Saturday, August 6, 2016

Apricots Cut and Dried in the Sun; Slicing, Dicing Apples to Dry In The Dehydrator

Summer time fun with the grand kids this last week.  It was a "BIT" cooler, in the middle 90 degrees instead of 104 degrees!!!  It starts up slow, but by 2:00 p.m. everyone moves inside.
Our everyday work is, most of the time, fun by our grand kid's point of view and by many people who come visit the farm.  The crops and animals on the farm dictate what happens each day, along with the weather.
Celli, our daughter, son-in-law Chris and the kids helped cut apricots the first of the week they were here.  Then the parents left and we had the grand kids Carli and Collin for the rest of the week.
We have a couple of late summer apricots that were picked a few days before they got here, so we decided to have a family cut the cots afternoon.  After filling up all the trays, we put them into the box that Frank made with wheels, we did a light smoking of sulfur (an old family recipe and tradition for keeping the color and preserving them) and then out into the sun for about 3-4 days.
The last of the BOZZO peach trees were ripe and ready to pick.  We call them BOZZO trees because a neighbor farmer named Mr. Bozzo and his son, Matt Bozzo asked us if we wanted some small peach trees to plant. The original old peach tree had been in their old farm for years but was dying.  The family took grafts and planted seeds to start other trees like this old cling peach tree.  They had several left over from planting what they needed.  We said YES!!  This is year 3 and each tree is loaded with a light pink almost yellow outer skin.  Very little pink on them.  Carli and I picked two trees, I picked the last 2 trees early this morning.  Summer mean Frank and I eat fresh cut up fruit almost every night with our dinner.  Peaches, strawberries, applies, blackberries are a staple with an occasional cantaloupe and watermelon. Yum Yum.
The apples have been dropping like crazy.  I never seem to have the time to thin those trees out so when the wind comes up, nature does the thinning for me, but leaves a bunch of apples on the ground.  We used to have a friend that raised pigs so he would come and get the grounded apples.  They have to be raked up before picking, otherwise you end up slipping and landing on your back.  It is like roller blading apples!
Carli, Collin and I sliced apples also this week to be dried in the dehydrator.  We had a bath of lemon juice to keep them from browning; and another bath of water, cinnamon and a little bit of sugar.  I used the sugar
because we were drying Granny Smith apples and they are bitter.  I did the slicing because it is dangerous for little fingers, they did the dipping and placing out on the shelves to go into the dehydrator.
The next morning, they were perfect, like apple chips.  I picked tomatoes, a special order for a customer while Carli picked up all the dried apples and put them into plastic bags.
Then Collin, Carli, Frank and I went out to check on the cots.  They were perfectly done in the sun.  So we all pulled up the cots from the wooden trays and also put them into plastic bags.  Sometime this week,  I will weigh and put both the dried apples and cots into smaller bags to sell here at Windmill Farm.
Each night, as the temperatures got cooler and the sun was going down, we all went back out to the fields for some evening fun.  The kids are old enough now to drive the Gator's by themselves.  Since we have a his and hers Gators, each one was able to drive around the property while I did some evening weeding and watering in the garden.
Then when it was very dark, we moved into the center of our field that isn't planted to shoot off these lighted,
whistle, slingshot rockets.  I randomly threw these into my cart at Target the other day because they looked like fun, "rockets" "LED lights" makes noise all elements for fun in a night sky. Well they have proved to be great, great fun for several nights in a row.  We started out sending them up in the lawn, but they kept getting into the big Maple tree. The package says they will go up 120 feet and they do!!!  
We took our cell phones out into the field for another treat.  Star gazing.  Our phones have an app that when you point it into the sky, it will outline the stars and planets, and give you information about them.
One really weird and interesting thing it also does?  Tells you the plane identification number when a plane flys by too.  
I guess the biggest reward is when your grand kids say that they don't want to go home.  Frank and I sure enjoyed their visit and miss them now that they are gone home.  Can you believe it?  Next week school starts for them, unbelievable.  The school systems have ruined summer vacations, what ever happened to schools starting AFTER LABOR DAY in September???
Hope you are having fun this summer too.


The Slipcover Maker said...

Hi Paula,
My mouth is watering! Your fun summer activities remind me of some of the things I did as a kid --- minus the star gazing app of course :)

Windmill Farm said...

Hi there Karen: I see you are a busy bee yourself!!! I sure wish you lived closer, you do such great slip cover work and I would love to have a few more pieces covered. The only way to go with furniture, slipcovers from The Slipcover Maker!!!