Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Almost Gone

Where did the summer go? It feels like I was just looking at the pages of calendar days to fill for my kiddos' first summer without Mama at home (feeling a little panicked and a little bummed). Now we're staring down the last few days before school starts up again, and I just can't believe it.

I can't believe we made it through all those days.

I can't believe we were able to work it out.

I can't believe it's almost over.

It just goes to show the truth in that age old adage- time flies. It flies when you're having fun, and it flies when you're not so much. Take it from me... I woke up this morning, and summer is almost gone.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How Hot Is It...?

...hot enough to bake cookies in one's car. And did it work, you might wonder?


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

2018 Honey Harvest

I harvested honey almost all day this past Saturday, y'all... but none of it was from my bees! My poor girls have had a hard year, and I'm actually feeding them right now. I took them down to one deep apiece (or I will once they've finished cleaning everything up), and I've also begun the slow culling process for all that dark, dirty old wax that should have come out of their boxes last season.

In the process of cleaning up some of the culled frames tonight, I made a surprising and happy discovery- a tiny patch of capped honey! I had no idea there was anything "surplus" out there at all. Do you know what this means?!

I got to harvest some of my own honey this year! And I refuse to feel bad that it's only a couple tablespoons, because my girls worked their bee butts off for it and I am soooooooo grateful to have it!

Just about made my day, too. Thanks, girls!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Hot Pepper Weather

We are breaking near-century-old records right now, with consecutive daytime highs passing 108* and 109*F. Everything is suffering, you can see it when you drive down the road- tree leaves are dehydrating, all the animals are invisible, hiding in shady wallows or searching for water... my chickens are panting like dogs, my dog is staying inside like her humans, and the humans scurry from air conditioned space to air conditioned space practically stroking out during the time in between. My garden is turning crispy and brown, despite the irrigation... cantaloupe vines have shriveled, tomatoes are blighted, herbs are all bolted... and my peppers are having the best season ever.

I couldn't believe all the jalapenos, banana peppers, chilies and bells not only surviving but thriving when I took my first walk in the garden once we got back home from our trip. I picked two gallon-sized bags of various peppers and stuck them in the fridge to be dealt with later, then did the same thing the following two weekends in a row. Finally, this weekend, I decided it was time to do something with them all, so I pulled out my old favorite go-to's and my new favorite book and got right on it.

For the majority of the mild/sweet peppers, I've simply been dehydrating them, then putting them through the blender to make a sort of homemade paprika. I love it so hard. I have a spicy version, too, but I don't use it as much. I am already afraid I haven't made enough and I've turned pounds and pounds of sweet banana peppers, purple bells, sweet Carmens and yellow "snacking" peppers into my fav powder.

For a huge percentage of the jalapenos, it's been the fermenting crock for them. I just finished my first round of 'em- a 2-quart jar full- and they've been dehydrating out on my back porch for the last 36 hours. Nice and crispy now, they'll be pulverized with some good sea salt for my second-fav pepper application: jalapeno salt.

For the rest of the bags and bags of the hottest, I blended them into a 'mash' and salted them in layers, to be turned into a base condiment that I'll experiment with in about a month or so when it's nice and sour (think pickled pepper relish).

I also have a 2' long string of drying red chilies for home-grown red pepper flakes, and a homemade version of Tobasco with real Tobasco peppers lined up in the queue. It's a good thing I have an industrial-sized box of latex-free gloves at the ready! It never fails: there is always one bountiful something every year, despite my neglect and my best efforts, and I will always do my best to make the most of it! I'm lovin' this hot pepper weather!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Visiting :: Mexico

Although it's been a couple weeks since we've been back, our big summer trip to Mexico- and the time we spent not being home- is still impacting our day-to-day routine.  We left for Mexico on Monday the 2nd and came home on Sunday the 8th, I went back to work on the 9th, and it's been non-stop ever since. It is amazing how much is still clamoring for my few precious hours at home here and there- animals, gardens, weeds, chores, projects, weeds, more chores... and did I mention the weeds? But oh, the fun we had while we were away...

We went for a beautiful family wedding, made it into a vacation by meeting up with some friends beforehand, and came home having been away just long enough to feel good about being back.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Touching Base

Traveling, work, technical difficulties... sorry about the long silence in this space, friends! When all my last months' worth of photos finish backing up to our new system, I'll come back around and share what we've been up to! For now, stay cool in this awful heat wave and have a great Friday!

On the stories-to-tell list: our trip to Mexico, what's going on in the bee yard, and the further evolution of our newly rearranged indoor living spaces