Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

Last night when Rick and I went out to do chores, I saw a star – ONE star. You would have thought I'd found a diamond, I got so excited! It was the first star we've seen since a week ago Sunday night; the first time the smoke had thinned enough to "let its little light shine."

Once again there was no visible "sunrise" this morning, but I did notice a wee bit of definition to the gray – visible clouds!


And then, glory be, the sun broke through for a bit! I plopped my plying project on the deck railing and took a picture. Good thing, too, as the atmosphere closed in again and we spent the rest of the day shrouded in haze. But tonight I saw TWO stars and my weather app says our air quality index is down to 338 (still in the "hazardous" zone, but better than in 500-600). No rain in the forecast now until Friday, but there finally seems to be a light at the end of this smoke-filled tunnel.

In the meantime, I've been making the most of being stuck indoors. I've canned 33 quarts of prune sauce and dried enough to pack two gallon bags FULL and I'm done with the prunes for the year. This morning while picking I was surrounded by the buzzing of yellowjackets feasting on fallen fruit (plus one 'helpful' cat), so I'm going to leave the rest to them.





Prune sauce undergoes an interesting (to me, at least) transformation. The raw puree has bits of purple skin that dissolve into burgundy puddles, which then diffuse their color through the sauce as it cools.



Poppy is still a pent-up pup. I let her run around outside for a little while today, but most of the time she had to entertain herself inside.








Another little bright spot? Yesterday I got five eggs from our nine middle-aged hens!

P.S. This post is my first using the 'new' Blogger.

That's it for now from . . .

14 comments:

Retired Knitter said...

I have a friend who lives now in Oregon - southern far western area. She too has been dealing with the smoky haze. She said that the news reports the fires won't entirely go out until November - and then within a few months the next fire season begins. How hard this must be.

A :-) said...

So glad that your skies are clearing. The smoke has made it to Chicagoland - I'll post a photo in my next blog. How do you like the new Blogger? I've found it doesn't play nice with Firefox but works well with Chrome.

Tim B. Inman said...

I would love to know more about your plum sauce. How do you make it, what do you use it for, etc. I have several plum trees, and can only eat just so many dried plums (prunes). Love that pup! Those eyes! Cheers from Oakdale Farm

Mountaingmom said...

Michelle, I hope your air continues to clear. I think some rain would help not only the fire fighting, but to help clear the air. I live on the opposite side of the US from you and the smoke has drifted this far, causing hazy skies and very red late afternoon suns. Last night we went to the pond to talk a walk (fewer people than town and less elevation change for hubby than our road). On the way home I saw smoke from a nearby mountain side, then smelled it when I went out to do evening chores. It concerned me, but I saw no reports of fire and by this morning, I can no longer smell it. Hopefully it was a well managed brush burn.
What variety of plum makes prunes. I know all prunes were plums, but not all plum become prunes.

Mama Pea said...

I know you obviously use all the quarts of prune sauce you've made, but I have to ask . . . how do you use it?

Here's hoping you get that rain predicted for end of the week.

Poppy does a lot better job of entertaining herself than a lot of young kids do!

Michelle said...

Yep, Elaine; it'll take that long for enough rain to fall to finally put out the big forest fires. :-(

A, the new Blogger worked just fine for me. Since I'm on a Mac, I use Safari.

Tim, we use fruit sauce on waffles and pancakes as well as over peanut butter on whole wheat toast. I makes for a quick and complete meal – usually breakfast, but we eat it for supper sometimes, too! And it couldn't be easier to make. Fresh prunes are freestone, have dense, sweet flesh, and are rarely bothered by pests. So all I have to do is pick them, wash them (rub them under running water), slice in half to pop out the pit, throw them in the blender, pour puree in the jar, and process. That's it!

The AQI is worse again this morning, Fran, but there is some dew on the grass. You are correct; not all plums become prunes. This was news to us when we moved to NW Oregon and were introduced to fresh prunes. The main prune varieties grown here are Italian and Brooks (we have a tree of each); Brooks prunes are much larger but other than that they look and taste the same. They are both oblong (not round), with dense, sweet, yellow flesh, a freestone pit, and thin skin that is never sour like some plums.

Mama Pea, see my response to Tim; we use a lot that way! But I corrected my bad math; I made 33 quarts, not 47. I'll blame the drugs I took to get through the root canal yesterday before I made sauce and a blog post. ;-)

Florida Farm Girl said...

Ugg....is all I can say about that smoke. Sure wish you guys would get some much needed rain to help matters. My nephew is in your state now as a firefighter. Boy isn't allowed to stay home much when wildfires are burning all over the west. Your canning assistant looks like he's doing a good job.

Michelle said...

Sue, I sure hope your nephew stays safe. Not just from the fires, but from the increased risk of COVID that all the smoke brings.

Donna said...

I am so glad your smoke is starting to clear. What an ordeal. So are you really going to eat 33 quarts of prune sauce?

FRAN STAFFORD said...

Thanks for the info on the prunes. I wonder if they would grow in the mountains of Virginia. I have a wild plum on the edge of the property that has produced fruit once in the 15 years I've been here on the farm, and a planted plum that the deer won't give a chance. I think it is going to get hot wire around it along with the grapevine that they have discovered.

Michelle said...

It got worse again, Donna; yesterday the AQI was back in the 400s all day. And yes, we'll use all that prune sauce. That's just 33 meals worth for the 2-3 of us!

Fran, we have voracious deer and they do eat the lower leaves of our prunes, so you would need to protect a young tree.

Sharon said...

I sure hope the forecast is correct and we see some rain tomorrow. The AQI dipped today but tonight it’s back up to 300. I listened to the governor’s update today, mainly to hear Doug Grafe’s report. I didn’t realized that 70% of fire resources in our state are volunteers. God bless them!!

wyomingheart said...

Thank you for that handsome Rock Star Chuckie photo splash! That plum sauce looks great! Hope you get better air quality soon! I pray for all those fighting the fires. We went through a lot of fires in Florida, and it gets very overwhelming for sure! Sending our hugs to you all out there!

Michelle said...

Did you get rain last night, Sharon? We got a deluge, along with a fantastic thunder and lightning show, the best ever here. EVERYthing is breathing a sigh of relief!

You're welcome, wyomingheart, and thanks for the hugs. 😊 Our air quality is in the low 100s now, such an improvement to almost 600!