Happy Holiday

THIS is the end. The last long weekend of summer.

Of course if you’re my mother you start saying summer’s almost over before your toes have even built up their flip flop callous. If you were to ask her right now, as a matter of fact, she would probably tell you it’s too late to get a nice pair of fall boots, since it’s almost winter.

She does the same thing with time. If it’s 9:30 in the morning, she says it’s almost noon. And if it’s 2:30 in the afternoon she says it’s almost dinner time. And if it’s 8:00 at night, omg, she has to get to bed, it’s close to midnight and she’s gotta get her rest what with a big snowstorm forecast for … 3 months from now.

And as I sit on the couch, typing out this post late Sunday night, I am actually grinning. Maybe more of a smirk actually. I am over 40 years old and I’m giddy over the fact that I don’t have to get up for the first day of school on Tuesday.



Like most kids, I found school incredibly boring. I didn’t find learning boring. I loved learning. It was school that was boring. Boring as batshit as an old friend of mine would say.

So every September when that very distinct back-to-school feeling is in  the air, I am genuinely excited I don’t have to get on the bus. And the last day of summer, doesn’t have to be spent organizing my binders or worrying about going back to school … for me, the last day of summer will be spent walking through the fields of my community garden allotment, picking bushels of the heirloom paste tomatoes I grew.  30 tomato plants in all.  San Marzanos, Amish Paste, Speckled Romans …   all waiting to be turned into sauce for me to use throughout the winter.  Or spring as my mother calls it.



I’ll bring them home, put some classical or Opera music on and spend the day outside pressing and cooking down my tomatoes for canning. There will be no binders involved.

And guess what? For a bit of end of summer fun, somewhere between mid morning and early afternoon I’ll have The Coop Cam, pointed towards me doing my tomatoes instead of the chickens.

I know.  Fascinating.  But still … it’s better than watching someone get ready to go back to school.


  1. Marti says:

    Do you think our generation missed the “grow up NOW” gene? Maybe we got extra helpings of the “must have homegrown and preserved tomatoes for our homemade pizza” chromosome… is that it?

  2. Natika says:

    I’m going to have to remember to stay up late just to watch you can tomatoes! Do you remove the skins or leave them on?

    I know what you mean about that back to school feeling. My first job out of university, I reveled in not having to go back to school every September for 7 years, but then, silly me, I became a teacher and now it’s worse! LOL

  3. Natika says:

    P.S. I went and read your article on canning tomatoes and now I realise that you don’t keep the skins and seeds. Do you know you can dry them, add salt (and maybe pepper) and stick them in an old salt shaker so you can sprinkle them on things? You could even roast or toast them for more flavour…

  4. TC says:

    Looking forward to the “canning cam.”

  5. Cathy says:

    Ooohhh,, saucy!

  6. CJ says:

    Perfect, gorgeous, amazing way to spend the weekend. We have the first week of Spring here, proper Spring not Winter-Spring. There is sunshine (sunshine!) and I’ve been grinning randomly, dancing to music and just so delighted with everything I feel quite spoilt.

    I have a new recipe book (Love Soup by Anna Thomas)and plans to make batches of vegetable broth for light Spring soups. Simplicity combined with productivity, and not having to do what you’re told, is so underrated.

    Enjoy being, doing and appreciating my dear.

  7. sue says:

    I teach and some of my peers will say that they are ready for the school year to begin. Me? Never, I adore having time off during the summer and do not enjoy getting back in harness. I think one of the reasons I feel as I do is because I echo your feelings; I love learning but school-not so much.
    Don’t want to get on THAT soapbox, but suffice it to say, in my opinion, teachers have TOO many chiefs and not many listen to the Indians. I love the learning and working with the kids, the politics will kill/is killing learning for me.

  8. Susan Dulley says:

    How funny, just knowing that tomorrow does not bring the school bus roaring down the street, for me, is a great feeling. I decided since it is Labor day, that I would create my first Website. I am an avid Thrift and Consignment shopper. No…don’t start thinking, “Hoarder!!!”, I do not hoard. I purchase high quality items in excellent condition and re-sell them. OOOOOhhh, what a novel concept. Anyway, it looks great and I am very happy with the results. I actually have two customers coming today to shop, exciting. Back to the tomatoes, one of my favorite things at this time of year, was helping my mother with the Canning. My grandmother also canned, however, I have to be honest, I have not. Have a beautiful day and revel in the success of your garden. Thanks you for lifting my spirits, each and every day.

  9. Tigersmom says:

    Nice to see I have to budget more time to click on your ads each day.

