Well, it’s to be expected being summer but I am going to complain anyway – it’s HOT! So Cal is experiencing our first real scorcher of a heat wave that leaves one finding sanctuary inside or in a cool spot in the yard for better part of the afternoon. Luckily we have a slightly breeze that comes up off the freeway that cools the house down a bit.
Our outdoor shower is getting used quite a lot, though we rarely care for the water to heat up primarily using it just to cool our bodies down.
The two resident cats barely move – just to turn over to get the other side of their belly cool (what a life). Out in the animal enclosure (one of the cooler parts of the yard with the pomegranate trees) the ducks take turns splashing in their pond and surprisingly even the chickens don’t mind the excessively splashing – anything to get relief from the heat. The goats take their afternoon siesta, dozing in the shade. While tempted to join our lazy critters (who I think have the right idea) there’s much work to be done on the homestead.
Though in the throngs of canning season, with the muggy heat I can’t bear to heat up the kitchen (or myself) so am moving my canning efforts to later in the evening not that it does that much good but it does help a bit. Last night I finished the last jars of squash pickles just before midnight.
Slowly the kitchen cabinets are filling up with food for the fall and winter. I’m even reviving mother, scoby that is – that slimy looking pancake fungus. With the excessive heat one needs a thirst quencher since water doesn’t seem to cut it. So in between everything I’ve restarted home kombucha fermenting.
There’s also some other news tidbits from the homefront but will dribble it out a little at time.
The Summer Garden Report
Is a mixture of good & bad. While some things are growing well, others, well, not so well.
The tomatoes are looking good – topping 8+ feet tall. With the heat the tomatoes are ripening at a faster rate and man they are just so lovely and incredibly tasty. When you grown heirloom tomatoes you can just grow one, you have to grow the rainbow – then it becomes an addiction. Once again we have all sorts of colors – white, purple, greens, oranges and yellows.
While the squash, eggplant and cucumbers are producing the plants are battling a splotches of disease. So we have to keep an eye on that and vigilant in our weekly spraying efforts of EM.
The apples, blueberries are still coming in and there’s a second flush of strawberries. And the tender, cooler weather crops like lettuces and a few salad greens have been moved to the north side of the house.
Keeping the summer garden tidy and productive is what is taking up most our time these days. With everything packed in it’s essential that we not let one plant overrun the others and for successful summer production one has to be on top of planting consecutive crops for a quick turn around.
The dip in the economy has certainly affected our produce business. Similar to what we saw happen with our business back in 2000 with the “dot com” bust, sales have suffered. Eventually we knew this would happen, but we are a little concerned since we do need to stay afloat. So we are turning our efforts more towards individual clientele – customers who care to spend a little extra for fresh and locally grown food.
Growing your own food is hard enough (dealing with weather, pest and disease) so when it comes to sales, well that’s just a whole different arena.
Not only are the sales “off” this year, but one gets a sense that this year the garden once again is slightly “off.” What “off” is, I can’t really point a finger at but there’s certainly a note missing in the symphony.
Tough times for everyone, even us.
How’s your summer garden coming along? Care to share?
Before I go off to pound away at some shredded cabbage (good destressing exercise and if you are lucky there’s sometimes a “eureka” moment to be had), I just want to say on behalf of our family – thank you for the congratulatory anniversary wishes. We truly appreciate and are humbled by the effect this little blog has had and the movement it now represents as city slickers turn towards a simple, back to basics lifestyle.
As people were coming up to me on Sunday, saying how much the enjoy reading LHITC, I get a little bashful. You see this journal is not me. It’s a collective diary about our family’s journey and right now I am just the one who’s in the position to share the happenings with you – taking tidbits and observations from each member and putting it down in one place. So this journal would not be possible without the vital contributions of Farmer D (as one blogger so aptly put “the grandpappy of the city-farm trend”), Farmer Justin and Farmess Jordanne.
:: Field Hand Appreciation :: CD $10, thank you for your donation. Fact is, we are hard at work at upgrading PTF/LHITC. It’s taken longer than we anticpiated thanks to all the interruptions but we hope to have a brand new site up this year. Not only are we doing these upgrades for ourselves (to make it easier to update) but I am certain that you are gonna to love the changes and your support is greatly appreciated and needed more than ever so we can continue to sow the seeds of a homegrown revolution.