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Rain + Desert = Flash Flooding

Flash Flood

Remember the pictures of D helping the girls with climbing at the rock wall? Well, while we were finishing up, we heard the rain begin to fall. Now, it had been a long time since we had any rain in our neck of the desert, so we were actually thrilled that it has started to rain. Little did we know that the rain would turn into a downpour which would turn into some major flooding in the area.

Flash Flood

We ran over to the exchange to pick up a couple of souvenirs for the girls as this was their last day with us. That was when the deluge started. It was pouring outside, and the roads were quickly flooding. We were in our truck so we weren’t worried about getting home, but not everyone on the road was as fortunate. The rest of our family was heading up our way, but they, thankfully, didn’t have any issues either.

Flash Flood

Some of the cars were getting stuck on the flooded roads. Because we have so much sand, the water just washes the sand right into the road, so often, you’re not only dealing with flooded roads but also very sandy roads. In fact, the roads get so crazy after these storms that they bring out snow plows to move all the sand off the roads. ;)

Flash Flooding

It was an adventure getting home. While the rain and flooded roads did mess up a few of our plans for our final day together, we still enjoyed our day. It’s not often that you get to experience a rain storm in the desert, so in a way, it just finished off their trip here. We really feel blessed that we were able to spend some wonderful quality time with our family. We created some wonderful memories that aren’t soon to be forgotten.

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Book Review: Put ‘em up! Preserving Answer Book by Sherri Brooks Vinton

Put 'em Up! Preserving Answer Book by Sherri Brooks VintonSpecial thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Book Description:

Preserve your favorite foods with the aplomb of a seasoned expert. Whether you want to freeze five quarts of just-picked berries or have questions about safely canning your tomato-meat sauce, Sherri Brooks Vinton offers reassuring advice to help you put up home-preserved foods that are safe to eat and delicious. A perfect companion to all your preserving recipes, this friendly guide answers your questions and addresses your concerns about refrigerating, freezing, canning, drying, fermenting, and infusing.

Sherri Brooks VintonAbout the Author:

Sherri Brooks Vinton is the author of Put ‘em Up!, Put ‘em Up! Fruit, and The Real Food Revival. Her writing, talks, and hands-on workshops teach how to find, cook, and preserve local, seasonal, farm-friendly food. Her website can be found at www.sherribrooksvinton.com. She lives in Connecticut.

Book Details:

Spiral-bound: 256 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; Spi edition (March 25, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612120105
ISBN-13: 978-1612120102
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
Retail Price: $16.95
Digital Editions also available

My Thoughts:

Summer is the perfect time for putting up the abundance of produce that is available at farmer’s markets, through your local CSA, from your garden, or even from your grocery store. Costs are usually lower this time of year, so it’s a great time to take advantage of those lower prices to put away food for the rest of the year. Food that is ripe and in-season tastes better and has more nutrients available when it’s picked at its peak.

While I utilize some methods of putting up food, I’m still in the process of learning about other methods. I know how easy it is to put off trying different methods because they seem intimidating. In Put ‘em Up! Preserving Answer Book, Sherri Brooks Vinton steps into the world of canning, freezing, drying, fermenting, and making infusions by answering common questions and explaining the ins and outs of these different methods.

For the true beginners and those who need a refresher course, Vinton first covers the basics of food preservation, talks about where to find quality food and how to properly store it, and discusses prep work for the foods. The next section dives into the preserving process which covers general information about canning, water-bath canning (boiling-water method), pressure canning, refrigeration, freezing, drying, fermentation, and finally, infusions. The final section gets into the actual application of the skills talked about in the rest of the book. The topics include answers about sweet and savory spreads, pickles, vegetables, whole fruits, and tomatoes and tomato products.

Put ‘em Up! Preserving Answer Book is not a recipe book, but it does include several recipes including:

  • Bread and Butter Chips (pickles)
  • Pickled Okra
  • Green Beans in Water
  • Simple Brine
  • Pub Pickles
  • Dried Cherries
  • Classic Fermented Sauerkraut
  • Strawberry Vinegar
  • Quick Blueberry Jam
  • Pan-Roasted Chicken with Raspberry Reduction
  • Peel-and-Pip Pectin
  • Pickling Spice
  • Blueberry Gastrique
  • Pears in Honey Syrup
  • Avalanche Sauce

For more recipes, you can check out Vinton’s other books: Put ‘em Up! and Put ‘em Up! Fruit. (Note: I have not personally used either of these books, so I can not vouch for them.) This book is wonderful for someone who is first getting started with food preservation or for someone who needs a refresher course. Its question/answer format is easy to follow. I like the enclosed spiral format is it means the book actually stays open for easier reading and use. It’s a nice resource to have on hand when you want to be able to quickly look up a question about a particular preserving method.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher for this review. A positive review is not required nor guaranteed. All opinions are my own.

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Water Activities

Girls Coloring Water Guns

The girls enjoyed some time at the pools. One of the pools had a waterslide. At one point, they held a contest to see who could go the fastest down the slide. Even Grandpa participated in that contest. Of course, the girls and Grandpa were in different divisions.

Malia Coloring Water Gun

A variety of different activities were offered for the kids. On this particular afternoon, the girls were designing their own water guns.

Michelle and Rini Coloring Water Guns

They had fun coloring the water guns even though it was HOT. We were happy to get back into the air conditioning once they finished up the activity. ;)

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Frozen Yogurt and Snow in the Desert

Family Hanging Out at Frozen Yogurt Place

After a morning of rock climbing and a nice picnic lunch, we decided it might be nice to cool off a bit with a refreshing treat of frozen yogurt.

Malia and Rini with Frozen Yogurt

Malia with Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

Yes, she’s protecting that chocolate frozen yogurt. ;)

Rini Malia Uncle Dan at Frozen Yogurt Place

The air conditioning felt good, and the frozen yogurt was delicious. It left us all feeling more refreshed.

Snow in the Desert 1

While we don’t get snow here, I thought it would be fun for the girls to make some snow in the desert using some dollar store kits.

Snow in the Desert 2

They ended up adding all of their snow together and mixing in some ice.

Snow in the Desert 3

They had fun playing with the snow. Of course, they needed to clean up after messing with the snow which lead to water fights with water guns and water balloons. Somehow, Grandma, Grandpa, and Great Grandma managed not to get soaked. The rest of us ended up pretty wet. ;)

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Wordless Wednesday: Rock Wall Climbing

Malia and Rini Climbing 1 Malia Climbing 1 Malia Climbing 3 Malia Climbing 7 Malia Climbing 12 Michelle and Daddy 2 Michelle Climbing 1 Michelle Climbing 2 Michelle Climbing 3 Michelle Rini Daniel Rini Climbing 2 Rini Climbing 3 Rini Climbing 4 Rini Climbing 5 Rini Climbing 6 Rini Climbing 8 Rini Climbing 12

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