I know sometimes it seems as though you are repeating what you have accomplished because getting off the grid is about taking what you have at the moment and preserving it, sometimes the crop that is mature and you are harvesting is more than one days work but many weeks work as the fruit or vegetable ripens. Repeats.
As I mentioned in my previous post :http://getoffthegrid2.blogspot.com/2016/07/finding-balance-getting-off-grid.html I am into the tomato harvest but after calculating the cost I am now leaning more to what I know I usually buy and maxing out on that for the moment.
That is salsa. All through the year we have taco salads, tacos, red beans and rice and many more dishes that I use salsa in. The smallest jars of salsa at the dollar stores are one dollar and the pint jars costing from two dollars and more at the grocery store.
With the canning jars being around eight dollars a case, I sowed and raised my own tomatoes and bell peppers and I got the onions extremely cheap it is cost effective for me to make those widely used condiment.
Time consuming? Yes. Most of the time used in canning is the peeling but after that is over the process is fast and easy. I made seven pints in Sunday.
My recipe is here :http://getoffthegrid2.blogspot.com/2016/06/canning-tomatoes-and-salsa-getting-off.html
But its also time to harvest those herbs, for food and medicine.
After having a wonderful crop of blackberries this year I also learned the benefits of using the leaves for tea, with the berries gone there is still a use for those bushes, harvesting leaves! I pick a handful and lay them on my pie racks and allow them to air dry and then I store them inside a mason jar whole.
I also sowed seeds for sage this year, it is beginning to get leaves to harvest, I pick, dry whole and store in a mason jar, why whole? I leave all the goodness for cooking that is still inside the leaves, even dried. Same for the basil.
Now for the spearmint, I have so much that its creeping across the steps and blocking entry into the house so I will cut the entire stems filled with leaves and I will hang them to air dry. ( FYI - I grow mint all around the front porch and I don`t have a big mosquito problem, seems they don`t like it)
What is new on the homestead? Cucumbers! I had planned to put them into the ground but I may leave them in the large flower pots and see how that will work. And more yellow squash was sown a couple days ago. I am sure that it will produce before frost since both are fast growing plants.
I would like to share something that happened late yesterday.
I walk daily, if possible, and I take the dogs with me because they love to get out of the back yard. One on a leash because he tends to do his own thing and run off, one walks with me with no problems.
As I passed the dried up corn crop I checked on the eggplants and new peppers put in last month to see if I needed to water them but they were fine. The bell pepper plants that I put in last Spring were in sire need of water.
The ground was so dry, seems like what little rain we get dries up quickly in the extreme daily heat that is nearing 100° or more.
There was this one dark cloud in the sky with the evening sunshine and I looked up and I said " Please God let it rain here" and I continued my 30 minute walk with the dogs. I put the dogs in the back yard, cleaned their water buckets and gave them fresh water and dog food. I drug the water hose down to the garden area, the bell peppers are in the first section and I can water them by hose, and began to water the wilted plants.
I heard something behind me and looked over at the tin shed. I did not see anything and turned back to my watering.
But then it got louder and the next thing I know it pouring down rain! Sunshine and rain. My garden was getting water from the heavens. I looked up into the rain while standing in the garden with a watering hose in hand and said " Thank you!"
The rain felt good on my hot skin and I stood and enjoyed a mid July rain.
By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry