solar cooking

In addition to making jerky in the solar oven, did a piece of pork yesterday for making pulled pork.  Set it up early and let it sit in the sun at 200F from about 9am to about 4am.  Since I had a chiropractor appointment this AM, put it back out to warm up so it would be ready to eat when I got home – just had to do a quick veggie and a grain and we were eating.  Came out tender, and was just the right temperature!  Gotta remember this is a real option at this time of year for cooking meals.

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making jerky!

have been making jerky for the dog for years now, both chicken and beef.  The chicken from chicken breast, the beef from both ground beef and from sliced pieces; basically, what ever’s on sale.

This week, decided to try to make jerky for human consumption, and for ease, went with ground sirloin.

Seasoned the meat and using the jerky cannon, made my strips and put them in the dehydrator for 12 hours.  now I’m finishing them in the solar oven and cannot believe the fat that is coming off the strips!  The instruction said to oven dry them for 1.5 hours per side at 200F and that’s how hot the solar oven gets.

They’re pretty tasty.  Will dry them VERY crispy dry, not the chewy dry, as I want to also see how well they keep over the long run when sealed in a vacuum bag.

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weather update

So after the surprise 65F night time low, the next night was 31F!  and even with the covers, pretty much everything under there took a hit from the cold.  Don’t know if they’re dead dead, or just the top leaves and the plants will recover.  Since we’re still have COLD again, will just wait to replant

Even the best laid plans . . .

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thrift shop fines

one can tell if someone has died, or moved, as there will a glut of something at the thrift.   Sometimes its 10 pairs of size 11 shoes, or an entire rack of size 22 high fashion dresses.

Today, it was knitting books.  Picked up just two, at $2 each!  both hardbacks, the swirl coat book I got because the entire swirl coat thing really fascinates me.  Don’t know if I’ll ever knit one, but at least if I want to, I’ll have the patterns to do so.  What I’d really like is a swirl vest.  doubt that its much different, but will require careful thought. 

Meanwhile, the author claims that it requires basic knitting skills and only one seam for the entire coat!


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so much for weather reports

Instead of it being cooler last night than the night before, it was actually 20 degrees warmer!

So much for science

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season change again


After several days of 80+ temps, and nights dropping into the maybe 50’s (fahrenheit), this morning it hit 41F.  It still got up to 85, but since I’d put squash and eggplant and tomatoes in the ground over the weekend, 41F is important.

So checked the weather report and see tonight is to be cooler with each night through the weekend cooler and cooler again, until we get back into the low/mid 20’s!

NOT squash, eggplant, and tomato weather.

april 11-4Fortunately, I have these things.  The round ones are pop ups, the long ones are spring steel frames, with the ends zippered into place. 

The one problem with all these is, its windy!!!!  and even the serious screw down tent pegs don’t stand a chance when the soil is soft and loose ( go ahead, ask me how I know. Bet you can guess, huh? Been there and lost!) .  Hence they are all weighted down.  Hopefully, they will handle the winds.

april 11-1Which is why I planted heavily in the greenhouse already.  Potato plant to the left, turmeric next two in and the last one is a mix of sweet potato and white potato

april 11-2new for this year, bush beans.  that stuff that looks like grass IS; sweetgrass

april 11-3Sweetgrass to the left, two cocozelle squash in the tall black containers, some geraniums, hopefully some ginger in the back, a nice early girl tomato plant and back to the turmerics.

Drought year so am cutting back seriously on my garden this year, going for quality and quantity in certain things over a more general range of plants.  Didn’t even grow garlic this last winter, still have lots from last year!

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spring planting and water

We’re beginning  drought cycle and while we’re just barely mid-April, we are not expecting any meaningful precip until sometime in July, if we are lucky.

So have cut back on my veggie garden this year.  Actual time to work on it is partially the reason, and water is the rest.  Have only 3000 gallons of water storage, and wasted 350 gallons of that with leaving my smaller tank open one day.  Thoroughly watered some trees, but left nothing for the veggies until our next downpour.

3000 gallons sounds like a lot, but in the dry heat of the southwest, it just enough to water the garden for 30 days in full production.  That’s with the use of Ollas, mulch and shade cloths.

Saturday I prepared one 3.5 x 15′ garden bed.  Lots of organic material, buried 4 ollas, each over a gallon and intended to water an area of 2feet radius around the Olla. Then planted some seedlings.  Filled the Ollas, and drenched the soil.  and by today, Monday, the Ollas were empty.

Today prepped the other matching bed, buried four more ollas and planted some squash.  Also prepared a container for peas with two small ollas.  Filled the Ollas and drenched the soil.

We’re already hitting the 80’s and the shade cloths might have to go up soon.  usually, its mid-may.

Am blessed that I don’t HAVE to have that food, we have an excellent farmer’s market and we make enough income to be able to utilize it.  And we have water available through the taps and I can afford to buy that water as well as chlorine filters to keep it suitable for the garden.

Still, there is a certain satisfaction from knowing my food is LOCAL, as local as it can get when it comes from my back yard.  and I feel that I’m helping the environment when I’m not having to tap the local aquifer.

Hopefully, the smaller garden will be productive and help make up for its lack of size with its quality of produce!

speaking of which: squash and tomatoes are forming in the greenhouse and the first bush beans are coming up in there too.


the amaryllis that I put in there last winter is blooming beautifully again!

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