Independence Day is over for another year. We don't set off fireworks, although sometimes our son brings his here to shoot off. They have ordinances against it in most of the towns around us and you can get a pretty stiff fine if you decide to do it, anyway. Of course, most of these same towns have fireworks displays, so it's not like they have a problem with the noise, the mess, the congregation of people. They just don't trust fireworks in the hands of The Ordinary Citizen. Considering some of the dumb and stupid things a lot of people do, I don't know that I blame them, but then if you stop someone from doing one dumb and stupid thing, it seems like they find a way to do something else dumb and stupid. You just can't protect people from themselves and unfortunately, you can't protect innocent people from them, either. Many times it involves a huge expenditure in rescue efforts that we all have to pay for, and that kinda hacks me off. I don't know what the solution is for that problem.
We are not within the city limits here and so we are not regulated by many of the laws that are on the books for those who live in town. And that includes the shooting off of fireworks. People that live in town can buy a permit for that, but there are so many restrictions on it that it usually turns out to just be a waste of money. The permit is only good for the one day. No fireworks within so many feet of the nearest building, not in the street, not in a public park, not on someone else's property. It begins to sound like Dr. Seuss wrote the law while he was eating his Green Eggs And Ham. So a lot of people that live in town shoot off fireworks "illegally". They realize the police can't be everywhere, and if some neighbor calls in a complaint, the most they'll do is a drive-by, and that's only if they aren't too busy, and by then the offender has either shot off all they had, or they're, like, exploding something intermittently.
I've always had better things to spend my money on than something you light up, it explodes, and then you're done. I get enough of that kind of behavior from my computer. And I guess I must not be very easy to entertain, because I find a lot of things most Americans call "having a good time" boring. Even so, I've bought fireworks in the past and I've attended many fireworks displays with children and grandchildren so they can have that happy memory. My children are now "middle aged", my grandchildren are "Milleniums", and my great-grandchild and step-grandchildren have a lot of people in line that are related closer to them than I am. I find one of the true advantages to being in the generation that I am is that I don't have to sit through another fireworks display, another soccer game, another karate tournament, or spend a hot and sweaty evening at Kiddie Park, unless I really, truly, want to.
Hubs and I just did our normal routine during the day. I baked bread. I use two bread machines and make two batches at the same time. But now and then, especially in the winter, I will just make one batch. We love it when it's fresh out of the oven and in the winter, the heat of the oven warms the kitchen so that it's all cozy and smelling good in there. Each batch of bread has 3 cups of freshly-ground whole wheat flour and 2 cups of white enriched flour in it. So that makes it 60% whole grain and this is a lot more whole wheat than is in most commercial "wheat breads". If the package says "wheat bread", it doesn't mean "WHOLE wheat". That enriched flour that white bread is made of is still wheat, you know. Most likely the "wheat bread" you buy at the store, thinking you're getting something healthier than white bread, is made of the very same stuff the white bread is, just made to look that brown color with caramel coloring. Read the labels and know what they mean according to the FDA. You might be surprised. Also keep in mind that the ingredients are listed in the order of quantity. What's first on the list is mostly what's in the product. Anything towards the end is there in tiny amounts just so they can say it's in there. I looked on the wrapper of the bread Hubs always buys, and there was whole wheat flour and barley flour on the list of ingredients. But they were 'way down on the list, after yeast and butter. In fact, the butter was asterisked and the comment connected to it said, "A negligible amount". So there ya go. I pointed all this out to Hubs and told him, he might as well just buy white bread because it's cheaper. White bread plus a little caramel coloring is what he's getting, anyway. But Hubs will do whatever he wants. It's A Man Thing.
Other ingredients in my everyday bread recipe are 3 tablespoons each of sugar (or honey) and olive (or coconut) oil. 1 and 3/4 cups of water. 1 tbsp. yeast. Around here, about all you can find in the stores is Red Star yeast. That was what my mother used because it was the only brand stores carried around here THEN, too. But lately I've been using SAF instant yeast, which I bought on Amazon, several one-pound packages at a time to get the best deal, and I really think it makes better bread. I keep my yeast in the freezer. A teaspoon of salt goes in last, on top of the flour. All that goes into a bread machine that makes a 2-pound loaf. I run it on the dough cycle, unplug it after it's quit kneading. It's warm enough already in there for the bread to rise. After the rise, I punch it down and form it into round, flattened "patties", about the size and thickness of big biscuits, let it rise and then bake. In summer I take the pans of buns out to the "canning stove" in the garage and bake them in the convection oven that is in that stove. These are perfect for eating as a bun, slicing in half and toasting, or used as a hamburger or sandwich bun. They are really good with Sloppy Joe or Tuna Salad filling. I freeze the extra and thaw a few at a time as I need them. Freezing is OK for homemade bread, but don't refrigerate it because it coarsens the texture. I don't know why. It has something to do with Chemistry -- molecule chains or something.
