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Wow. It’s November already. Tomorrow the clock in my car will be right again.

We had a hot, unusually dry summer, which resulted in drought conditions. I actually saw a lawn and a hay field burning, which were new ones for me. As you might imagine, maintaining the garden was a challenge too, although we did have an exceptional carrot and Roma tomato harvest. We didn’t fare as well with the peppers or cukes. Or squash. Or beets.

But in spite of the weather, for the first time, our oldest tree produced over a bushel of apples. I think I’ve made enough apple butter, apple cider vinegar and frozen enough apple pies to survive the apocalypse.

On the flip side, this fall has been unusually wet. I’ve already been forced to trade my shit shoes for my shit boots to tend to the chickens.

Speaking of chickens, we lost one of them to a dog in early summer. The dog raced up and down the fence line, causing them to panic, and one of the smaller, lighter hens managed to fly up and over the 6′ high top rail. I shot a couple of rounds over the dogs head, but it didn’t even blink, so I called the police, because chicken killing is serious shit in rural communities. Two cars were dispatched, because we apparently have no crime more important to tend to. As the dog laid down to dine, the younger officer asks “You don’t happen to have any dog treats in the house do you?” I rolled my eyes and replied “Nothing he’s going to want more than that chicken.”

The dog warden was called and the owners located. I was shocked at how far it had traveled to get here. The owners assured me it won’t happen again, but it’s a Husky, and there is no doubt in my mind it will come back as soon as it has the opportunity.

The house is much quieter without Ruby. I always blamed Diesel for the chaos, but I now realize she was the instigator. I would do anything to have one more day to cuddle with her. And I mean Pet Sematary kind of shit. Just for one more day.

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Homemade Mulberry Vinegar

While I’m not new to fermenting, I am new to making fruit vinegars, so I’m pretty excited about this weeks project, homemade Mulberry vinegar.

Each of these quart jars holds 1 c of freshly picked (and rinsed) mulberries, 2 c of filtered water and 1/2 tsp of raw, organic sugar.

The process is simple; just put the fruit in a sanitized one quart mason jar and top with a glass fermenting weight, pushing down slightly to bruise the berries. Add your water and sugar, wipe the rim of the jar clean, place a coffee filter over the opening and hold it in place with a canning ring or rubber band.

Put the jar in a dark cupboard and check it every couple of days.

Skim off any Kahm yeast that develops. This is what mine looked like before I skimmed it off this morning –>

Let the vinegar ferment for 8 weeks, then strain through a clean coffee filter (or several layers of cheesecloth) into a clean bottle and cap it. Let it rest another 4 weeks, then strain again and it’s ready to use.

I’m going to use this, not only as a marinade for things like sliced cucumbers, but as an ingredient in homemade salad dressing, using equal parts of organic olive oil, vinegar and local raw honey.

I hope it tastes as good as it smells.

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Things That Made Me Smile Today

garlic scapessummer squashbeet greens

clematisroma tomatoescelery

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Who would have thought that I would miss white dog hair on my clothes?

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Guess What I’m Listening to Right Now?

Go ahead, guess.

The furnace; I’m listening to the bloody furnace running.

Because it’s 40° this morning.

W.T.F.

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Merry Christmas!

You’re welcome. (Keep your eyes on the rooftop Christmas trees.)

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