Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A dead bear in the creek, a heat wave, and summer in the garden

What do you do when a heat wave hits and temperatures soar above 90 degrees for over a week?

If you're like us, you find yourself a wild creek or a pond and live in it.

Considering that our creeks and rivers here in the Pacific Northwest are fed by glacially cold water, some of us jump in for a few seconds, and then jump out, screaming.  That would be me.

My kids, however, act like salmon.  They swim in this freezing water and stay in there for a long time, while I sit on a sun-scorched rock watching them in amazement.  How can their systems handle it?

Fortunately, we also have a pond close by, which is warmer.

Talking of wild creeks: We found a dead bear in a creek the other day.  Yes, a real bear, black, male, adult, big.

In all our years living here, we have seen many alive bears, but never a dead one, let alone one in the creek.

We don't know what happened.  The Fish and Wildlife people believe it got hit by a car and died of internal bleeding, since there are no signs of gun shots.

It's sad to see this beautiful animal dead, swaying in the water and starting to stink.  Hopefully, it will feed many other animals while it disintegrates...

The wildlife here has been insane: coyotes howling next to our goat barn, lots of bear, deer... I wonder if they are as hot as we are and are getting careless...

Heat or not, our homesteading life marches on.  Veggies are abundant, canning season is in full swing, and goat milk is flowing.

The kids and I made dilly beans the other day.  My recipe can be found on my Patreon blog here <---

Soon, it's time to make bread and butter pickles from my cucumbers.  They're loving this heat!

My goat is giving me 3 quarts of milk a day, which I make into yogurt and cheese.  I've been really into making Gouda lately, and several wheels are aging in the crawl space underneath our house.  As I type this, a wheel of Cheddar I made this morning is pressing in our cheese press.

You do know that you can learn how to make cheese in my self-paced online cheese making course here <---, right?  Most of my students use pasteurized, store bought cow's milk, and it works fantastically for cheese!

One of my students just wrote me this email:

"I was scared, worried, nervous. I wasn't thrilled with my Colby (which I did from another site). Wasn't very good. So I was nervous about trying my Gouda. WOW! After seven months, this is the best Gouda I've ever tasted and I've tasted many because I love Gouda. Corina, you were so right and following your steps led to an awesome product. I can't wait to get making some more since these two wheels aren't going to last very long. Thank you, Corina, You Rock! And she is ALWAYS available for help and comments. Now after I make a second batch of Gouda, I really want to try one of your other cheese recommendations."

Isn't that nice? Thanks, Edward!  I get great reviews all the time, but I thought I would share this with you all!

I better wrap up this post for now.  My middle son Luke wants to go mountain biking with me, which is crazy, because it's kind of hot out.

But as soon as the Cheddar is ready to turn over in the cheese press, I will let Luke haul my premenopausal butt up that mountain.  I'm gonna sweat and swear and burn, but gosh-darn-it, I'm gonna give it my best.  My teenager wants to spend time with me?  I'm game.

Luke has been building mountain bike trails on our five acre property.  It involves a lot of digging and hauling rocks and tree stumps in extreme heat, but he's doing it.  Crazy kid.

I'll leave you with images of summer:

~ My daughter and I biking (not crazy, break-your-neck stuff like Luke): she did 14 miles without hardly complaining!  I'm proud of her...

~ New flags to decorate our house...

~ Tomatoes from the greenhouse...

~ On a walk...

How's your summer going???

PS: We still have three spots available for our homesteading and wilderness skills retreat for adults! Click here to find out more <---


  1. Ninety degrees? Pshaw! We've got you beat by 13 or 14 degrees. I think I'm addlepated but now I think 90 degrees is tolerable after going through day after day after day after day of over 100. We are going to the coast today. Because I am starting to get really really cranky from having to be cooped up in the house for most of the day.

    1. You know what's weird? I didn't realize that I had "moderate my comments" turned on, so I didn't see anyone's comments for months!!! So here I am, responding again...
      Gosh, technology.
      Is it any cooler at your place now?

  2. You guys rock!

    What an inspiring family and lifestyle.

    Thank you.

  3. Thanks, Cedar! I kind of like my family...


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