23 August 2014

Our no-AC summer

Last year was our first summer living here, and we had finally broken down and turned our air conditioner on in mid-July.  This summer has been milder than last, thanks to almost-daily afternoon storms and showers ... so we have still not turned on our AC.  Yes, seriously.  Yesterday was the hottest it has been so far this summer, with an official temp reading of 99F in the town nearest to us.  There has actually been only a handful of days when the temp has gone above 95F.

So, why would we leave our AC off, when it is still functional?!?  Well, this is an older house, built around an old mobile home even (the title to it says it was made in 1960) and not exactly weatherproofed.  Instead of turning on the AC, we bought a couple more box fans and two window screens.  I personally like to hear the sounds of the outdoors while indoors.  Our Ac is an old window unit, and along with being noisy and probably inefficient, it spins the electric meter something fierce.  But, that still is not the primary reason.

Last month we woke up to no power after an overnight storm.  Other than noticing just how loud our roosters really are without the background hum of the ceiling and box fans, our only other concern was warming up coffee.  That is all.  No huge concern about falling out with heat stroke, or even discomfort because we are acclimated to the heat already.  Being acclimated makes it easier to go outside, even in the middle of the afternoon to check the chickens' water.

Of course, there is one big downside to being acclimated to the summer heat ... we FREEZE in quite a few stores and restaurants!  Last summer I even crocheted up a jacket/cardigan to wear into the AC.  This summer I knitted up a tee-shirt to wear in the AC (and outside as well), and good thing too as I had a month-long series on hour-and-half appointments at the VA last month.

So, here we are, near the end of August, and we are still surviving without turning on the AC.

02 August 2014

Homemade ketchup

So, apparently making my own ketchup is considered ambitious.  I still say it is surprisingly easy.  Take tomato sauce, a bit of tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, water, and some spices mixed up in a small crock pot/slow cooker and leave it simmer uncovered most of the day.  Once it's cooled completely, taste and add a few more spices if necessary.  Then, bottle it up.
homemade ketchup bottled up and ready to use
Seriously, that's all it took ... the big element is the time it simmers.  Just remember to stir it a couple times an hour, or you'll end up with the bottom corners carbonized.  While I did start with a recipe ... I actually only measured the sugar and vinegar, while guesstimating the tomato sauce and paste and just winging it on the spices.  I also used pomegranate vinegar instead of distilled white, and that adds a bit of zip.

Hubby's verdict is: this is good.  No need to buy any more at the store.