Overcast day

Cool Down

A blanket of clouds brings relief to the Southland and none to soon.   What a difference a week (actually, a day) makes .   Friday was humid and hot. Last Saturday was the hottest day here in some 20 years.  However, this Saturday, the clouds rolled in, the humidity dropped and there was slight mist in the morning and evening.   The cool “June gloom” type weather duplicated itself again yesterday and again today. When doing chores this morning, we had to put on a light sweater as it was that “cool.”

Big Jump

Last Tuesday there was huge jump (almost double) in readers to just the PTF journal page. We like to extended a warm welcome to all the new readers out there. If you are new to this site, well, there’s a chance you’ll be overwhelmed with the content.   Don’t blame you – there’s certainly a lot going on here on the homestead.

To help you sort things out about what our urban homestead is about, we put together“Our Urban Homestead: At a Glance”   Another thing you’ll notice is that there’s an old and new site merged together.   For now, it’s a bit complicated; however, we hope you excuse our “dust.” We have yet to finish work on the revamping and updating this site, we still have yet to move much of the old site into put it into a new format.   


Tropical Harvest

We had to harvest the stalk of bananas since some animal was helping himself to this delicate, sweet fruit.   The few green fruit will eventually ripen over time.
For a simple, yet delicious, “no cook” dessert. I sliced the bananas, mixed in a few spoonfuls of concentrated orange juice, squirt of a fresh lemon, sprinkled in some dried cranberries and walnuts – YUM!

Preserving the harvest

We’re Jammin’
Ya Mon.

The past few days we gals spent time canning up the 20 lbs of cherries turning the fruit into jam, preserves, and candied cherries. Then it was onto making elderberry and fig jam from fruits harvested from our yard.   And then a few jars of blueberry jam.
I had planned on making sun preserves this Sunday, figuring the sun was going to be out. Oh, well, some other time then.  This gloom can’t last forever and I do hope it sticks around, so I’m not too anxious for it to leave anytime soon.

Here’s how:

Sun Preserves

Rinse & drain 3 pounds of perfect fruit (cherries, strawberries, raspberries, currants)
Place 3 pounds of sugar in pan, add just enough water to moisten and bring slowly to a boil, skimming off any impurities that form. Add fruit and boil for 3 minutes. Ladle out into shallow dishes (covered with light screening) and set in intense sun for 3 days. (The preserves should be brought in each night) When preserves are thick and slide slowly from spoon, they are ready to be canned.
~ courtesy of “Summer Food” by Judith Olney ~
Here’sanother variation by Alice Waters from a segment she did on the PBS show ‘The Victory Garden.’

When the sun was still shining last week, the sun oven’s was almost daily use now. It’s a win-win situation in the summer, keeping the kitchen cool and using less gas. The apples are still producing and we baked an apple crisp once again in the sun oven last week. The crisp topped lightly with raw sugar and cinnamon was a tasty treat at the end of a long day of hard work in the yard, house and on the roof.

Elderberry Wine

Sunday wasn’t just reserved for jams. With over 10 pounds of elderberries harvested these last few days and after making up some jars of jam we started a batch of wine which should be ready to enjoy in a few months time.

Next on the agenda is to make up a batch of elderberry syrup.

Summer’s bounty

Garden of Eatin’

Big picking day today! Looking forward to all the good meals such harvest blessings will bring to our table this week

Shown in the photo are peppers, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, lima and french beans. The colander of peaches was filled to the top this morning but many are missing since they were cut up along with the strawberries and blueberries ( also missing from the photo) for a fruit salad today.  

Many hours of hard work are rewarded by the fruits of our labor.


Our outdoor shower
Naked Ambition {WashingtonPost}

Outdoor Showers Satisfy Primal Urges …Outdoor showers, he says, “get us in touch with a deeper and more primordial sense of ourselves and life. Bathing outside — whether in the open or in an enclosed space — allows us to feel sensual, vibrant and alive.
read more

See more photos of our homemade outdoorsun shower which is situated underneath a some bananas and a fig tree – open to the sky above. The pathway to the shower is now overgrown with a gigantic squash vine – betcha loving all that water run off. Pretty soon we’ll need a machete to hack our way to the shower’s entrance.

No Comments

  1. Kosh says:

    Great to hear of all the new people visiting the site. You’re making me hungry with all the photos of fresh fruits and veggies!


  2. Gia says:

    I’ve been envying your outdoor shower for a couple of years now. I should just bite the bullet and try to build one of my own!

    I was wondering, does the water heat up as it travels through the black hose or is it more of a case of letting the water warm up in the black hose for a while before you shower?

  3. Kory says:

    I just came across this
    apparently a low tech highly accessible way to preserve food in the short term. I wonder if there is a special mix or would any terra cotta pot do?

  4. Cheryl says:

    Glad you’re cooler these days – we’ve really cooled off further up the coast as well.
    I’d love to hear about making elderberry syrup, it’s one of my favorite things and I’d love to make some. My elderberry tree didn’t fruit for some reason though despite having masses of gorgeous flowers. Maybe needs a pollinator?

  5. Jennifer says:

    Yes, yes. Can you tell us more about how the solar sun shower works? I’d like to build one too.