Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A New Look!

So, what do you think?!?!

I am loving my new look by Penny Lane Designs!

I wasn't really against my old look, but I just felt a little stressed out in everything in my life, so I needed something a little calmer. And I got just that. I am really excited about this look, and I think it is one that I can live with for a long time. I need to do a little work on my sidebar, but, other than that, I couldn't be more pleased!

(And, yes, it has been around for a couple of days, but I am just getting around to mentioning it...)

I will be back soon with more bloggy goodness...hopefully!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What We Do

I thought I would let y'all in on what we do all day. If you read Maters and Melons (poor, poor, neglected blog), then this will be a recap, so I apologize. If not, you are in for a real treat...(wink, wink...)

So, first, we have to decide that the tomatoes are ready. They are usually ready sometime around the 5th of June. This year we were a little late and started on the 8th; we actually could have started a little earlier, but it doesn't just depend on the tomatoes -- it depends on other factors such as the market price (which hasn't been great this year) and other players in the market. We don't want to start when there are too many others picking because then we will flood the market and drive the price down, so we try to wait until Florida finishes up, and they were a little late this year, too. But, that is too much information, so let's move on...

Once Florida finishes up, the pickers and packers move on up to our farm. We bring in about 600+ workers to do this little summertime job. We get everyone signed up in a hurry, and we start to pick. We have about 400 people in the field picking the tomatoes.
Each picker gets a bucket to fill with green tomatoes. Once he (or she) is finished with the bucket, he takes it to the truck, where someone is waiting to dump it into a bin. In exchange for the bucket, the picker gets a token; at the end of the day, the picker turns in his tokens so that he can be paid for the number of buckets that he picked throughout the course of the day.

Once all of the bins on the truck are full, the truck heads to the packing house where the bins will be weighed and taken off the truck. They are then stacked in the back of the packing house and wait to be dumped into the machines.

The first stop after being dumped into the machine is the bath:

The tomatoes then get graded. We have people along the line looking at the tomatoes as they pass by culling out the bad ones and putting any that have any color on another belt. We have 205 employees in the packing house this year.

Next come the sizers. Tomatoes come in sizes of 5x6, 6x6, 6x7, and 7x7s. These sizes refer to the amount of tomatoes that used to be able to fit in a box when the were put in there by hand. So, a 5x6 tomato is the largest tomato because a box could hold 5 tomatoes across and 6 down.

Then the tomatoes go into the fillers. The fillers hold an empty box and fill the box until it holds 25 pounds of tomatoes. Then it shoots the box down the line where it gets a lid and can be stacked on a pallet.

Finally, you get a finished pallet that is ready to go on a truck. The Sea Island lids that you can see below are our #2 grade tomatoes (our off-grade). Our #1 grades are Frogmores or Seasides.

So, that is a bit of an overview of what happens around here on a daily basis and why I have been absent from the old blog lately! Luckily it is a fast and furious season, but it is over before we know it, and we can relax a little once it is over...and, boy, am I ready for that!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the two best dads I know -- I could not have picked a better man to raise me or my kids, and I love you both with all my heart!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Not Gonna Be Pretty

In anticipation of being in the sun and out on the water -- and basically anywhere other than stuck in this packing house -- I recently ordered these two bathing suits from Anthropologie:

Buttercup Top/Bottom

However, they came today, and now I am afraid to try them on.
See, I have recently lost some weight that I have been desperately trying to lose (and that I had no luck losing with Weight Watchers). But, here at the packing house, we have a cook because none of us has time to go home to eat, much less cook ourselves something. In the first week that we have had our cook (she started about a week after we started packing tomatoes this year), we have had fried chicken twice, fried pork chops once, and bacon three times (for BLTs and other things).
The other night we had spaghetti. With fried chicken.
And vegetables? We aren't really eating those.
It is not good for my waistline that I worked so hard to get down. And it won't make for a pretty picture in my new suits.
So for now, I think I will just admire them in the box...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blogger of the Year

I have just been the best blogger lately, have I not? I mean, I have been johnny-on-the-spot with a new post each day chock full of witty, charming stories and cute pictures or great recipes or fashion advice or many, many other interesting bits of information for y'all.

Really, y'all should be honoring me with Blogger of the Year, I have been so good -- no, great -- lately.

(Okay, that was a joke.)

I have hardly had time to think, much less post anything, so I just thought I would pop in while I have a second to let you know that I am still case anyone is still reading....

(are you there?)

And we still have not closed on our house.

It would be laughable if it wasn't so darn irritating.

And I have hardly seen my kids or husband lately. I have seen my kids more than my husband, but I still haven't seen them much. I see them for a bit in the mornings, but I usually get home after they are in bed. I miss those little buggers. I miss The Farmer, too. Talking to him on the phone just isn't the same, especially because we don't have a phone in our farm house, and he gets terrible cell reception there.

But, anyway, I am still here...

I will be back...


Monday, June 7, 2010

Pretty Girl

This pretty girl is my first born child -- my seven-year-old girl -- and that makes me feel older than my 31 years!
This pretty girl lost one of her top teeth last week and could lose another top tooth any day now.
This pretty girl gets out of school on Wednesday, and we couldn't be more excited! Yay for summer!!!!!
This pretty girl is as sweet and loving and kind as she is pretty!
I do so love this pretty girl!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Catch Up

Hello again!

It's been another busy week since I have checked in, so I thought I would catch you up on what has been going on with us farm folk...

1. We were supposed to close on our house Wednesday, but that didn't happen. After spending many sleepless nights stewing over everything that we needed to do to keep up our end of the bargain, the buyer's bank couldn't get them their closing package in time. We think we should be able to close Monday though.

Fingers crossed.

2. As I mentioned in #1, we had a lot of little last minute things to get finished to have the house ready for closing -- planting a tree for our neighborhood association, some small repairs, cleaning, etc. -- that seemed to take forever, but I got them all done with a lot of help from Muffie (she cleaned toilets!!!), my cousin's wife, and my dad. I am so thankful for all of the help!

3. Miss Priss is still in school, and I am so over it. She is, too. Honestly, by the time June arrives, all schools should be out; it should be a nationwide rule. Let's make it now!

4. I turned 31 on the 31st. Muffie and LP planned a fun surprise birthday night out for me; they took me out with a bunch of friends to dinner in a nearby city and to see Sex and the City 2. Although we weren't huge fans of the movie, we had a blast going out that night. It was a great little getaway for me -- I really needed a break from all of the stress! However, I would have loved to get in bed before 3:30 that morning!

5. I got pulled coming home from tennis at 9 the other night for driving without headlights, and I had no clue that I was driving without headlights. Really. In my defense I was driving my babysitter's car; however, it was a Toyota 4Runner -- a car like I used to drive, so I should have known how to turn on the headlights (but I assumed that they turned on automatically)!! That just goes to show you how exhausted we all are (I won't even get started on how out-of-sorts the kids are) -- and packing season hasn't even started for me!

6. I am supposed to be getting internet at the beach house today, so I will hopefully be around on this little ol' blog more starting today.

Fingers crossed.

I hope y'all are all doing well!
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