After nearly three days without water due to a broken foot valve in our well and the time it took to replace it, we are back in water which quite frankly means we are back in life. There is a part of me that embraces life’s hiccups and challenges as it seems to be the only sure way I can get through my noggin how best to endure such scenarios should they happen again. Something about experience being the best teacher. This particular hiccup happened during a stretch of hot days with record breaking humidity, which if you know about heat and humidity, you know it’s the record breaking humidity – not the heat – that makes things dangerously unbearable. We and our more than 70 animals made it through unscathed, thanks to our nearly 1,000 gallons of stored rainwater and drinking water, a pump to move water to the animals, a Berkey to filter it for the humans, and my trusty little hand-pumped sprayer contraption that we made years ago as a showering and dishwashing backup. Systems fell pretty easily into place that first morning when I awoke to no water from the faucet. By 6:30am I’d heated water from our stored water bricks and added it to the hand-pumped sprayer to wash the remaining sticky dishes from processing peaches the night before. I suppose that was another reminder to get all of my dishes washed before going to bed! At least it was easy to mobilize Plan B so I could take care of them as quickly as possible, before the heat of the day.
The other reminder was the reality that the recommended minimum of 1 gallon per person per day is out the window when you have a lot of animals and are having extreme weather. My general practice is 3 gallons per person per day, but add in preservation season, wicked heat, and a lot of animals, and let’s just say we called in the support of our rainwater catchment pretty quickly.
All in all, things moved along, the well eventually got fixed, harvest was preserved, and animals thrived. We even have a new resident frog living in one of the pigs’ wallows and he’s a pretty cute fella.
This week I’ve been preserving green and wax beans, peas, and tomatoes. So many tomatoes this year and they are ripening earlier than ever. At this point I’ve only canned spaghetti sauce, and this year’s batch is my favorite yet. After a few years of our Vitamix being broken, we finally fixed it which means no more peeling tomatoes! I do remove the seeds, but even that probably isn’t necessary. I bet the Vitamix would pulverize those as well. So easy to just pop them into the machine and have the whole fruit pureed into a smooth, silky, slurry. The richness of flavor and texture is quite noticeable in the finished sauce with this method.
I’ve been going through our extended pantry and getting things dusted, washed, and organized for winter. I do this at least twice a year and it’s proven to be the best way I know of to “inventory” our supplies. Spreadsheets or thorough inventory lists are popular methods for keeping track, but I prefer to regularly have my hands and eyes on things and see for myself where we stand. It is an embarrassingly simple method but it works for me so I stick with it.
We are deep into cricket season with at least one sneaking into the house each day. We escort them out as quickly as possible because they do not know how to use inside voices. Bees and goldfinches have made homes among the golden, sky-reaching sunflowers. The big apple tree has dropped nearly half its bounty which we’ve taken to piling in the wheelbarrow, and parking it next to the pigs. We toss a few in whenever we walk by. There is still plenty on the tree which will be stored in barrels for wintertime treats of sunshine.
Thankfully the oppressive humidity has passed, water has returned to our faucets, harvests continue to roll in, and we are currently enjoying our daughter being home for the week. No matter how grown and independent our kids become, they will always be home when spending time with us. It’s like they have two homes, the one they make on their own and the one that is provided for them whenever they need a soft place to land or the comfort of home cooking. I remember this with my own parents’ home, and am especially thrilled to see the same for our daughter.
In photos and words, this is a bit of what has been happening here over the last week; please know how much I appreciate you stopping by to share in my days. I will be returning to Instagram in September, I believe, but the more that I post here the more reluctant I feel about it. I hope to find a better balance between the two spaces because there is a valuable archival element unique to blogging, and I do not wish for it to fade away. Please stop by again soon, I’ll be sure to leave the light on for you.