The kid is going to be alright. She tells me she is -- so I have to believe her. Folks -- it's tough to write a blog full of cheer when someone I know, respect and like very much is hurting.
No -- it's not us. Venus and I are just fine. It's another blogger who I have come to respect and admire through the years -- and for good reason. She's going to have a tough Christmas season. Lord -- I don't want that to happen. But there's not much I can do either.
I'll be honest: I'm a SAP for the Christmas season. I'm a SAP for Christmas music. It's why I added the Vince Guaraldi selections to the music lineup. If you're anywhere close to the sappiness level that I am -- well -- it's music like this that can bring tears to your eyes. It is the music of Christmas past. The music of family and friends who we love with all of our hearts -- and who are no longer with us on this Earth.
Of course -- I know that not everyone is thrilled with music on the blog. Thank you Mr. Hoffman. But you're the only one who has complained. Pam Farley -- aka Brown Thumb Mama -- loves it -- and so do her children. She's told me as much. So there. NYAH!
There's not much going on in the Backyard of Bird at the moment. The Hello Kitty Bees have settled into a winter slumber. The tomatoes -- cucumbers -- peas and bell peppers are pretty much done. The pomegranate harvest -- while wonderful -- is slowing down. The hummingbirds are still fighting over that bottle of sugar-water in the feeder -- which keeps the cats active. Other than that -- it's a little slow.
Look at that nice gift to your left!
These -- Ladies and Gentlepeople -- are what's known as Hachiya Persimmons. Not just any persimmon mind you -- but the baking type. And -- as you might guess -- these aren't from any store. Nope! The best persimmons are those that come from a neighborhood tree -- and that's exactly where these came from -- courtesy of a South Natomas gardener.
Yes -- you can say that Nels Christensen is committed. Or -- he should be (sorry Nels). I first met him when I started this blog several years ago. I was shocked to find out that someone other than myself was actually reading it.
Nels entered the picture two plus years ago when I managed to murder and entire crop of heirloom tomato seedlings. Plants that Venus and I lovingly tendered for months on end in a spare bedroom expired in a matter of hours thanks to a series of mistakes made by yours truly.
Nels at first inquired if I was interested in a "plant exchange." When I explained to him I had nothing to "exchange" other than dead seedlings -- he was kind enough to gift me with two starter plants: a Pineapple Beefsteak and an Omar's Lebanese.
Nels is one of those backyard orchardists that I really admire. He's got a near 20-year head start on me. One step into his backyard is like stepping into paradise. It's where you'll find fruit and citrus trees that are now in full production. You can feast on thornless blackberries that grow by the hundreds beneath a 15-20 foot tall Bacon Avocado tree.
But the star of the show? A massive Hachiya Persimmon tree located against a side fence. So -- when Nels showed up a few weeks ago with a flat of baking persimmons -- I wasn't surprised.
However -- that wasn't all he bought. Nels has been busy. He also brought another holiday gift in the form of tomato seeds. Not just a few seeds mind you. But ONE THOUSAND HEIRLOOM TOMATO SEEDS.
Egads. That's enough for the next 20 summer gardens!
But -- there's a catch here folks. And it's why -- in the spirit of the Holiday Season -- why I intend to share Nels' gift with all of you (provided you want any of this).
Nels is a big fan of EBAY. As he was looking at the site one day -- he wandered across a lot of tomato seeds for sale. Not just any seed mind you -- but seeds for every variety of heirloom tomato that you can possibly think of.
The seeds were offered -- in lots of 1,000 -- by a grower who goes by the name of Tomato Bob. Bob -- you see -- has quite the operation going. He grows over 600 varieties of heirloom tomatoes in Hilliard, OH. And -- as Tomato Bob's website claims -- they are a"small family owned seed company located in central Ohio specializing in over 700 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, flowers, and vegetables that have been passed down through families for generations."
Impressed? But wait! There's a catch. You see -- the "lot" of seeds that Nels ran into on EBAY happens to be what's "leftover" from seed packaging efforts. According to "Tomato Bob," there are always a few extra seeds of each variety that get lost in "The Matrix" during the sorting and packaging process.
These seeds are then gathered (swept off the floor?), packaged and offered in lots of 1,000 on EBAY. So -- the catch here is this:
Bill Bird has 1,000 heirloom tomato seeds. But he has absolutely NO CLUE of what varieties these seeds represent. Could they all be cherry varieties? Perhaps. Could they be half Brandywine and half Green Zebra? Sure -- I suppose.
Point is -- I really don't know! Neither does Nels. Nor does "Tomato Bob."
So -- the offer to the gentle readers of this gentle and little-read gardening blog is this. You want free heirloom tomato seeds? I got free tomato seeds. You want ten? Twenty? Thirty? I've got them.
This is my Christmas present -- and Nels as well -- to you. Free heirloom tomato seeds. If you're interested -- drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with a return address and how many seeds you desire -- and I'll not only fill that order -- I'll take care of the postage.
Just don't blame me if you wind up growing 20 Yellow Pear plants.