.....that I made yogurt by simply leaving the 1/2 gallon jar of milk (with a cup of starter added) on the porch. Who needs a fancy electric yogurt incubator when you're hovering around 110 degrees? And, I might add, that it was the best batch I've made to date. Thick (well, thick like store bought anyhow) and delicious! I still strained it though because I prefer "Greek Style" yogurt. Of course, I'll probably not be able to duplicate my success.
We don't have a solar oven, but days like this make me wonder if it's worthwhile making one. I may have to look that up and see if there are any easy recipes for first time solar oven users. I also wish I had a bunch of produce to dry as the temperature and complete lack of moisture in the air would make it a perfect time for dehydrating stuff outside.
On upside to this oven-like weather is that my laundry dries in like a half hour, no joke! I usually have to wait between wash loads because I don't have that much line space, but by time the wash cycle is finished, the clothes on the line from the previous load have dried.
The animals are surviving the heat by utilizing whatever shade they can find. The goats hunker down under the barn and Ms. Melman and Nugget hang out under a stand of oak trees. The chickens dig themselves little craters in the dirt under the gone-crazy-wild forsythia bushes. There isn't much running around or happening during the hottest part of the day and I don't blame them. I've tried spraying down the chickens and goats, but nobody seemed to appreciate my attempts of cooling them down. Evil Kitty was outside for an undetermined amount of time this weekend and when she made it know that she most definitely wanted to come inside (by meowing and batting at the front window) she came and sat down on the cool tile and panted for several minutes. I had no idea that cats could pant.
Even though Nettie seems to have fared well after her bout with bloat, milk production from the two goats is down by about half. Assuming because they aren't venturing out during the day to eat hay. Even Annette, who is a major porker when it comes to grain, is leaving some in her food bowl during milking. The chickens are also on a heat-strike. Our daily-dozen average has dwindled down to only three or four eggs a day.
Oh, and speaking of the Goat Bloat, I think I may know what caused it. About two days before I noticed Nettie acting lethargic, I was weeding the garden and tossing the greenery over the fence into the goat pen. And almost all of the weeds that day were morning glories. I did a little bit of online research on plants poisonous to goats and there was mention that they either were or could be poisonous. But I have to take that information with a grain of salt as I've also read that oak leaves were poisonous to goats (and my goats eat TONS of them every year). If it was in fact the morning glories that did it, I'm assuming the reason Annette and Chop Suey didn't get sick is because Nettie is pretty bossy when fresh greens come her way and she probably got 90% of them.
There are a few things that seem to be doing well in this weather; wasps, bald faced hornets and grasshoppers. So the wasps and hornets are pissy and constantly dive-bombing me when I'm in the barn and the grasshoppers are eating whatever greenery there is left. Nice, hugh? So not only am I dripping with sweat when I'm out there, but there are stinging insects trying to inflict pain upon me.
I also noticed something interesting from our lack of rainfall. The grasses were the first to turn brown, then the hops clover and some other weedy shallow-rooted plants, but the lespedzia I see around the roadsides and the few we have popping up on the homestead are still nice and green. We were discussing planting lespedzia in the soon-to-be pasture and now knowing how well it fared in this extreme drought I'm now certain that we'll plant it.
And on a good note, we bumped into our hay guy yesterday at the feed store and he said he does have our hay and he should have it to us in the next few days. I know he promised me over the phone, but just seeing him in person makes me feel a little better about it. I'll still wait until the hay is on the trailer do the happy dance though.