Wow this has been some crazy busy couple of weeks.  I thought things would slow up a bit when the goats went on maternity leave but I guess as homesteaders we just replace one chore with another.

Well I guess I kind of gave a way the next topic - the goats are fully on maternity leave now.  We took them with us on a trip and they were towards the end of the last week of milking every other day only once a day and they pretty much decided for themselves that the day we left was the last day they were going to milk.  Go figure, some Nigerian Dwarf goats with such an attitude.  Who would have thought. (Lot's of sarcasm in that remark).  I just kept a close eye on them to make sure they were not experiencing any discomfort, which they sure didn't seem to have.  They basically had a vacation while we were on this trip, they roamed around and cleared blackberry bushes for us and ate up some fresh pine needles from small branches Jonathan trimmed.

The chickens.........yeah let's talk about those chickens.  I had lost two chickens to heat stroke during the height of the drought and extreme heat.  There was just no way to keep them cool without giving an air conditioner in the coop.  The poor girls didn't even die in the coop they died out in the open areas of the yard.  I made sure they had plenty of fresh water every morning, did not feed them scratch and gave them left over yogurt and buttermilk when I had it.  We are now down to 9 layers, 1 rooster and 2 meat birds. 

Even with having 9 layers with the heat and then factor in the molting chickens we only got one or two eggs in a day sometimes.  Right now I think over half of my chickens are in molt so there are feathers everywhere.

The drought............I am almost speechless on this topic.  The drought has been very harsh on us Texans this summer.  There are actually small towns here in Texas that are about to run out of water because their water source is out of water with no rain to refill lakes, rivers, ponds etc.  It has just been plain harsh. 

I struggled to keep what little was left of the garden alive.  My rain barrels actually went dry and I was worried enough about running out of water, even coming from the tap here, that I stored some water in our two 275 gallon storage tanks and two 55 gallon barrels.

We finally got a decent rain last week (while we were out of town of course) and the barrels were quickly refilled but it just wasn't enough rain to fix the long period without rain and with extreme heat.

Due to the extreme heat we decided not to do a fall garden.  Extreme heat, drought and gardens just do not make a good match.  I did still plant garlic and sweet potatoes because they take so little effort that I just couldn't see not planting them.  I figured if the water runs out then we will just have to see what happens but until then it doesn't take much for those two things.  Somehow the Arkansas traveler tomatoes managed to survive the summer.  They didn't produce but they did live.  I cut them back some so they would be able to put there energy into surviving and not into blooming.  After we got that wonderful rain those tomatoes exploded with blooms.  Just the other day I found that same plant loaded down with tomatoes. 

I am not sure  how it happened but the same green bean plants that were planted in the spring garden have continued to produce all through the summer and even continues now.  I picked a good 2 pounds of green beans after having been out of town for a week.  Those green beans were the most wonderful gift ever given to me and I still do not know who the gentleman that gave them to us was.

The peppers managed to survive through the summer also and are now loaded down also.  Of all things that also managed to survive was one single yellow squash plant.  It hadn't produced any squash through the spring and summer and I was thinking of just pulling it up but I decided to leave it be since it hadn't died on it's own.  Just as with the tomatoes we came home from out trip and found that we had some beautiful yellow squash waiting on it.  I sauteed that wonderful squash the same night I found it just to be sure something didn't have the time to eat it before we did.

So that pretty much covers the gardening experience of late.

Finally.............While we were on our trip I wanted to test our homemade emergency meals that I had been making.  They were like homemade MREs (meals ready to eat).  I took our good quality food and dehydrated it, vacuum sealed it and then sealed them in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.  I will have to do an article to cover all the details but they did work great.  We had some awesome homemade meals by simply boiling some water.  How easy could it get.  We enjoyed the meals so much that I have decided I will make many more of them.  I am also going to give some as gifts to people.

I think that pretty much sums things up.  I have a lot of article I need to get cracking on.  I have a review of the Tattler reusable canning lids to post, homemade oatmeal packs and sooooo much more.