Here in southwestern Indiana, we’re still grappling with triple digit heat swings and a dryness that belongs out in the desert somewhere. Our garden has required almost non-stop hand-watering this summer due to the lack of rainfall.
The rain gauge here at the Half-Acre Homestead has only picked up about 1.5″ since I put it up in early May. To give you some sort of perspective, that’s what we usually get in one storm around here and now we’re about a foot behind on rainfall for the year. Nearby corn crops, undoubtedly GMO, are withering and some farmers have already tossed in the towel and started cutting their corn crops to chop into silage.
At least with our homegrown food pursuits, we can supplement Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation with our garden hose. An occasional shower of 1/4″ to 1/2″ of rain completely refilled our long-ago tapped out rainwater barrel. Plants are still struggling and producing little in the way of stuff to harvest this year.
Our animals are also struggling in the heat. Chickens are spending most of their day hiding out beneath the bushes and egg laying is few and far between. We’ve had to supplement with store-bought eggs over the last few weeks which is rather unheard of here at the Half-Acre Homestead.
We’ve been helping both the rabbits and chickens keeping cool by filling empty butter and yogurt containers with the cast-offs from the veggie drawer in the fridge. Top the container up with water and stick it in the freezer overnight. By the heat of the next day, you’ll have a fun ice block treat for your animals to gnaw on and lay next to. Our chickens also thoroughly enjoy cold watermelon tossed out into the lawn for their gut-cooling, gastronomic pleasures.
Since we’re talking watermelon, one of the mainstays of summer, how about making a watermelon treat for you to enjoy too? I ran across this recipe for Strawberry Melon Gazpacho and thought it sounded refreshingly tasty. Gazpacho is traditionally made with fresh tomatoes but this twist makes a refreshing change that would be great served for a brunch or as a light, summer dessert soup.
Strawberry Melon Gazpacho
2 cups (1-inch cubes) cantaloupe
2 cups (1-inch cubes) seedless watermelon
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 pound organic strawberries, hulled, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Take cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumber, half of strawberries and lime juice and put into blender. Blend until smooth. Chop remaining strawberries and stir into soup. Chill until serving.
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