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Jul 31, 2018

Hot And Smoky, Peach Fail, Independence Days Challenge

Hot And Smoky-
Like the rest of the West it's been very hot, with triple digits and smoke from various wildfires. We're fortunate that the smoke isn't any worse. The sunsets have been really spectacular, but I've been sneezing a lot more, congested, with all of the crud in the air. There's no relief in sight for the heat right now but the good news the vegetables are going great! I mostly just trying to keep the chickens cool and we're trying to stay on top of the watering. This is the time of year I'm really grateful for air conditioning in our home, my car, and my job. Could be much much worse. I feel really sad with people losing their homes, businesses and the forests. It's a terrible sight to see the Shasta area fire, huge and such a gorgeous area. I visited there a long time ago and Mt. Shasta was breaktaking.

 Morning commute 2 days ago, much worse today

Yep, that's it

Peach Fail-

This is our second year to have peaches off our little peach tree and it was doing great this spring. We had lots of fruit and then a few storms blew through. I had noticed that there weren't a whole lot of peaches on the side facing the street, but didn't think much of it until this weekend. Dave told me that a lot of the peaches were ripe and he was going to pick them. I asked him how much he thought there was on the tree and he thought a couple of crates. In reality we had a pretty tiny harvest as you can see from the photo. Pretty sad, but I guess it's better than nothing. We had lots of one gallon bags in the freezer from last year's harvest in comparison. I took the worst of the peaches that were bruised and have some bruises,  sliced those up and made a peach and blueberry cobbler. I saved the better more perfect peaches for us to just eat fresh. We gave a small bag to our two daughters last night and her one grand baby was asking for more peaches! Glad that he likes them. So unlike last winter we won't have lots of frozen peaches. Oh well, what can you do?

Independence Days Challenge-
Here's a rundown of what we've been up to lately...

1. Plant Something- 
I was able to find some half price Italian parsley since mine died and planted some fresh. This is not the time of year for planting for us since it's so hot and we don't do a fall garden due to the climate.

2. Harvest Something-
Right now we're harvesting the start of our tomatoes, lemon/slicing cucumbers, blackberries, and sweet Gypsy peppers. We got about 1 cup of Choke Cherries, that's it. I'll make some syrup for breakfast and stick it in the fridge. Our two older hens are still laying about 1 egg every day or so probably due to the excessive heat. We're doing a lot to keep them cool, but I think that their production will pick up a little bit as it cools down some over time. Interestingly enough the three half-size hens seem to tolerate the heat better probably because they're smaller.

3. Preserve/Store Something- 
We harvested our neighbor's rhubarb (she doesn't use it) and we got about four 1-gallon bags in the freezer. I also made a huge strawberry rhubarb apple cobbler last weekend! Yummy. No peaches this year, read below. Looking forward to harvesting apples and pears, the trees are loaded! I think we'll have enough tomatoes to freeze as well.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep- 
Bought grilling chicken on sale for roasting. Going to Costco soon for some supplements, cat litter etc. We get lots of great deals there, but we're careful what we buy.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- 
After I read a little article on how the English royal family stays healthy I discovered barley water! I never heard of it before and did a little research. It's made out of water left over from cooking with barley and added fruit juices for flavoring. And guess what I stumbled upon at a local grocery store? Yes lemon flavored barley water. Always ready for a culinary adventure I decided to buy a bottle. It was $7 for the concentrate of 28 Oz. Basically you use about 80% water in about 20% of the concentrate, so it makes a lot of glasses. I tried it and really liked it since it was tart and didn't have much sugar compared to other drinks. Dave even liked it! I bought Robinson's brand lemon flavor and may try some other flavors if I can find them. While this isn't something I would have ordered online, I did find it locally. I may buy some more or make my own. There are tons of recipes online. You basically cook barley, reserve the water and then add your own fruit flavorings. Fascinating stuff!

