Another dry summer day

None of the predicted rain has found our farm in weeks and weeks. The grass is brown and crispy to walk on. Last weekend the temperature was mild for summer, but the heat is back. Today was HOT. We packed up the grand and headed for a location less than an hour from here that has a natural swimming hole at the base of a falls area. Depending on which sign you passed, it was either Dismal Falls, or the Falls of Dismal. The falls were so dry they was very little water going over. This is the image we were expecting.

This is what we saw.

I waded to upper thigh deep, Grandson 1 went all in. There were two pools deep enough for him to dunk all the way under by squatting down, but it was a nice walk in and back out, though the GPS took us well past where we should have been.

This morning before it got hot, I did a garden harvest, bringing in Cape Gooseberry (Ground Cherries), Tomatillos, Tomatoes, and a few cucumbers. After our trip, I decided to make a batch of Ground Cherry Jam. The recipe called for 3 cups of fruit, I had only harvested 2, so back out into the heat, I harvested another cup. I expected 3 cups of fruit, a cup of sugar, and the lemon juice to make at least two cups of jam. It only made 1 1/2 cups.

After dinner tonight, since the pot was still on the stove and still hot, I pulled out the tomatillos from the freezer, added enough to today’s harvest to make a pound and made 3 cups of Tomatillo/Jalapeno/Lime jam.

I hope the reusable lids sealed better this time.


This year’s garden has not been the success of past years. The peas gave us fresh peas to eat, but few made it to the freezer. The first crop of bush beans provided quite a number of meals fresh and some are in the freezer and the second crop is about to bloom. I hope the bean beetles are done with their work and will let this crop grow. This morning, I pulled the dry skins from the onions to prep them for storage. About 1/3 of the crop are already mushy and will go straight to the compost pile. A handful are salvagable if I use them quickly. But there are onions to go on the hardware cloth shelf in the non climate controlled part of the basement.

The trash
Use them fast
Spread out to store

Last evening after dinner, I went out to weed and harvest what I could. The ground cherries are forming and beginning to drop and as they do, they are being husked and frozen until there are enough for a batch of jam. The tomatillos are the same, forming and freezing until enough are gathered for simmer sauce and Tomatillo/Jalapeno/Lime jam. I planted determinate tomatoes this year as I started them to be controllable in granddaughter’s garden. The six I gave them failed and they ended up with indeterminate ones purchased from the nursery to have to deal with, but that means all of my tomatoes will ripen at about the same time. As they begin to ripen, they too are being frozen to make the skins easier to remove and to save up enough to can in batches of pizza sauce, pasta sauce, or diced tomatoes. The bucket was about half full of those goodies and several cucumbers. This is the first year we have gotten useable peaches from our tree. I brought in a basket full of them to eat and to make a batch of peach jam. After lunch, the canner pot was lifted down from it’s high shelf, the peaches peeled and chopped and 4 half pints of jam made. While it was canning, 3 pints of garlic dill pickle slices were packaged and they followed in the canner.

The popcorn is tasselling nicely and the squash underneath look healthy. They are a short vined mini hubbard style squash, but they are all developing long necks which makes me question whether they were properly packaged, but they are a winter squash and should keep well.

The one thing that is thriving is kale and hubby doesn’t really care for it.

Oh Boy, stick a fork in me…

…I’m totally done. Done staining, done in. Last night was a sleep is optional night, I may have slept for 3 hours, but was awake when it was light and it was cool out, so I donned my painting clothes, dug through old deck stain until I found a gallon and a half of penetrating oil stain, grabbed a couple of brushes, stirred up the stain with the stirring attachment to the power drill, and tackled the coop. Here is a before picture.

The wood was so dry it soaked up a gallon and a quarter of stain. My efforts put me in a rather uncomfortable spot trying to get the peak on the pop door side, it is too high to reach from the ground because of the slope. The step stool was not level, the end with legs pushed down into the ground. That end of the coop sits on several cinder blocks while the other end is only on a thin half block. And the pop door side is the side that has a fencing roof over the pen that doesn’t go all the way to the coop roof, just high enough for us to slip in to open and close the pop door. The sides you see above are the east and south sides and lack any real overhang. When the coop has to be resided in a few years, I hope we can remedy that.

This is after on the west side. To do the coop, I had to hold the gallon can in my right hand while I stained with my left because everytime I set it down, the hens came running over to see what kind of goodies I had in the bucket. My arms are spent. Hopefully, my efforts will give this siding a couple more years before it has to be replaced.

A google search indicates we shouldn’t let the dogs go across the stained porch floor for 24 to 48 hours and Ranger, the Mastiff is still resistent to going through the garage. He goes to the barrier at the porch and just looks at me like why don’t you move it for me. I would be happier if the dogs would learn to use the garage, utility room access and egress regularly, it would keep muddy feet off the front porch and the wood floor in the living room.

Tomorrow we are expecting thunderstorms. If there is any energy left in this body today, the furniture will be swept free of spider webs and dog hair, scrubbed free of bird droppings and ready to carefully carry back on to the porch tomorrow between storms.

I meant to get paint to repaint the old milk can that sits on the front porch and forgot earlier today when we went out for a little while. We also need to get paint to repaint both sides of all the exterior doors, it has been a decade since they were done. That will take a whole day to accomplish and has to be done on a dry day that is cool enough to leave the doors ajar while they dry. It will get done eventually, but before cold weather so the house looks fresh and well maintained for the upcoming autumn weather ahead.

The spider plants are back outside, tomorrow, the rest of the houseplants will join them. The fan is reassembled, the decorative birdhouses hung.

And I climbed the 8 foot ladder to reach up and rehang my terra cotta Sun face that was a gift from my Sis a long time ago.

We bought a new door mat and a matching 4 by 6 foot runner to go from the door mat to the edge of the porch to try to reduce the wear on that high traffic area. It can’t go down until tomorrow evening when it has been 48 hours since staining was done. New mats and furniture will complete the task and the porch will be usable again and the exterior maintenance other than mowing and weeding if it ever really rains again.