IMG_8563IMG_8565 IMG_8579 IMG_8592 IMG_8594 I can’t exactly remember the last time it rained. I suppose it might have been just before I posted this update on the gardens at the beginning of July. That would have been over six weeks ago now. Since then the solar pump coming from the ponds died and died again and something in the pallet garden took full advantage of our weakened plants because it is all gone. The tomatillos, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers were completely eaten by some large and hungry pest.

The chicken field fared just a bit better. We harvested the popcorn which had taken a beating but still gave a bit. The yellow summer squash is singing its final farewell. And the okra, well, if we can keep the ants away they seem completely unfazed. I must remember to plant okra in June, if nothing else.

But what I really meant to tell you about today was rain. It is hard to put into words what water is to a homestead in a dry land. You can go weeks and months without it before hearing the sweet sound of raindrops on a tin roof. And when it comes, it is a celebration of gratitude.

The skies here are so intense, much like the extremes in climate we feel through every season. With dark clouds on the horizon we all ran out to the clothesline to bring in baskets and baskets of clean laundry. And when that was said and done and the first drops pinged off the roof, the children gathered around windows to watch the rain.

Stewart and I just sat and soaked in the break in the heat, the silence coming from the children, and the first rain we’ve seen in I don’t know how many weeks.

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Planning for…. the fall garden. We ordered just a few seed packets after taking inventory. We’ll be starting flats of greens and herbs, working beds for root vegetables, and trying to focus on really improving a few spaces.

Finally realizing… that maybe we’ve stretched it all too thin. Our two major garden spaces are both in need of a lot of soil improvement and production is always compromised because of this. Paring back and refocusing seems a common theme these days.

IMG_8433Eating and drinking… simple meals in this heat, but this beverage is a revelation to me. I’m a longtime lover of water kefir but just recently I started culturing 100% fruit juice with the grains. This cranberry-apple combination might be the best thing I’ve ever sipped – and those bubbles and probiotics! Also, this fermented salsa on… anything!

Preparing for… winter on triple digit days. Strange, I know, but firewood is a must especially when we’re looking at adding another bundle come January.

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Working on… a lot of personal care, soap, and sourdough recipes for Cultures for Health. Our freelance work ebbs and flows with the seasons and our clients’ needs but our gratitude for this work and what it allows us seems constant.

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Enjoying… spending a morning with this little lady. Fun doesn’t even begin to describe her vivaciousness and willingness to “hewp mama”. This morning it was testing out some Melt and Pour Soap recipes on a rare morning when Ruthie had plans elsewhere.

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Watching… Daddy and his boys put together a bench to go along with the first table we’ve all been able to fit around in 3.5 years!

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Loving… these two. If ever there were two more opposite people, as they say… but somehow I always find her helping him to fill the watering can, knocking on his office door, by his side whenever possible. Something about fathers and daughters, they also say.