We thought about spending the evening on our patio to watch the skies light up with fireworks over neighboring houses. But it was hot. The mosquitoes were thick. And we were tired. So we went upstairs, had our showers and pulled on our jammies. I fell asleep during some TV program and I remember hearing one big "Thhhhwonk" outside, like a rocket launcher, but Hubs tells me I missed the jets that went overhead really low (there was some kind of a thing in town), and all the rest of the artillery. By then I guess I was making my own explosive noises.
Hubs and I did a little work outside this morning and now we're in for the day. He fixed one of the gates and I went out to the garden and emptied out probably twenty or so big black bags full of leaves so they can act as mulch in the garden. Rain always gets into those bags, somehow, and by the time I'm ready to empty them out, the contents of part of the bag are always wet, making the bag heavy, and then the sun has beaten down on them since we left them there last fall such that the bag has disintegrated enough to just split apart as it is being picked up. All in all, a pretty dirty job. I was really glad to find the little tick that was crawling on me after I had finished, before he found a place to dig in. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but Carole told me she has a "tick spoon" and that it works really well. Of course I am never able to find anything that's new and different in this area. I go and ask and they just look at me like I'm an idiot. And then they gripe because everybody goes elsewhere to shop, and wonder why that is. Heeeeeeeeere's Your Sign..... But anyway, you can get it on Amazon HERE. I've got it in my "shopping cart" but I haven't needed to buy anything else yet and it's just $6. Seems like, though, you could take a plastic spoon and cut a notch in it, maybe that would work. And then you could spend your $6 on something else. Heh.
While I was out there I saw that some of the Crosby Egyptian beets were ready to pick.
I still haven't made up my mind whether I'll grow this variety of beet again. There's one thing I don't like about them and that's that they aren't as deep red as I'd like. I roasted these in the oven (just cut off the tops and the roots, rub olive oil on them, and bake in foil for 30-60 minutes at 375º. I baked mine at 350 because I also baked Hubs an Applesauce Cake. It needs to bake for almost an hour so that's good use of the oven. An oven rack is a terrible thing to waste.
I've eaten two before this. One of them was red on the outside, and when I cut into it, it was WHITE inside! Tasted like a beet, but seemed a little on the "strong" side. Of these that I pulled today, there was one that showed white flecks when I cut off the top. After it cooked, it was lighter in color than the others. As you can see, the one I cut into today was not as deeply red as a Detroit Red or a Bull's Blood would have been. And they lost very little color during the roasting process. Normally when I can beets, I boil them in water long enough so they can be easily peeled. Even with roots and tops unbroken, they lose color in the water. And then there's what they lose in the liquid that's in the jar with them. I just don't think these beets have enough color, to begin with, to survive all that. For sure, they would need to be roasted instead of boiled in order to preserve as much color as possible.
I also checked the onions that I pulled before the Fence Crew got here, and the earliest-pulled (on the bottom two tiers) had dried enough that I could cut off the tops and get them ready to store.
These are the onions I bought at Wal-Mart, as sets rather than bundles of little plants. There should be a white sweet, that doesn't keep very well, a red sweet, and a yellow keeper. These are mostly baseball size and smaller. A few bigger, but not many. I pulled these from the raised bed that is between the outside of the yard fence and Hubs' workshop, because I knew the Fence Crew would be up in those beds and walking all over everything. But the onions were done, anyway, pushing themselves up out of the ground, with their greens all crimped over and laying flat. Since I had a couple of trays emptied, I went out to the garden to see if any of the onions out there were ready, and there was a little more than enough to fill the trays up again.Hubs decided to start working on getting the chicken wire fastened to the bottom of the new fence. I'd really rather use hardware cloth, which, for those who don't know, is not cloth at all but is kinda like screen wire on steroids. It comes in different sizes, meaning the little "squares" of the "screen" are bigger or smaller. HERE's pictures of some on Amazon if you want to see. But hardware cloth is expensive and chicken wire is much more affordable, doesn't last as long, though. But we already had some from when we took the chicken yard down. Use it up, wear it out, ..... I went out and helped him. I just ask him, "What can I do for you?" and as long as he behaves himself and asks for something appropriate, I am more than willing to do whatever he needs. So we got all the way along the back and halfway down one side before he ran out of fasteners. By that time the heat index was getting pretty high. We don't stay out in that. I've stayed out in the heat until I've gotten dizzy before, and have paid for it by feeling sick all the next day. Won't do that again.
Oh, and I wanted you to see this:
Sunday, July 6:
Oh, and I wanted you to see this:
Sunday, July 6:
I spent the rest of the day doing day-to-day stuff. We've accumulated enough ripe tomatoes that it's either do something with them or give them away, so I cut up enough of them to fill the spaghetti pot. I have been using a process that produces both tomato juice and tomato puree with only enough cooking to soften the tomato. Two spaghetti pots full of cut-up tomatoes yields a little more than 7 quarts juice and 2 quarts of nice thick, not overcooked, tomato puree. When I first heard about this method, the people doing it were cooking their tomatoes, running them through a sieve, then pouring the resulting liquid back into the pot and waiting for it to "settle". Then they'd pour off the "water", and I think some of them were actually pouring this "water" down the drain, and they would then add their spices and herbs to the pulp that had settled to the bottom. I don't do it quite this way.
Hubs worked on the gates this morning while I messed around in the garden. I picked our first small batch of Fortex beans.
I was going to pick Provider bush beans, too, but by the time I got around to them, it was misting-almost-raining and my dad always used to say not to pick beans while the plant is wet because that encourages disease. I don't know if he was right or not but it was a rule he always followed.
I noticed there were some blackberries on the Doyle plants that were ready to pick:
And, oh, LOOK! I've got a dipper gourd already!
Remember the raspberry plant I bought at Tractor Supply last spring, and I rooted a piece I cut off it to get an extra plant?
I actually rooted a second piece, but it died shortly after it was transplanted. But hey. Two for the price of one will work for me. I can root more next spring, or maybe even this fall when the weather cools some.
Then I decided to cut dill umbels before the seed scatters itself out into the garden and gives me another glut of plants to have to tear out like I had to do this spring. And guess who I found?
Am I right that this worm is the larvae of the Monarch Butterfly? Well, if that's true, my dill is feeding several. I moved this one to an umbel that wasn't ripe yet, but all the others were in better places so I left them undisturbed.
This day was my appointment with Dr. Finley in Tulsa. Have I said enough times how much I HATE to go to Tulsa? The appointment was for 3:25 and we didn't get out of there till 5:30. It started to rain about the time we got there and everybody's cellphones went off with flash flood warnings. Dr. Finley was well pleased with the way my right eye has healed since he performed the epiretinal membrane peel, and he said my left eye, since I have 20/20 vision from it now that I've had cataract surgery, is not at the point yet where it needs to have anything done. Good news.
We beat it for home as soon as we were finished there, not wanting to hang around and risk getting caught in high water somewhere. It was raining steadily but not torrential, but we were in rush hour traffic so we felt much relief when we got out on the open highway and even better than that once home.
Woke up to a steady rain. We've had over an inch because the bullet tank beside the garage was overflowing. I'm grateful for this good rain without the drama of high winds and/or lightning. It will allow me to spend my time at some effort other than watering and save $$ on my water bill. Plus this cool night we are to have will encourage more flowers on the tomato plants, which stop blooming when the weather's hot. Pennies From Heaven, if you will....
I repotted some geraniums and set out some begonias into the ground from pots. They are just more than I can take care of when they're in pots. I've lost some of them, they will have a better chance in the ground. Cuttings taken this fall will easily root in water for next year.
Here are a few random pictures:
HERE's what Laurie Neverman at Common Sense Homesteading has to say about it. I like her Weekly Weeder series. HERE is more information, from Natural News Magazine. It has a lot of medicinal qualities, is habitat for beneficial insects, maybe a "trap crop" for leaf-eaters like grasshoppers, plus we love the Goldfinches and Blue Buntings and they love the seeds, and quite a little show-stopper, visually. What more could you ask? Well worth allowing to grow, in my book.
Well, I see your cup is empty. Time for me to let you go. Rock on.... Hugs