It’s another hot and sticky day. Frankly, the humidity is getting a bit tiresome; we aren’t used to that kind of weather here.   From what other readers are saying (even from “across the pond”), the heat is on!


Britain endures hottest-ever July day

Britain faced the hottest day ever recorded in July on Wednesday as a heat wave swept much of Europe. Temperatures hit 96.6 degrees south of London — so hot some road surfaces melted.
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Scorching U.S.: First Half of 2006 Sets Heat Record

The average temperatures of the first half of 2006 were the highest ever recorded for the continental United States, scientists announced today.Temperatures for January through June were 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average.Scientists have previously said that 2005 was the warmest year on record for the entire globe
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Sparse Postings

Again, sorry for the lack of postings these days.   It’s good to spend time away from the computer now and then.   Well, maybe not, now that there’s having to catch up with emails and I really have to update the photo gallery, finish part 2 of website, etc. Anyhow, here are some updates with of some of the things we’ve been up to and enjoying.

Goats roam the yard, play “head butt” and relax

Kids At Play

Our animal enclosure is pretty sizable one (over 400 sq ft) for the goats, ducks, chickens and a rabbit; however, when we are out and about in the morning (or late afternoon/early evening) working in the garden or just doing daily chores, we like to let the animals out (especially the goats).   Fairlight (aka “Lady Fairlight”) and Blackberry like to follow us everywhere we go – guess it’s that herd mentality and we, apparently, are their herd leaders. The goats now have taken a liking to following us inside the house! It’s a funny sight to see goats in the kitchen and each time they get more and more bold, having finally made it to visiting the bedrooms. Silly goats.

We really have to get the dancing goat video up. Since I can’t put it in words, you have to see the Blackberry “Twizzle” (that’s what we’ve dubbed her dance).   Fairlight now is trying to copy her moves, but, like Jordanne says of Blackberry’s dance– it’s “often imitated but never duplicated.”

Jules & Justin chip away at the wood shakes. Recycled mulch.

Chips Ahoy!

The guys spent late afternoon chipping the containers of the wood shakes that they removed from the roof. It certainly makes nice mulch – and it’s recycled too!  
Having to fuel the chipper meant a trip to the nearby gas station. So Justin hopped on his bike and rode to the neighborhood gas station to fill up a container….

“What is a Gas Station?”

Justin remarked how unusually weird it was to buy gas at a station because it’s been so long since we’ve fueled up at one.   He commented it has been a long time since we’ve bought petroleum diesel – the last time was the summer of 2005 (of course that was when we ran out of biodiesel). And the time before that was sometime in 2004. Wow – once in 2 years.  

Tomato alley

How Does Our Garden Grow?

Slooooowwwwly….. I am serious, everything seems to be ripening in slow growing motion.
The tomatoes are FINALLY ripening and we had our first homegrown tomato of the season this week. Why so late for tomatoes?  That’s a very good question and we too are scratching our head. Looking over last year’s records, we were harvesting 100 lbs of tomatoes a week by now and this year, they are barely trickling in. We had a lady stop by this week to see if we had any ripe tomatoes since hers weren’t ready either. Glad to know that we have company. 😉  Another related story when I was asked by one of our clients about the status of our tomatoes, he said that he’s buying top of the line (A plus quality) tomatoes and he says that those tomatoes looked awful — all spotted. We are not even talking about organic – just the tomato crop in general. The tomato plants are still looking healthy (no sign of mites) and tall (some over 8 ft) so we continue to hold out hope that there’s still a good harvest ahead.

Driveway, backyard garden, successive plantings

Besides the roof, the guys have been busy with preparing the beds and transplanting for, hopefully, a second (late summer, early fall) crop of tomatoes, squash, cukes, eggplant, beans, peppers, and greens. We gardeners, urban farmers, never give up hope do we — and there’s always looking forward to next year?

Preserving (and Enjoying) the Harvest

We harvested a bunch of Anna Apples and made a delicious apple crisp in the solar oven – yum.    The elderberries are almost ripe and we’ll be making our first batch of elderberry wine.

On the subject of preserving the harvest, in the next co-op delivery this month, besides our bulk order of Fair Trade, raw sugar, recycled toilet paper and other big # items, we are expecting 40 lbs of organic peaches and 20 lbs of organic cherries.   I just couldn’t pass up the deal of $14.00 for 20 lbs of organic peaches and about $50 for 20 lbs of cherries – what a deal, oh yeah, I already said that.   Anyhow, we know what we’ll be doing next week – canning, canning, canning and canning! I figure we make a batch of preserves and sliced peaches in syrup (great on top of sour cream pound cake made with our duck eggs) And if there are still leftovers after that, then maybe some peach wine.

Also it’s time to go down in the cellar and dust off the drying racks to dry some of the backyard’s bounty.  

Water reclamation

Water Wise

The guys temporarily rigged up a pipe that attaches to the house to divert the laundry water into the fruit trees that are along the driveway wall. Before the water would drain out into a 55 gallon drum, but that just got to cumbersome to handle. Eventually the pipe will be placed underground once all the work on the roof is complete and we can then divert our attentions to the mulched driveway.   Tearing out the driveway a few summers back has certainly made quite a difference (cooling the south side of the house considerably), retain the rainfall on the property and growing space for an assortment of fruit trees and veggies.

Deodorant Recipes

I see there’s interest in making deodorant (sorry, forgot to link to the recipe — that’s what happens when you are busy, I suppose)

If you can’t make your own, we find thatThe Crystal (made from mineral salts) works just as well and lasts forever (well, actually, two years)

Here are a few recipes for deodorant powder, splash or stick.
I usually make this recipe:
Herbal Deodorant Stick
——– ———— ——————————–
1 1/2 teaspoons beeswax
1/2 tablespoon cocoa butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon thyme eo
1/2 teaspoon rosemary eo
1/2 teaspoon lavender eo
3 drops castor oil

Melt the beeswax over a doubleboiler. Add cocoa butter.
When melted add oils. Stir and mix thoroughly, then pour into an empty
deodorant stick container (wash out a used one!) Let cool & set.

No Comments

  1. Joshua says:

    What do you dehydrate with? Have you tried a solar dehydrator? I would like to try building one soon to use.