99 degrees in the shade

gurlz in the hood

Dude. The over-100-degrees weather I dreaded since I moved out here to the sticks (aka desert), is here.


I’d say we’re coping quite well.

Super Chic and Boo

Fitting in with the natives.

Bugalug Secret Agent Bug

But then it’s not like we didn’t have practice.

neighborhood kitten

bathing beauties

So far so good.

my dad

By the way, my dad is here. He was even here on Father’s Day! Which was really cool. We didn’t do anything special for him which pretty much sums up my dad: We love him to pieces and we take him for granted. Rapunzel is baking him an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies for him to take on the road with him. So there’s that. But it’s not even a drop in the bucket compared to how much he does for us. He fixed my swamp cooler and killed about 99 black widow spiders I had living around the outside of my house the first day he got here. The rest of the time he’s spent helping my mom move back into her old house. (Yes, we’re kinda sad. More on that later.)

I love my dad so much.

And I didn’t even make him his own Father’s Day cd or buy him that Archies album he’s always talking about (which one was it again Dad?) Sheesh.

farmer bren

He’s been raving about my sugar snap pea garden and begging me to blog it. So this is for you, Dad. Here’s a picture of me behind my row of sugar snap peas, or were they snow peas? I always mix them up. Anyway, they are not supposed to grow in the desert. It’s like some kind of freak gardening event and my dad has been flipping out about it because they remind him of living in Northern California where they grow all the time and bring back memories of his childhood.

sugar snap peas from my garden!

See! Sugar snap pea harvest!


Truth be told, my mom and I had a whole mess of seeds. Some I had ordered off the internet blindly, not paying attention to what region of the earth I live in and others were just random things that people had given us from 1986 and beyond. Most of the seeds got left in this little wheel-around card/stool thing my mom has and were the unfortunate victim of a hose accident. They got soggy, they molded, the end. But some of them survived and that is what we planted. That is how we came to have about 20 pea plants growing in my backyard. Usually they would have croaked and died under the scorching hot desert sun but because we had such an unusually cool spring they survived! You could even say prospered since I’ve picked them twice now and there are still more flowers coming.

dinner with garden peas!

They were delicious in dinner.

p.s. I’m posting about my weight and working out over on my review blog. But there’s also a little video of my dog poop and weed infested backyard you might want to spy on so you don’t get too jealous of my mad gardening skillz. And of course there’s $$ dangling at the end to make you comment.


time to pick

We’d been yelling at the kids to stop knocking the apricots out of the trees for what seemed like months. Finally, it became apparent that the kids weren’t knocking the apricots out of the trees anymore. The birds were and the apricots were soft and ripe when they landed on the ground which means it’s picking time! (Yes, that chair is totally busted.)

so many rotten apricots

Hooray! I didn’t spend all spring paying that water bill for nothing. It was time for me to cash in on some yummy orange fruit!

apricot fairy mmmmmm

While I went to the store for canning supplies, the kids picked whatever they could reach and Rapunzel, my oldest niece, got a ladder out of the shed and picked the higher-up ones. They left some yellowy-green ones for later.


still left to do

You can’t just let these babies sit around and draw fruit flies. Nope. They have to be canned, into apricot jam specifically.

yep, it's canning day

This is the face you make when you know you’ve got a big ugly mess ahead of you. It’s canning day.

wide-mouthed jars

My mom did most the cooking. I just cut up the apricots. Boy, did they smell good.

filling 'em up

I love the smell of fresh hot jam.

29 jars!

We made 29 jars of jam which is a lot. Four batches. There are more apricots left too but I think I’m done with jam. My mom’s talking about dehydrating the rest but I’m going to let her do that at her house.


I’m done with messiness for a while. Phew!

pretty pretty

It was worth it though. TWENTY-NINE JARS! Christmas presents, DONE. Now I just need to design some kind of cool label for them and maybe invest in some kind of big round paper-punch. There’s no way I’m cutting out 29 circle stickers like I did for the Marmalade. No way.


I did make some scones with some of the leftover cut-up apricots though. I just used my lemon scone recipe and added apricots instead of zest except I added a lot more than 2 tablespoons. They turned out super dense. Kind of like an apple fritter without the glaze. Pretty tasty really. You might want to stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.

I’m really digging this rural living. What’s next? Tomatoes, I think. Salsa anyone?