, alone, the older children's soccer team, he quickly is relieved to find out he's assisting for the 7 year old's team. Whew. He took that well.  He usually does.  And he did volunteer to coach 3rd and 4th grade basketball a few years ago, when in fact they called me on the telephone to discuss my team with me. He assumed they were calling for him and that I volunteered him.

We received the team uniforms recently. They should be a turquoise blue hit with the kids tonight.  They have white shoulders with black designs on them. Very cool looking for 7 year olds. Black drawstring soccer shorts and matching turquoise soccer socks rounds out the uniforms.  Nice. The kids will like them.

Somehow we ended up with 9 boys and 2 girls on our team. It's a nice mix, although a little light on estrogen.  But I really like playing soccer with a bunch of little kids, so this is going to be fun! We have such a variety of players on our team which warmed my heart.  We have a chubby boy with developmental disabilities who has such tremendous enthusiasm and just loves that he gets to play soccer for the first time this year.  We have a sweet, shy, blonde haired boy who has never played soccer before and is the first I've seen to fall all over himself, but I think he's coming back for more. We have several little David Beckham wannabees who keep telling me that they've been playing since they were 5, and now they're almost 9. But they still laugh and squeal as we play my version of Soccer monster with one of my 11 year old sons playing the attack monster, trying to steal their soccer ball. We have one tall soccer loving girl, and one tiny little pixie of a soccer playing girl (mine), and it's a good mix.  I just need to work on my crowd control techniques a little better. My husband, I may have mentioned, is hearing impaired and wears at least one hearing aid daily. So convenient to turn those puppies off!

There is one boy with a hyphenated first name (a testimony that his mother is indecisive?) who will not be quiet. Ever. Jonathan-Michael might entice me to bring duct tape so we can get through the game without me pointing to the time out bench. Just kidding.  But really, he talks as much as all six of my children. I know the one in the womb has things to say, I can just tell he has opinions on the Thai sweet chile garlic sauce I've been dowsing my food with. More. That must be it. But truly, I have to get Jonathan-Michael to be quiet so we can give directions to the team. Repeatedly.  I didn't find my whistle until after Tuesday's practice.

Besides having a great time playing soccer at my appropriate skill level, 2nd grade, I'm getting good exercise running up and down the field, and appreciating my own children a wee bit more. I mean, I knew they were usually good children, but the peace and quiet of only 5 children in the car on the way home makes me realize I don't have a child named Jonathan-Michael in my family.

Bring on the bruises! Bring on the gatorade.  Bring on the popsicles of defeat and the popsicles of victory. It's soccer season!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bulls Eye

Some days I think cats were put here, on the earth, to amuse me. The neighbor's cat, Kitty Boy, is a strikingly handsome black and white tuxedo cat. He's neutered, but because of his propensity to spraying indoors, has been somewhat banished to the out of doors.

He's a sweet natured cat, often seen being petted by the neighbor children from either side of his home. That's five at my house, alone. It's quite a life for him.

You may recall he loves to luxuriously stroll up and down the underground wire that will trigger a static bzzt in my two little dogs wearing their receiver collars if they fall for his lure. Kitty Boy often provokes barking from the little guys as he wanders over to our yard and waggles his lush tail at the dogs. Then retreats an inch, and lays rolling in the grass, taunting them. The dogs did once get a second of revenge, as documented in my blog here but it was shortlived.

Recently I saw Kitty Boy get a little justice, animal style.

It caught my eye out the window.  Kitty Boy was stalking a squirrel with a fat fluffy grey tail. Imagine how alluring that was to a cat. The squirrel was determined to get his big walnut up to a nest in the tale maple tree, soshe  ignored him and quickly scurried.  Kitty Boy took this as a sign of weekness, and began climbing the tree after the squirrel.  Apparently Mama Squirrel tossed that walnut in her nest, I imagine, right into Papa Squirrel's paws, and ran down the tree to slap Kitty Boy silly.

Kitty Boy was stretched up as high as his rear legs would reach him and was suddenly greeted with a face down, hissing snarling version of a squirrel. Mama Squirrel shook her tail in a fury and thumped her feet in a rage scaring Kitty Boy off the tree.

Higher up the grand old maple tree a bold blue jay had just about had enough.

As Kitty Boy retreated, he was goosed in the rear by a dive bombing blue jay who flew off with a bit of fur in his beak.

Poor Kitty Boy, he just can't catch a break. I think I heard the dogs laughing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We planted new potatoes, baby peas and the sweetest of tiny little cherry tomatoes to herald the gestation of.. Baby Kolz #6. Baby Kolz is due towards the end of January, right about the time of the late Grandpa Kolz birthday - January 23. We're so excited to have a sweet new baby to join our family. I feel great, energetic and healthy. On occasion I've barfed after a delay in eating, or right after beginning to eat a meal that wasn't quick enough. I recover quickly and finish my meal. But other than that, I'm hale and hearty, and thinking maybe #7 is doable too. Just not at the same time. I may be singing a different tune after the delivery, but for today, 7 children doesn't seem so very impossible.

