Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rain & what to do with it?

The weather out here can be kind of nice for what we call a winter. Already January and we've only had 2 rains and plenty of 70 degree days. Most places would love to have that be their summers, let alone their winters. Around here though, we wish it was raining.

Over the past year we have been working on creating ways in which to store the water we get from our sporadic rainfalls. We want to see them put to use. It's remarkable how much rain can be saved off less than an inch of rainfall. We've had 2 rains so far and so far we've saved 100,000 gallons of water. Saving every drop is worth it, even in our dry climates.

On our farm, we harvest water in multiple ways, creating a redundancy in the system so that if one fails, more will take up the slack. We have built 3 ponds that hold over 80,000 gallons of water, we have 4 above ground water tanks that hold 30,000, an underground tank that holds 15,000 gallons and a huge network of swales that passively harvest even more water than all of those methods combined.

All our ponds, tanks and swales catch rain runoff from every roof and driveway on the property. Our catchment area is pretty sizeable allowing us to catch so much off such small rainfalls.

In future postings, we will describe the process we used to build our ponds, how we filter them, and how our system of swales work and what they are good for as well. Until that time, take a look around the place you live during our next rainfall to see where your water goes.

Have a Grateful Day!!!!
Back to Old Chimney Farm

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lemons and more lemons!

Food preservation is taking off here in our kitchen. And its the middle of the winter! We finished off the basil in pesto early December (gotta love Southern California) then came a delicious pickled beet, which seems very popular. Today we're saving the bounty of Meyer lemons in a test batch of Moroccan pickled lemons and a big batch of marmalade.

Moroccan Lemons
Cut lemons as if quartering, but leave top and bottom in tact.
Stuff sliced up lemons with salt
squish into a jar
(add extra lemon juice or boiling water if not covered.)

quarter lemons
blend in food processor - peels and all.
cover with water and boil 20 minutes with sugar -to taste. stir occasionally
add fruit pectin* (not yucky gelatin from cow hooves!)
can it up - no need to sterilize and seal

- one or two packs, depending on quantity. Don't worry about proportions, it'll be thicker or thinner each time, but always delicious! I try to make enough to fill my biggest pot (I think its 8 quarts) and add two packs.

Back to Old Chimney Farm