6. Build Community Food Systems-
Rhubarb from her neighbor, Dave nicely sliced it up in cubes, froze it bagged. We gave her a dozen of our fresh eggs which she greatly appreciated.

7. Recycle/Re-Use-
Mostly doing more donations and I have bought a few used things recently. I picked up a few inexpensive summer clothes for work and some bamboo silicone utensils for pots.

In a recent order from Amazon I received a $50 off coupon for Hellofresh, a new meal delivery system. After going online and doing a little research I went ahead and ordered two two-person dinners. The total will be $15 which would certainly be less than the two of us eating out. All the ingredients are provided except for simple additions like oil, butter or something else that you would usually have on hand. We should be receiving the order this weekend and I will do a review. I ordered a Hawaiian Poke Bowl meal and Pork Tacos. I will certainly let you know what I think after we try this if anyone is interested. While I think they target affluent families that don't know how to cook, maybe they'll learn something! I guess no one buys cook books any more.

8. Skill Up-
I did learn recently how to air out a perfume a smelly used leather purse. My one main leather purse that I use mostly for work was partially broken. It was a used leather Fossil bag that I bought on eBay a few years ago. I wasn't able to fix part of the metal that broke. I found another good deal on eBay for another Fossil bag that was basically brand-new, much cheaper than retail. I was really excited then I opened up the box and about fell over from the perfume odor. Since I am sensitive to odors it might not have been as bad for somebody else, but it was bad enough for me. The bag came in a cloth storage bag which I immediately threw out since I really didn't want it. I was happy to see that simply airing out the purse in another bedroom by hanging it on a closet knob seems to have fixed the problem. Interestingly enough there are tons of DIY ideas online on how to do this.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
I can't really think of something that we salvaged recently although we do little things all the time. Dave did pull out the dishwasher arm and I cleaned it out so maybe that qualifies? As much as we scrape dishes it seems like little bits of food are always getting clogged in the spinning wands. I told Dave if he dies first I'm having the dishwasher removed, recycled, then I will have someone build some nice shelving there and fill it with baskets. With two of us (unless we have company) we really only run the dishwasher every two days. 


Goatldi said...

Nice peaches lady!

I was stunned to have 5 peaches on my less then a year old bare root peach. I let them mature although some say don't the first year. Delicious!

You can check out my blog for a post on the Carr fire. It has been a monster for sure.

We are finally going to cool down after a month plus of inversion layers and hot hot hot.

Angela said...

I am interested in the Hello Fresh meals. I too have been tempted by their offers.

Kristina said...

To me that's a lot of peaches. I only use about 8 good sized ones to can a small batch of jam. Our tree did much worse in the way of not producing. I have planted parsley inside, but has been drawing flies, so I'm going to have to move it or not grow it inside.

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Thanks and yes the Carr fire looks really awful

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Yes I'll be curious to see what their meals are like!

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

I think our last batch of peaches was about to Big laundry baskets full. Basically enough to have quite a bit in the freezer would have been nice but what can you do?

Susan said...

I'm with Kristina - that's a bumper crop for me, but it's all relative. You sure have had the high temperatures. We used to only get, maybe, a week of high temps but we are now getting a month's worth. I do not like it! I've heard about barley water - it's interesting that you could find it at your grocer. I'll have to look into it!

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Yes I certainly understand it's all relative. And this heat is getting really old really fast and the smoke is worse today can barely see the foothills. And The Barley water is really nice!

DianeF said...

Your peaches look very nice. I live in Colorado and struggle each year to get fruit from my two peach trees. We haven't had peaches for the past 3 years due to late spring freezes. I have fencing around the trees to keep the deer away (one year they stood at the base of the tree, munched on 3 dozen peaches, then spit the pits out at the base). They're lucky I'm not a hunter - ha. I also have to put up bird netting to keep the birds, squirrels, and raccoons from eating them. Everyone loves peaches, so I'm not surprised you're missing a few ;-)

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Thanks Diane. Yes weather is always a pending issue :(