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This week we have been struggling with three things. We, like most of the West, are dealing with smoke. We've had three fires that were fairly close, but Lord willing they avoided us. The sunsets have been beautiful though. Next, we still haven't got any rain; the ground is so hard and cracked. The lack of rain is causing lots of blossom end rot in my tomatoes. Lastly, is the flies with cooler evening temps and fall just around the corner the flies are everywhere. My fly swatter was my most used tool this week. Let's get to it.

On the homestead, we have pulled all of our goats off of our neighbor's property. The five older girls are now out in our horse pastor and all the young goats are in the rock pasture being fed hay. The three turkeys my son sold were picked up and we are now down to only two. The Muscovy ducks are laying again and the chickens are molting so we are only getting a few eggs. I have plans of getting rid of all my chickens older than 3 years old this next coming week. Fall always brings a slowing down of chores and I can't wait.

In the garden, like I said before, our biggest battle is blossom end rot. I have had at least 15 ripe tomatoes and all of them were black on the bottom. I know you can eat the good parts but they are not good for canning. I also see lots of seeds I planted last week germinating. I have beans, beets, beans, carrots and swiss chard up and growing.

In the kitchen, I am still working hard to get dishes done but the canning season doesn't wait for spotless kitchens. This week I found some great deals on some green beans, cucumbers, and zucchinis. My beans are not producing very well so I decided to outsource from a few local farmers instead. I purchased four bags of green beans which gave me nine pints of green beans seasoned with onions and bacon and 9 pints of just plain green beans. I bought 20 large pickling cucumbers and my mother-in-law gave me a large flat of cucumbers which is now 30 pints of bread and butter pickles and 10 half pints of bread and butter cucumber zucchini relish. After chopping and food processing the cucumbers I realized I had mostly liquid so I shredded up two-and-a-half overgrown zucchini just to add some fullness to my relish. It is so good I ate half a pint jar on crackers. I love it! I also shredded up the rest of the large zucchini and put it into sealable bags and put it in the freezer. I purchased some Colorado peaches and pears from a vendor who travels there every year. I froze the peaches in resealable bags and put them in the freezer for peach pies and cobblers. The pears I processed in a light sugar syrup. I got 16 quarts. I have to thank my husband and Sons; they helped me with the pears. It was a big job and I couldn't have done it without them. I also took stock of what else I have downstairs in the root cellar and what else we need to be processed this year. I still need carrots, peas, pasta sauce, and grape jelly!

Lord God, thank you for the abundance of others in your name, I pray, Amen.

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