Freezing Our Way Through a Heat Wave

Lately we’ve been locked in a heat wave here at Happy Acres, along with much of the middle parts of the U.S. We’ve been breaking heat records nearly every day. And to make matters worse, we’re also suffering from extreme drought conditions. That makes for a powerful one/two punch that is hard on all living things, plants and wildlife alike.

heat wave! (click on any image to enlarge)

The oppressive heat has meant we’re doing outside work early in the morning, before the temperature starts to rise. We’ve been harvesting before breakfast most mornings, then watering larger areas with soaker hoses and individual plants and containers with watering cans. So far the gardens are surviving, if not exactly thriving.

freezing squash on waxed paper

It’s prime harvest season here for squash, green beans, and blackberries, which are all producing despite the heat. The blueberries are just about done. It’s been a great year for them, and we have lots in the freezer. And we’ve been freezing the blackberries and veggies after we’re done outside, avoiding the worst of the heat by continuing our work inside where it’s cooler.

freezer is filling up fast

The freezer is filling up fast, even as we continue to try and use up older items. We still have quite a few tomato products from last year, when we had a bumper crop of tomatoes. We may adjust our 2012 amount accordingly. Of course, having lots of tomatoes is never a bad thing!

2011 frozen tomatoes

We’re freezing a lot of the berries and veggies in a single layer on cookies sheets lined with waxed paper. When they’re frozen, we put them in a large freezer bag. That way we can take out what we need.

frozen blackberries ready for container

Outside, we’re getting a lot of action at the birdbath. I’m keeping it filled up with clean water. The honeybees are frequent visitors. They use the water to help cool the hive. They bring water in and then fan their wings over droplets until they evaporate. Stand near the hive and you can hear the sound of their wings. I’ve also propped the top cover of the hive open to help with ventilation. I won’t be doing anything in the hive until the heat moderates – for the bee’s sake and for mine.

honeybee getting water from birdbath

We’re supposed to get a break in the heat this week. Temps are going back to the 90s, at least for a day or two. After almost a week with 100F+ readings, I guess we’ll take that as a break!

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11 Responses to Freezing Our Way Through a Heat Wave

  1. Robin says:

    It’s been just a tad bit cooler here…still too hot to do anything outside during the day. I think maybe a rain dance is in order!

    Your freezer is stocking up nicely!

  2. John says:

    Not at all envious of your heat wave, but my, those frozen blackberries look awesome! Is Apache still your favorite?

    • Dave says:

      Yes, Apache is still #1 here. We have gotten a taste of the Ouachita and Natchez, and I think they are keepers. Apache is holding up well in the heat, maybe even thriving in it. I may be wilting, but it isn’t!

  3. Daphne says:

    I’m so glad we usually don’t get into the 100s. I was telling Granny that our official records for where I live have no 100s at all in July (I think they are for Bedford MA, not actually Boston). That being said I have seen over 100 here last summer and the one before. So obviously we are hotter than wherever the official records are taken. But 100s just aren’t normal around here.

  4. debsgarden says:

    Frozen blackberries are a refreshing sight! Your summer is fairly typical for us, and I know how miserable it can be. Few plants prosper. It is a matter of keeping things watered and praying for rain!

  5. Liz says:

    That is hot and a long way from our many layers to keep warm weather (which isn’t really that cold but aint that warm either). Loving the frozen blackberries.

  6. Norma Chang says:

    It is hot where I am and dry too, high 90’s but feel like 100’s.
    Gorgeous blackberries. Your freezer is getting well stocked.
    Love the photo of the honeybee getting water from birdbath.

  7. candice says:

    Dave,
    loving the blog and the photos…..and while i am not jelous of your heat wave here in wa state, I am very jelous that you were digging potatoes in march. wow. Mine are just now starting to flower. nice work!

  8. Bee Girl says:

    Heat like yours is absolutely oppressive! I’m glad you’re being smart about being out in it!

    Your freezer and all its contents are quite impressive!

  9. kitsapFG says:

    Being out of the heat and having an excuse to get into the freezer (even if only for a few minutes) is definitely good given your temps. I hope the forecasts are correct and you catch a break soon.

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