making Ghee

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of canning butter, make and can up ghee instead.  Basically glorified clarified butter, you heat the butter so the solids separate and let it continue to heat so the water is evaporated off. skim off the stuff that floats  (easier when the stuff has cooled off. then reheat and skin off what ever comes up, if anything), ladle the clear oil into hot dry jars and seal, and leave behind the mess at the bottom of the pot. No further processing is necessary.  Ghee does not go rancid, has a long shelf life, and gives butter flavor when cooking without smoking.  Some people use it as a skin oil (not me though, so no experience with that).   I heated the jars and lids in the oven rather than with water as the idea is to keep water out of it. This was five lbs of sweet butter.  You can also use salted, and expect a lot of the salt to remain behind with the solids.  When butter is on sale buy it up and make ghee.




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end of june

Not the garden I’d hoped for this year, but, this year is far from over

garden2Rhubarb looking good.  The plant on the right was struggling, but has bounced back

garden3Flower garden doing better than ever.  I like the flowers as they attract pollinators.  Unfortunately, did not include a picture of my Bee Balm which is doing very well

garden4Guess this is some kind of Poppy. and there are a several other plants in this picture, including some Hyssop

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no picture update

Trouble with my zucchini and spaghetti squash seedlings equals poor plants.  And before the zucchini had a chance to recover, we zoomed into the upper 90’s / low 100’s.  Plant growth shut down.  Did plant some additional seeds, 5 or 6 to be exact.  3 sprouted, and one was eaten.  as I saw it was being attacked, fenced it in, but the fence was dug under and the plant eaten completely.

Of the 4 spaghetti squash seedlings, only one survived.  Planted 5 more seeds there, but only 2 sprouted.

Meanwhile, neighbors are keeping me supplied with summer squash. First gardening season, planted it all at once so they are swamped now and it will be over before they’ve frozen one piece!  yes, I’ve told her to FREEZE since she doesn’t can.

Second planting of chard hasn’t shown one sprout, so while we were out and about running errands, tried to find some chard seedlings.  No luck, but did find some butternut squash seedlings.  Pulled out my snow peas and planted the squash.

My third planting of bush beans is sprouting nicely. My pole beans are climbing their poles. The Wet spring gave us a very generous yield of purslane, we’ve been eating it twice a week. Today cooked some for the first time in a cream sauce with penne and grilled chicken.

Was given several pounds of apricots.  Gave some away along with instructions on how to make freezer preserves. While this is the first year I’m not the only veggie gardener in the neighborhood, I am still the only canner . . .  I seeded the apricots, added cherries and some apple puree to make fruit leather.  Unfortunately, let the mix burn so carefully poured off what I could, but that meant I lost a lot too.  Still a few apricots left.  If no one wants them, will just dry them.

Clouds this morning and there is talk of rain by next week.  Monsoons don’t usually hit here until early/mid July.  I’m working through what is in my water tanks, so it can’t come too soon for me!

My B’day present is here

No more putting our clippings and trimmings in the trash!  Clean up from our wood gatherings for the wood stove.  Mulch for the garden beds!!  I’m so excited! 

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garlic and shallots


garden1 not a lot of garlic, but there are only two of us and some of these are pretty decent size. Despite the weird color shift on the photo and lack of reference, the bigger bulbs are about 2” diameter and are from garlic purchased at the farmers market in the fall.  The small ones on the right are from Seeds of Change, Persian star is the variety

garden2Why grow onions when you can grow shallots.  From 1/2 lb purchased at the health food store two years ago, have 5lbs.  The first year’s growth was to create the starts that grew into this harvest.  This spring, bought some for spring planting, there were 8 good bulbs from the package of 12, and I’d say I’ve got enough “starts” out there for 20!  They’ll be this fall’s planting for next spring’s harvest.

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from cool and wet, to upper 90’s – literally overnight.  Tapping into the rainwater to take care of the garden.  Found this little sweetie among the purslane this morning.  I say it’s a gopher snake, someone I know disagrees, says it’s a night snake.  Notice it is NOT night!  Besides, I know this baby’s Mama.  It’s a gopher snake

garden1             garden2

Best year for purslane EVERY!  Last year was good, but this is insane! Remember, this is hot and dry AZ, not the moist forests of the NE or SE.  unfortunately, I let the morning glory be and last night clipped some of the purslane for our salad, and while chopping it up, realized there was a morning glory leaf in there too!!

meanwhile, the rhubarb is looking good, beans are forming on the first planting of bush beans, tomatoes and zucchini are forming. Something is eating the potato plants, just bare stems sticking up instead of lush foliage.  Neighbor gave us SEVEN summer squash the other day, and supposing some of our other neighbors got similar bounty.  This is the generous neighbor’s first garden, and they planted a lot all at once, no staggering the plantings.  Will they be surprised when its all done in a month and they have none in the freezer or anything.  Oh well, that’s how we learn

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There be FIGS!

or at least there might be!  Have several of these forming on my little up and coming fig tree.  I’m excited!


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B’day present ordered

My birthday request has been honored – I’m getting a chipper/shredder!  We do the wood burning thing, and always have small bits left behind, as well as misc. stuff from the trees depending on the time of year.  Usually we fill garbage cans with this stuff, but now we can make our own mulch and add to our garden beds instead of the land fill!  Can’t tell you how excited this makes me!!

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