I have closed my Amazon affiliate account. You will see my links on the left side bar be replaced with photos of recommended books, etc. I never made money off Amazon, I actually made a couple hundred $$$ over the years doing the Hometalk posts instead. Amazon has also become the giant, not treating their employees well, and I suspect they sell their data to whoever. I also suspect they will go out of business in the not-too-distant future. If China goes into Taiwan, and I think they will, a major cut off of Chinese goods may hit the U.S. right away. Time will tell. When fuel goes back up (and I think it will), the prices will soar as well affecting consumers. I never started blogging to make money, just to document our journey and share it. I have made some great friends online and read their journeys too. And congrats if you still actually READ!!! Some just looks at photos and move on. It's sad to see some of the dumbing down in social media. I miss people who can write well, for more than a short paragraph. So there you go, that's the skinny. I will be rearranging the look of the blog a bit. Stay tuned!
We're still in the 100s/upper 90's and the heat dome will be moving on soon. It's been a cooker! I am very grateful that we have air conditioning and well air-conditioned workplaces. I feel sorry for some of my co-workers who don't have central air. I grew up in Southern California, never had air conditioning though and we survived. Just keeping everything well-watered has been a daily project. We have mulched even more this summer. The chickens are doing well but are not laying as much as usual. They just get over heated, nature's response. We're making sure they have plenty of water, cool treats, they have already lots of shade, and keep wetting things down. Was 55 this week which was a nice change and days getting shorter! I made a nice summer dinner this weekend, spicy fried chicken (great cold!), potato salad, fresh homegrown organic tomatoes and green onions. Yum!
We went to Costco recently and they were out of their famous apple pies. NO APPLE PIES! Staff told us they were out of apples. Dave mentioned that this last spring a huge apple storage facility in Washington state was hit with ants. They lost their entire facility. Good reminder to not assume anything nowadays with perfect storm of supply issues. The good news is they had bags of unbleached bread flour $9 for 25 lbs. Since I've started making homemade bread regularly, I bought one bag and then went back and bought two more. It's Turkey Brand from Lehi Mills in Utah-
25 Lbs for $8.99!
I also bought more local honey, a bottle of vanilla, raisins, not only for winter baking but just food in general. Our summer garden has finally kicked in!
The "before" picture-
Cukes, kale and collard green
Peppers and tomatoes
Strawberries still alive!
A pot of color on the deck
As far as harvesting we're getting a regular supply of blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, Kale and Collard greens. We also harvested all of our peaches! I canned about 12 quarts, froze about five and we have more in the kitchen that are ripening. Most of those I will probably bake with soon or eat fresh. If that's too many I will freeze the rest. I love the Red Haven variety, amazing color and flavor-
I don't know about anybody else but we have been under the heat Dome that's been all over the news. It's been in the 100°s for the last 2 weeks. But we lucked out today, it was in the '80s and it RAINED this morning! Not a lot of rain, but enough to really cool things down. We have just been watering, watering and watering the yarden. I've been taking extra cool care of our chickens. I use a water mister near their shade area, hose it down once or twice a day, and give them cool treats. Our tomatoes been growing like crazy in the heat! Typically tomatoes don't set fruit over about 80° or so, luckily there were lots of baby tomatoes already on the vine. It's made a HUGE difference in the production in the garden with more SUN. We did a major professional prune a while back. What a difference!!!
We finally had our first harvest! I picked one medium sized tomato and two lemon cucumbers. The lemon cucumbers are doing amazing, they are growing so fast! I decided not to plant any pickling cucumbers since I found a wonderful local farm where I can buy them fresh. I made the best fermented pickles ever last year using their cukes! We have a good amount of peaches on the front peach tree, just starting to change colors. Our apple tree is running a little bit light on the harvest this year. That's nature. That's why I wanted to plant three different kinds of fruit trees. The blackberries are ripening now as well. Pretty soon I will be canning fruit! I also bought a pressure cleaner so I'm going to start canning some meats and non-acid vegetables. I hope to be also canning soups for the winter. With potential blackout/brownouts/fuel shortage good to have easy, healthy fast foods on hand. If you're not getting prepared for some future difficulties better late than never! I heard about a shortage coming of Garbanzo beans so I bought about eight lbs. of dried in the bulk section. They're tucked away in glass jars with O2 absorbers. I also got a great deal on Augason Farms freeze dried strawberries, $20.00 for a #10 can, nice deal. Still on Amazon clearance. Never to late to get things in order...
A More Resilient Kitchen-
When we bought our house almost 20 years ago there was a built-in desk in the dining room/kitchen. That worked out pretty well and we decided to use it for that. Later I really wanted to remove all of that and put in a buffet, but we never put new counters in the kitchen. I had hoped we would be able to do solid countertops and turn that area into a buffet for storage. Fast forward to now. I decided since I'm not working from home anymore to move our kitchen office into the spare bedroom. I'm hoping we'll be able to put some butcher block where the current countertop is. In the meantime I decided to take back my kitchen. We moved the computer system into the home office, where I previously worked at my job. That opened up the entire counter. I cleared everything off and wiped everything down. It's amazing how many dust bunnies were under there! I even had room to put out my radio/CD player!
I made 2 loaves of bread in the new (thrifted) bread machine there, Honey Oat bread (recipe in my Pinterest bread folder)-
Great flavor and crumb!
Next I used the same recipe, but used 1 cup WW flour and 1 teaspoon dough enhancer, excellent result!
Hole from the paddle, great otherwise!
I will keep playing around and plan to make some herb breads too. One of the things I wanted to start using the area for is for dehydrating-
Orange slices for winter teas
It will be really handy to have that area for cooling home-canned bloing jars instead of the top of my dining table. When we have lots of company over in the winter for the holidays I can use it as a serving area. So far so good! I'm leaving the dehydrator there for now so I can run various batches including eggs. More on that below...
18 eggs in there!
I've seen a few different blogs and YouTube videos that had information on how to dehydrate fresh eggs. I decided to try that! Since we have a bumper crop of our own organic eggs it's a good shelf stable way to preserve them! Basically I ran about 9 of our eggs at a time through our Magic Bullet until blended, 18 totla in the 1st batch. I had previously bought some silicone trays for inside my food dehydrator, link here Dehydrator Trays I had the trays stacked and simply carefully poured the eggs in. The temperature I read everywhere was to do about 140° for about 18 hours or so. Probably depends on the humidity where you live. Here's the photos of the process-
Mostly dry, checking for doneness
dry and crispy, looks like corn flakes!
I ran the chunks thru the Magic Bullet again (clean and dry), came out perfect. I added to O2 absorbers in the glass jars. Just treat like raw eggs and cook. You can use in baked goods, for scrambled, eggs etc.
Great video here from one of my fave Youtubers with lots of info! From RoseRed Homestead-