  10. Sia says:

    Omg. Your mother is mine! Is it something about getting older and thinking that they are running outta time?
    I hope I don’t inherit that…

    • Ellen says:

      Yes! As I’ve become older, time goes much faster, and I have a horrible awareness that I’m not going to live a lot longer – 20 years if all goes well, maybe a bit more. But seeing how fast the last 20 years have gone – I get chills.
      Not to say I run forward with time. I actually hang on backwards – “Hey, it’s only September, still plenty of nice weather left.” But I’m in Ottawa, and that may not be realistic.

  11. Alison says:

    Deep South returned to school almost a month ago. How about that for an end of summer?!? Good thing it’s still over 90 degrees…

    • Karen says:

      I know! When did that start? (kids returning to school in the middle of summer) California went back a while ago too I think. ~ karen!

      • Auntiepatch says:

        School starts in San Diego tomorrow – when we were kids it always started the 2nd week of Sept.

      • alison says:

        My September 6th birthday was always the first week of school growing up. The early start changed about 10 years ago. The kids get out the last Friday in May so there is a balance. No one I’ve met likes the timing of it all. Blah…

    • Sarah In Illinois says:

      Illinois started 3 weeks ago. And I share the excitement that it’s not me going back!

  12. Dagmar says:

    I love the feeling the first day of school has. I love the sounds of busy-ness; the pretty bowed children grinning; the crying ones wailing; and I love to go downtown to walk through the university grounds to soAk in the feeling of having earned my station in life. … Now…I hate that tHe summer is over, and that I will soon be changing my beautiful summer dresses and pretty sparkly heels for boots and puffy jackets. Yuk.

  13. Lynn Noone says:

    That little bit of school nostalgia made me cringe from the memories!
    Bring on the Tomato Cam!
    Oh=oh…it’s Monday, I’d better get busy making my grocery-bag book covers!

  14. I know that feeling except mine is with my kids who have graduated! No more running around in the morning trying to find their books, socks, shoes, permission slips or lunches. No school bus to miss and the big one…YAY no more homework!! Now I just miss them 🙁

  15. Kim says:

    Turn the music up. I’ll listen for it and sing along…a beautiful rendition of the canning song 🙂

    Looking forward to your fav of the varieties you planted. I found Amish Paste to have too much of a core and not enough “flesh”. Haven’t tried the others “yet”.

  16. Linda says:

    School was boring….as batshit….agreed! It has been raining here, 1&1/2 hrs north of you, for the last 1/2 hour, buckets and buckets of rain. I hope you aren’t getting wet doing your tomato sauce outside!?! It is so nice to “see” you back! 😀

  17. Maggie says:

    We also had a bumper crop of Roma tomatoes this year. I roasted them with olive oil and herbs and then pureed the very thick sauce. So much easier than all that peeling and simmering over a hot stove. I’ve already made a couple of dishes from them, including tomato bisque. Sooooo yum.

  18. Laura Bee says:

    I agree with your friend about the guano. Reminds me of that Paul Simon song. “When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school. It’s a wonder I can think at all.”
    Have fun squashing your tomatoes. Classical is great for food making & eating. My daughter likes Bach at dinner. I like Earth, Wind & Fire for cleaning house.

  19. jainegayer says:

    Karen, I can REALLY appreciate your giddy feeling of not having to go to school tomorrow. I retired July 1 (very spur of the moment decision) from my job teaching first graders for 18 years. I am sitting here, watching the rain and looking forward to watching you can the tomatoes. Enjoy!

  20. Lesley Williamson says:

    Been raining here all morning with lots of lovely rolling thunder. I can smell fall in the air for the first time. Yesterday all I felt like doing was lying on the deck, sweating and drinking beer. Suddenly today I have the urge to bake and freeze lasagna and soup and stuff. LOVE fall!

  21. Bobbi says:

    Did I miss the tomato shenanigans ?
    Was it yesterday ?

    • Karen says:

      Tomato shenanigans are today. There’s been a rain delay though! I’ve picked the tomatoes. I just have to wash them and get the press outside. Should be pressing in an hour or so. ~ karen

  22. Wendy says:

    Hmm. I’ve had the whole summer off and am looking forward to getting back to work teaching Grade 5 in the morning and being a teacher librarian in the afternoon. I guess I didn’t find school boring, so I sort of just stayed.

    I like the idea of canning tomatoes . . . but it’s just not me. So I walk about my neighbourhood with the dog and smell all the canning happening in my neighbours’ driveways, and enjoy this time of year.

    I love autumn. I like putting on my red leather jacket and my jeans again. I’m contemplating a black and white striped turtleneck I saw in a store window. I never mind the seasons’ changes.

