Monday, July 2, 2012

It was so hot yesterday....

.....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.


  1. I would highly recommend a sun oven. You can even use them in the winter, I have used mine in zero degree temps. If we didnt have that sun oven we would not be eating cooked food now. No way am I starting up the wood cook stove in this heat. Now we all need to figure out how to do the correct rain dance.

  2. I am about as active as your chickens in this heat. I cannot function. Our mosquitoes seem to thrive, however. There are billions of them and I am usually on the mosquito daily menu. Great news on your hay. I know you had a tough time finding it last year. Hay in the barn is almost better than money in the bank. Both would be perfect.

  3. We bought an $8.00 mister that you attach to a hose to cool down our coop. The girls are in the shaded garden during the day, but the coop is hot at night. It helps! I give them ice during the day in the waterers, as it get hot too...

  4. Ha! All those yogurt trials and tribulations and it turns out all you needed was a good heat wave!

    Things are finally letting up a bit here in Denver... meaning that we've had highs around 98-100 rather than 103-105. OY!

    I just posted something about my solar oven and there are links in the post to a site with directions on making various different kinds. It was a great "crazy lady" project and I totally LOVE using it this time of year. Someone also posted a link in the comments section to a site where you can buy them.

  5. Ha! I had to finally give up late today and throw the last of my laundry on the line in the dryer! We had a hot, windless, humid day and for a while I think the clothes were getting wetter rather than dryer out on the line. I would have left them over night, but we have a 70% chance of heavy rains tonight. IF we should be lucky enough to get the rain, I'll send it your way as soon as we're drenched.

  6. Jane, I'm going to try and make one using the pictures of EcoCat lady's oven. Hopefully before winter.

    Susan, mosquitos are one bug that isn't too bad here. Still waiting on the hay. Pins & needles I tell ya!

    Nancy, I'm going to have to look into that mister thing. Seems like eight bucks would be worth it. Assuming our well doesn't go dry!

    EcoCatLady, thanks for the link, I'm going to try to make one just like yours :)

    Mama Pea, crispy dry here, I'm telling ya. Crissssssppeeeee.

  7. They do solar oven demonstrations at the Farmers' Markets here and those things are AMAZING!! You can bake a chicken, bake bread, casseroles and even bake cakes!
    Here in Arizona, it is unlawful to plant morning glories because they will take over the fields and they are toxic to the cattle. Maybe that was Nettie's problem.

  8. such a curious idea, wonder what else can be made in a hot car? I would shy away from anything involving seafood.