With our current sibling tally of 3 girls and 2 boys, the children have officially voted that this one should be a boy to even teams, of course. Our current ages are Mom & Dad (abstained) , two 11 year old boys, nine year old girl, seven year old girl, and a three year old girl.

On the way to church yesterday the children were discussing what we should name a girl. Danielle was toyed with, but I reminded them that we have a pattern going for girls names, so it should end with an a sound, like Sarah, Merina, and Emma. They each have Elizabeth as their middle names. Sarah and Merina were discovered to share that middle name when FarmBoy and I married. When Emma came along a year later we decided to continue the pretty trend.

Gerard, from the backseat, pipes up with, I know what goes with Sarah, Merina and Emma. Tortilla. Tortilla?!?

I've heard it all now. Tortilla Elizabeth. Does that come with guacamole on the side?

Speaking of food. Pregnancy has had a funny effect on me. I'm fascinated by food and recipes, even more than usual. I'm looking forward to trying several new recipes this week, including Brown Trout Au Gratin, Green beans in green coconut curry, and Maui Turkey Burgers with grilled pineapple.  We will also be eating Upstate NY BBQ chicken, and salt potatoes, recipes posted last week. Clearly I don't suffer from heartburn induced by food, nor hypertension issues.

I think my varied menus while pregnant debunk any connections between what you eat and appearance of the baby. My former mother in law reported that her son had dark brown eyes from her habit of eating a can of olives regularly through her pregnancy. I was quite relieved to see that none of my children resembled pickled vegetables with lean turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Nor tortilla chips and fresh chopped pico de gallo salsa.

If you've been pregnant, what kinds of food did you find yourself gravitating toward?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Salt Rocks!

One of the best things about Upstate New York is my husband. He loves Chicken BBQ by the way. The ubiquitous accompaniement to the popular Upstate New York BBQ is the salt potato. They're non-descript in appearance, but don't let that fool you. Here in the Finger Lakes Region we can find cleverly pre-packaged 'salt potato' bags in the produce section next to the baking potatoes, but you can reproduce this at your home, regardless of where you live. Salt potatoes, it turns out, are a regional specialty in the Central New York area, specifically Syracuse - about an hour from here.

Syracuse is famous for its salt mines and is today home to the Salt Museum, which tells the story of the salt potato:

"In the 1700s & 1800s, perhaps even earlier, this Salt plant produced almost all of the nations salt. Add the salt production to the Erie Canal and you can see what a prosperous location Syracuse was during that time. Water taken from the Onondaga Lake was boiled down, or set out in the sun for evaporation in huge bowls. As most of the workers were Irish they brought along their potatoes for their meals and would place the potatoes in the boiling vats to cook giving you the famous salt potatoes. Syracuse is well known for its salt potatoes to this day! (Nowadays all they are, are very small potatoes boiled whole with the skins on in very salty water. 4 lbs potatoes to 1 lb of salt). Eat these dipped in melted butter and you have a great treat. By the 1870s this way of making salt was obsolete and the factory folded. "

Reportedly Hinderwadel's, a local company, began hosting big company clambakes, and helped salt potatoes catch on in the 1930s, long after the original Irish workers had long been out of work. Nowadays, you can boil 4 lbs. of new potatoes in a big pot of water with 1 cup of salt, and not have to haul Onondaga lake water. You can substitute little red potatoes, the taste is a little creamier, and you'll be delighted.

Salt potatoes are really great just drizzled with butter, in a bowl, eaten with your fingers. Ask my children, after I pass them a napkin. And while it is a large quantity of salt, the potatoes taste merely well seasoned, and not overly salty. Try them. They're really good alongside a clambake, bbq chicken, or anything you grill.

So let's go put on a big pot of water, sort through the new potatoes, and put on an Upstate New York treat for dinner.

Upstate New York Salt Potatoes

4 lbs. new potatoes (larger than fingerlings, smaller than a fist, sometimes called creamers)
About 5 quarts of water
1 cup of salt, iodized or not, kosher, whatever you have
A big stockpot.

Wash your potatoes, picking out any with bad spots. Put your potatoes in the pot, and cover with water, plus an inch. Pour 1 cup of salt over the top, and put the lid on the pot. Set on high heat. When it comes to a boil, turn to med. high and cook for approximately 25 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender, but not split.

Drain the potatoes, and add 1/2 cup of butter or margarine. These are typically dished up into a bowl, and the eaters spear them with a fork or eat them with their fingers at a bbq. Serves 8 adults and a couple of children.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about them. You have to try small potatoes this way. Leftovers make good fried potatoes at breakfast the next morning. Just don't add extra salt when you fry them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken BBQ - No Hickory, No Tomato Sauce, All Yum!

Upstate New York has a phenomenal barbecue tradition that is both delightful and mysterious and fascinating to me.  It's as if the dawn of spring brings out Chicken BBQ signs, like little dandelions, popping up in the most unexpected places.