    For those inclined, happy back to school . . . and for those not, enjoy the harvest of this time.

  23. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I would love to watch you press & cook your tomatoes Karen..Do you have a spaghetti sauce recipe that you make and then can??

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy – I don’t can my sauce, I just can the tomato juice and then make sauce with it. This is my spaghetti and meatball recipe (which is very different from my plain pasta sauce recipe). This sauce is quite earthy and dark tasting as opposed to my plain sauce which is much brighter tasting. ~ karen!

  24. Ellen says:

    I loved the beginning of school – the hope, the excitement, the potential. But I hated school itself – so )(*&)*^*&^ booooooooring.

  25. Linda S in NE says:

    Hi Karen, I just wanted to tell you that I think our mothers may be related. Years ago, during the month of August, my mom took the calendar off the wall, announced that because the year was more than half over, we had no more use for a calendar, and promptly threw it in the trash! Go Figure!

  26. Sandy says:

    Lol. I am with you, Karen. I am in my 50’s and when I see the school bus I am thankful I am not on it.

  27. Ann Heesters says:

    Have I missed the canning tutorial? I see the occasional chicken but so far no Karen ;-(

    • Karen says:

      I’m just setting up now Ann – There was a weather delay. ~ karen!

      • Ann Heesters says:

        Sorry for the impatience, I see your well-toned legs now. Was extra eager becuase I told all my Facebook peeps to watch and was feeling responsible (for you, the rain, the chickens…). It’s not you, just the way I’m built;-)

        • Karen says:

          LOL! I just came inside for a drink. Be back at it in a mere moment. Although you’re probably bored with it all by now. 🙂 ~ karen

  28. Gwen says:

    Karen…nothing coming through at my end. Hmmmmm.

  29. Amy says:

    Do we have the same mother?!? My mom does the same thing! She used to yell at us when we were kids because we weren’t doing chores fast enough. It would be 2pm, and she would say it was dinner time and that we should have been done.

  30. Tammy J Rizzo says:

    Karen, it sounds like life with your mom was interesting. 😉

    I, too, am not missing school buses and classes and all that. Yay for being out of it all!

    I found this post too late, I think, to catch the Canning Show. Ah well – our tomatoes all died, anyway. It was just too hot here for us to even go outside to water them. We need a timer and a trickle watering system, that’s what we need! And shade for the plants – the direct sun here is too much even for direct-sun-loving plants.

  31. Jcrn says:

    Can I simply freeze my tomato sauce after boiling and avoid the whole canning routine? I know,tomatoes are high acid but I have a fear of canning based on an experience with a pressure cooker that a friend assured me was safe.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jcrn – You can absolutely freeze your tomato sauce. In fact if you want you can just freeze your tomatoes. For the sauce, just make sure you freeze it in wide mouth mason jars. (jars that go straight up at the side and don’t have any “shoulders”) Good luck! ~ karen

  32. Marti says:

    So grossed out that I’ve decided to pretend this is Tuesday’s post. I’m surprised and amused, all over again. And look! NO GROSS BUG BABIES!

    • Karen says:

      I can change that. ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        What? How? Adding bug baby pictures here? NOOOOOO! I love the gorgeous tomato pictures! I love the idea of watching you muck around with saucing your tomatoes. DON’T CHANGE IT! NOOOOO!

        (Wait… unless you’re getting rid of the other pictures on The Other Scary Post.)

        (Maggots give me nightmares.)

  33. Stephanie says:

    I didn’t like school really either growing up but I love to learn! I feel like I am reliving my childhood all over again with my daughter as she is not a big fan. She’s only 6 and has 11 more years to go…. It stresses me out more than her of course because I don’t want her to be a bad student like I was.

  34. Debbie says:

    My Mother in law was just the same as your Mom. If She could have had Christmas a week early to get it over with she would have. Dinner was at 2pm. My family that was lunch. She would say how nice that us wives would not have to cook dinner. (NOT) dinner just had to be cooked at 7pm with dishes and clean up even later. She wanted school to hurry up and start so she could get rid of everyone. Always special she was…………..

  35. Karrie Keehart says:

    I understand your momma. We have two clocks in almost every room. One has the time for everyone else and the other has what my husband has coined “Karrie time”. Her and I would get along smashingly. I wonder if she wants to come to my Christmas party in just a few days?

  36. Kari says:

    Lol, that’s my mother! With time, seasons, weather. It’s uncanny! We always tease her that if it’s not like garden of eden style weather then she’ll cancel any fun trips we’ve planned but if it’s something no one wants to do then she can’t be stopped, she will walk 20 miles in 100 degree heat.

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