I finally made it out to the farm and did a bit of harvesting. Not a whole lot because we're still a wee bitty place and a lot of our plants aren't full-fledged big harvest plants -- yet. We have most of the lavender harvested, but there isn't a lot. Not enough for a big distillation, but enough to keep us supplied with lavender for potpourris, teas, and sachets. We have a decent sized oregano patch and I chop on it every other day or so. The big bounty is coming up, though, first with the plums getting ready to go as I write this, then the nectarines, and then we'll be into tomato season, and, remember, I wrote earlier in the year that we have over 50 tomato plants to harvest from. We've got all sorts of tomatoes, from Romas to brandywines to heirloom to hybrid, red, green, and yellow. Big ones, small ones, fat ones, round ones, lumpy ones, and wee teeny sweet ones. And we get eggs daily from the formerly free-range chickens in the big coop. There's a mother fox and her kittens living on the farm now and we can't let the chickens do their usual bug hunt during the day anymore because we fear the foxes. But they live a life of luxury, those chickens, being fed farm-raised chemical-free weeds and harvest leftovers along with their usual feed, plus they have lots of room to cluck about in.
We've run into a snag on the distillation front. There are some things we need to do to get the set-up fine tuned. We have two heat sources for this unit, one is electric with a heating coil inside the retort, and the other option is to remove the coil, plug the hole it came from, and heat on propane. However, our propane set-up is somewhat flawed and needs work, and we're also working on the recirculating cooling system so it's more efficient and saves water. The coil heating system doesn't allow for variables without additional equipment, and we're just not ready to make that jump as gas is available and controllable as far as heat settings go, once we get the system perfected. So basically we're out of the distillation game until these issues are corrected. Oh, and we had to buy a new pump because the old pump couldn't handle the new volume. We found a bigger pump in an old fountain out here on the farm, but we quickly burned that one up, so I went to my favorite store in the world, Harbor Freight, for a new heavy-duty pump. We've yet to put it to use. Our distillation of white and musk sage didn't turn out so great. Like I said, we need to fine tune the distillation set-up and then we'll be ready to go.
It's always something, right?
Today is Bug's kindergarten graduation. Boy, how time flies. It just seems like yesterday that I lay next to her tiny body and played with her jet black hair as she sucked on her knuckles, and now she's a string bean with long honey-blonde hair, no front teeth, and a twinkle in her eyes. And a graduate. Ha!