Church parking lots, high school fundraisers, fire stations, corner lots, even well-established restaurants put up signs touting Chicken BBQ Saturday 10 a.m. until sold out.

If all those signs advertising chicken bbq don't get your mouth drooling, you might not have the same BBQ gene I have.
Cornell University's Professor Baker invented this Cornell BBQ Sauce to help chicken farmers. The chicken with a college background! As a home and public schooling mom, I'm on the side of education.

This account is based on information posted by Wally Day in
"Cornell-style barbecue chicken, sometimes referred to as "State Fair chicken," traces its origins to a Cornell University professor of animal science, Dr. Robert C. Baker. Baker's original purpose was not necessarily to create a culinary delight, but to simply help New York poultry farmers sell more birds.

In the first half of the 20th Century, chickens were raised primarily as a source of eggs, and often they were not slaugthered until they reach a dressed weight of 4 or 5 pounds. Birds of this size were considered "fryers," any bird larger than this was a "roaster." Dr. Baker reasoned that if a market could be developed for a bird with a dressed weight of 2 3/4 to 3 pounds, poultry farmers could send their birds to market sooner, increasing their turnover. Thus the "broiler" with an optimum weight of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds per half.

For Dr. Baker's scheme of sending chickens to slaughter sooner to work, he needed to come up with a use for the smaller birds. The chicken barbecue filled the bill nicely. All that was needed was a tasty barbecue sauce recipe"

Without further delay, try this!

Cornell University Chicken Barbecue aka
New York State Fair Chicken

In a bowl or blender container, mix

2 cups of vinegar, cider or white vinegar or other (not sweet balsamic)
1 cup of a neutral flavored vegetable oil (not extra virgin olive please)
1 egg
1-3 Tablespoons salt (We always use the 3 T, but for salt sensitive, you may use less) Try it first with 3.
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Saving one cup in a 1/2 pint jar with a lid, I pour the rest of the marinade over split chicken quarters.  For the unfamiliar, these are the thigh/leg combo, or the split breast/wing combo.  It's frugal, because chicken hind quarters, the leg/thigh combo, are currently selling for about .89/lbs or less at Walmart Supercenters.   For best results, let the chicken soak for 24 hours to get that deep to the bone marinated taste. The salt and the vinegar combine to make for one seriously moist chicken piece.  It's finger linking for sure!

BBQ, grill, or bake this chicken slowly, over indirect heat, to avoid flare-ups.  In other words, keep the coals low, and the temperature med. low, or the grill rack raised higher, to avoid the chicken burning before it is cooked through.  It takes me about 35 minutes on my gas grill, turning the chicken every 8 minutes.  You can use large boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, but be sure to only marinate it for 12 hours.  The marinade will otherwise chemically cook the chicken breast, turning them white, from the enzymes in the vinegar interacting with the protein in the chicken.

Upstate New York Chicken BBQ's are usually accompanied by boiled salt potatoes with melted butter, coleslaw with mayonnaise dressing, and a roll. If you're really lucky, there's fresh corn on the cob too! 

Later - we'll talk Salt Potatoes.  I'm just saying... this may be the way to get your children to eat a vegetable, straight out of the pot, with their fingers, as fast as they can. Even before you add the butter.

Tomatoes, Tomahtoes. Green Stripey Ones!

Memorial Day, after three counts to confirm, we tallied 88 tomato plants in our garden. After a typical Upstate New York chicken barbecue, FarmBoy and my Dad headed out to Natureberry farm where they were given free plants, seconds if you will, that could not be sold due to some relatively minor frostbite.

You can't not adopt a homeless, frost-touched plant start - it's unAmerican!  So FarmBoy brought oodles of plants home. A dozen went to a Mennonite family who saw their own covered plants frost killed and were delighted to see replacements. Others went to villagers in our neighborhood who had bare spots in their gardens.

We now have over 145 planted tomato plants in more varieties than I could ever name. They came in green zebra, black, brown, purple, red, pink, yellow, orange, as well as currant, grape, cherry, plum, and beefsteak sized tomatoes.  I'm most excited to see the currant sized tomatoes for the first time.

My 9 year old Sarah absolutely loves the green zebra tomato. 
These are actually a little on the overripe side, with the yellowing, but are even better at a stone cold green. They have a slightly more complex flavor, like a ketchup spice flavor, rather than just plain tomato. Sarah claims it's the only tomato she likes.  Bring on the bacon, I'm going to have lots of tomatoes for salads and sandwiches.  And canning sassy salsa, and lots of paste tomatoes for bottling for sauce, freshly made on the stove. 

In fact, I think I'll go to my Mennonite friend Mrs. Stauffer's farm stand.  She's located on Ferguson Corner's road if you're local here in New York. She has hothouse tomatoes ready now, and I think I need a bacon tomato sandwich for lunch. Immediately. More on the why on Friday.