Summer Tidbits

photo (8)

[Pictured are the giant, summer blackberries my in-laws gave us. Compliments of their personal garden.]

It’s been a typical hot summer in South Carolina. We only have window units for cooling in our house, and apparently, I got careless when the July heat wave hit, because our electric bill took me a full ten minutes to recover from. Ask my husband. 🙂

The forecast got switched up a bit this week though. Every morning, we’ve been seeing temps in the 70s. It’s all a little foreign, but I embrace these refreshing temps with open arms. It’s glorious.

I have several significant locations entered into the weather center on my iPhone, and sometimes it’s shocking to see the low temps in other parts of the world.  Locations farther north along the east coast seem to be having a relatively cool summer. My native state had 50 degree evenings this week. Sounds like an arctic blast compared to the 106 degree heat index we had in our county last week. Humidity is where it gets you.

Along with being hotter than other parts of the east coast, the southern growing season is more advanced than the north. I picked the last green beans the end of June, and now the end of July, my tomato plants shriveled up and pretty much finished. I’m done with cucumbers, too.

I have beans, strawberries, and blueberries frozen from this summer, and there’s probably 30-40 pints of salsa and maybe ten quarts juice canned and on my shelf.

I also tried pickling for the first time this year. Pickled anything is pretty much my hubby’s thing. So now, I’m awesome, I know. I pickled cucumbers, mixed peppers (bell, banana, and jalapeno) onion, and finished with a batch of green tomatoes.

photo (9)They are actually pretty good, and secretly, my husband is my biggest fan.

Canning is one of the most menial, exhausting tasks to me. Hours on my feet, lugging heavy canners, jars, water, etc. It doesn’t help that I did it all on our outdoor grill burner for two years because my canner isn’t compatible with our glass stove top. (Things that become clear after purchases of course. )

Oh well, I’ll never forget those two experience building summers, and I’ll laugh. Maybe. Ironically, at the end of my major summer canning spree, we finally found a portable, propane burner for a good price.

Gardening is not my specialty by a long shot, and I’m relieved that my hubby enjoys it. He does so much of the outdoor work, which I am so thankful for, considering that 10 minutes in the garden covers me in painful, swollen mosquito bites without fail. It is truly infuriating, but I’ve come to peace with the fact that my blood must be sweet. 🙂

Putting up food in general is hard work, but I love knowing that I’m storing food for our winter, and it will save us a lot of money in the long run.

Plus, eating local is something I’m very interested in.

Why? Here’s a facebook status of mine from this summer:

“Natural” usually means nothing in the commercial marketing industry, but this is good info on small time farmers whose growing standards may be better than USDA organic requirements, yet they can’t afford or don’t want the headache involved in becoming USDA organic certified for their small business.

I was reminded of that in July when I was at a privately owned blueberry farm that advertised with “natural growing practices.” Once I dug deeper, I realized in this case, “natural” actually meant something. This particular farm follows USDA organic guidelines; they just don’t have USDA organic certification a.k.a paperwork headache, money, and a label.

It’s good getting to know local growers and seeing the value they have for what they do. It’s also nice knowing where your money goes, and usually, small businesses provide for families and start collage funds, etc.

This link has some more info on local growers.

More random summer tidbits:

I rarely find myself listening to country music, but Colbie Caillat’s  latest song caught my attention. In the music video for her song “Try,” Coblie is seen without makeup, which is a huge feat in the music and entertainment industry. Her message urges women to embrace and like who they are as unique and amazing, apart from the perfect face they portray to the world.

Seems to me like I’ve heard this before. Reminds me of how God likes me. Don’t let culture and voices tell you who to be. Be true to yourself. I made you beautiful.

I feel like people prophecy in their art and music without realizing it sometimes. Yes, I really do. We are made in His image, even if we don’t know Him yet.

Another example: I was listening to a worship playlist on YouTube and stumbled across this advertisement. Blew me away.

It may be a social experiment clip filmed for a feminine product line, but it preached the biggest sermon to me. I love it so much. The world might not recognize it, but it just got hit with a good word on design. If this was Instagram, these would be my hashtags:
#cultureofhonor #empowerment #likeagirl #likeachampion #design #strength#beauty #femininity #destiny #value

Signing off folks. Stay cool this summer, and love life!

-BPK

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