The rain has come down in buckets around here and the garden has responded. Everything exploded and now I have to put on my canning hat. Add in that I was offered two bushels of peaches and two of tomatoes and I will be canning day and night for the next several days. Thank goodness for the canning kitchen as it keeps the heat and humidity out of the house.

While we got rain here in Western Mass, much of the rest of the country is still suffering from a sustained drought and the heat continues to break records. Corn needs water but it also needs temperatures to stay in a range. If it gets too hot the kernels won’t pollinate, even if you irrigate. I think we can assume that increased food prices will strain family finances this winter at the same time reduced ethanol production may increase costs for gasoline. Now is the time to think ahead about food. I want to be sure to have enough to feed my family and some extra to put aside for charity. Food pantries were already hurting and need is up.

I want to give some updates on what’s been going on around here. First. I’m not going to Mother Earth News this year. I’m a bit sad about it as it’s so much fun but new authors need to be given an opportunity to attend. Next is that I’m working on a new book. I want to write something on Plan B-How regular, non-gun toting, non-bunker dwelling, non-OMG-this is the apocalypse families are handling our descent into an energy constrained future. I hate to disappoint the people who look forward to Mad Max scenarios but I don’t think the mutant zombie bikers are coming any time soon. I think it far more likely, albeit less dramatic, that we are going to see a continued slide into more poverty for many. I think there is a wealth of knowledge out there about how to make do when times get tough. I am thinking of a kind of poverty primer, even if you aren’t poor now. And poor is a relative term. I spent yesterday with my family. My brothers and sister and their respective spouses came for the day as did all my local kids. It was a great day with music and food and laughter and story sharing. I could have spent a lot of money and taken everybody to Six Flags but we would have had less fun and only generic memories. The children will always remember this day spent with their cousins, running in the rain and enjoying Uncle Rob’s chicken wings. Anyway, I’ll be asking for help on this project. If you are willing to be interviewed about how you get by I would love to here from you. Like all things worthwhile, a community is necessary.

One great piece of news is that I have been asked to blog for Lehman’s Non-Electric catalog. I’ll be blogging twice aweek about life on a small holding. There is a lot of good information on there web site so stop on over and say hello.

For the more local folks, I’m hoping to do some canning classes at my house starting in September. The canning kitchen will be in full operation by then and I’m thinking of offering the use of my equipment and experience, not to mention an extra pair of hands, for a donation to offset the cost of propane for running the stove.

The sun is shining and the air feels like velvet. I’m going to try to get in a load of peaches before the children call.